Sir Andrew Davis is among the most distinguished interpreters of British music today and here turns to the works of Sir Arnold Bax. With the inclusion of the Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra, this album marks the completion of Chandos’s long project to record Bax’s complete orchestral music over time.
Sir Andrew Davis is among the most distinguished interpreters of British music today and here turns to the works of Sir Arnold Bax. With the inclusion of the Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra, this album marks the completion of Chandos’s long project to record Bax’s complete orchestral music over time. Born in 1883 into a wealthy family in London, Arnold Bax began a love affair with Ireland as a young man. He moved there in 1911 and his Four Orchestral Pieces from 1912 – 13 are deeply influenced by the landscape of the countryside near his Dublin home. The first three are better known in revised versions, from 1928, as Three Pieces for Small Orchestra. Here ‘The Dance of Wild Irravel’ joins the other three movements for the premiere recording of the four Pieces as Bax originally conceived and orchestrated them.
Sir Malcolm Arnold’s (1921-2006) preference for classical forms is fully explored in this representative but uniquely distinctive programme. Orchestrations of earlier works form the lyrical Concertino for Flute and Strings and a Saxophone Concerto whose bold statements foreshadow the gritty and powerful Symphony for Strings. Arnold’s virtuoso Fantasy for Recorder and String Quartet is a late work, and the Cello Concerto was the composer’s last in this form; a piece which speaks directly from the soul, appearing here in its première recording.
"…As usual with this conductor, transparency of texture is paramount, often revealing details that go unnoticed in others’ readings, and his subtle plasticity of phrasing keeps the music fluid and moving forward. Thus in a work like the Mozart Variations, one may prefer the more straightforward conducting of Eduard van Beinum in the Guild set, but one will find much more to hear in the Segerstam performance…" ~Fanfare
By the time Bax began composing his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in 1937, he had written six symphonies and numerous works for combinations of solo instruments and orchestra, only two of which, the Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra and the Cello Concerto, are actual concertos. (The pieces for piano and orchestra are more akin to Bax's tone poems than to genuine concertos.) Bax began the concerto in June 1937, finishing the short score in October. The piece was completed …….John Palmer @ Allmusic