Enthusiasts have long clamoured for a Bax symphony cycle under the baton of the composer’s doughtiest champion, but even they could hardly have imagined that it would appear in one fell swoop – and from the same company that has already given us a sumptuous, if admittedly uneven, series under Bryden Thomson. Hats off, then, to the BBC Manchester Music Department (and executive producer Brian Pidgeon, in particular, for pushing the project through) and to Chandos for its foresight, courage and sheer enterprise.
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.
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
The latest release in Hallé’s award winning series of recordings of works by Elgar couples his last great choral work with a fascinating collection of works which similarly remember the departed. Previous Elgar choral releases of The Dream of Gerontius (CDHLD7520), The Kingdom (HLD7526) and The Apostles (CDHLD7534) were universally acclaimed, winning numerous awards, including a Gramophone Award for each release. The largely overlooked The Spirit of England is arguably Elgar’s last great choral work. Thematically linked to The Dream of Gerontius the work sets texts from WWI poets and was premiered in sections during 1916 and 1917. In tone it is close to the melancholy of the Cello Concerto and Britten referred to its music as displaying “a personal tenderness and grief” as well as “genuine splendour”.