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CHAN 10366
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CHAN 10366

Bax: Orchestral Works, Volume 8

The Classical Shop
release date: March 2006

Originally recorded in 2005

Artists:

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


Vernon Handley


Brighton Festival Chorus



Venue:

All Saints' Church, Tooting, London



Producer:

Brian Couzens



Engineer:

Ralph Couzens


Janet Middlebrook

(Assistant)

Philip Couzens

(Assistant)

Record Label
Chandos Classics

Genre:

Orchestral & Concertos




Total Time - 51:53
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ARNOLD BAX

(1883-1953)
Select Complete Single Disc for
   
  Orchestral Works, Volume 8  
   
1 

Enchanted Summer

28:04
  from Prometheus Unbound (Percy Bysshe Shelley)  
  Anne Williams-King soprano (Faun I)  
  Lynore McWhirter soprano (Faun II)  
  Barry Griffiths solo violin  
  Andante con moto - Un poco più mosso - Allegro vivace  
2 

Walsinghame

16:59
  (Sir Walter Raleigh)  
  Martyn Hill tenor  
  Lynore McWhirter obbligato soprano  
3 

Fatherland

6:50
  from The Tales of Ensign Stål (Johan Ludvig Runeberg)  
  Martyn Hill tenor  
This CD is a must for every Bax fan, digitally re-mastered in 24-bit sound and reissued for the first time at mid-price, with the great Bax conductor Vernon Handley in the only available recording of these works.

This is the final volume in the series of orchestral works. This powerfully atmospheric music is presented here with full texts.


Even though Sir Arnold Bax was prolific in his career, he wrote little choral music and no operas or solo vocal pieces. The works on this disc, dating from Bax’s early and middle period, could really be seen as tone poems with the chorus and soloists as piquant additions to the orchestra’s palette. There is some lovely early Bax here in Enchanted Summer, a setting of a scene from Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound, which offers a musical depiction of an Arcadian landscape inhabited by Fauns, Wood Spirits and Nereids; the music is reminiscent of some of Delius’s most haunting works. The orchestration is typically Baxian, and the beautiful twin soprano voices of Anne Williams-King and Lynore McWhirter glide across the orchestral surface. Dating from 1906, Fatherland is the earliest piece here and is an attractive, buoyant setting of a patriotic poem by the Finland-Swedish poet Runeberg. Walsinghame is the setting of Sir Walter Raleigh’s poem of the same title, a threnody on the onset of old age, and features the eloquent tones of the tenor Martyn Hill. When he wrote the piece in 1926, Bax had experienced a crisis in his relationship with the pianist Harriet Cohen, which informs this powerful setting of the ageing Elizabethan courtier’s words; it is very much influenced by the English choral tradition of Vaughan Williams et al.

It is full-bloodedly performed and finely recorded.
Gramophone

This issue represents a considerable achievement for all involved. The spacious recording copes beautifully with everything Bax can muster.
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