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CHAN 10829
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CHAN 10829

Bax: Orchestral Works

The Classical Shop
release date: September 2014

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2014


BBC Philharmonic

Sir Andrew Davis

Philip Dukes



MediaCity UK, Salford


Brian Pidgeon

Mike George

Ralph Couzens



Stephen Rinker

Mark Ward


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 72:34
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premiere recording

Four Orchestral Pieces

1 I Pensive Twilight. Andante con moto quasi Allegretto - 6:46
2 II Dance in the Sun. Allegro vivo - Poco più mosso - 6:43
3 III From the Mountains of Home (In the Hills of Home). 8:11
  Lento - Molto tranquillo  
4 IV The Dance of Wild Irravel. Fast valse measure. 5:01
  Very rhythmical - Un poco più lento -  

Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra

  to Lionel Tertis  
5 I Poco lento. Largamente - Un pochettino più mosso - 8:38
6 Lento semplice - Tempo I - Più mosso (Allegro moderato) 6:21
7 Allegro vivace - Un poco più lento - Tempo I - Allegro moderato - 6:52
 Philip Dukes viola

Overture, Elegy, and Rondo

  To Eugene Goossens  
8 I Overture. Allegro - Dolce - Lento lamentoso - Tempo I - 7:45
9 II Elegy. Lento - Più lento a tempo - Molto tranquillo 9:19
10 III Rondo. Allegro moderato - Vivo - Vivo - Poco più lento - 6:58
  TT 72:23      
 Sir Andrew Davis
  20 and 21 May 2014  

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.

The Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra from 1920 was inspired by the strong feelings with which Bax responded to the Irish political turmoil at the time, underlined by his use of the Sinn Fein Marching Song (later the Irish national anthem) at its climax. Bax is celebrated for his melodic invention and this passionately lyrical score must be one of the finest examples of his gift. Here the soloist is Philip Dukes, described by The Times as ‘Great Britain’s most outstanding viola player’.

By 1927 Bax’s style was changing and the opening of the Overture, Elegy and Rondo is reminiscent of a classical concerto, suggesting a leaning towards then-fashionable neoclassicism. The long, dreamy melody of the middle section and brilliant, colourful orchestration, however, are unmistakable hallmarks of Bax’s individual voice.


“… In short, this well-conceived Bax collection superbly  conducted by Andrew Davis and played by the BBC  Philharmonic Orchestra totally eclipses the competition, interpretatively and sonically. This valuable CD will be required listening for anyone under the spell of Bax’s often magical orchestral sound.”

Arthur Lingtgen -  Fanfare – March/April 2015

                                     ***  Good Disc          ****Exceptional Sound

Michel Fleury – Classica magazine (France) – March 2015

“A new Bax release, especially with a premiere recording, is particularly welcome. This is all the more the case when the standard of performance is so captivating and the recorded sound so vivid. In fact I have taken this recording as one of my choices for 2014… A very welcome addition to the Bax discography.” 

Ian Lace – – December 2014 

"Here’s a disc of all but forgotten music lent persuasive advocacy by that redoubtable champion of British music, Andrew Davis ... Vivid recorded sound and Lewis Foreman’s excellent notes add to the considerable pleasure."

Michael Quinn - Classical - 13 November 2014


"... These are enjoyable and appealing orchestral works ... Sir Andrew Davis secures an impressive response from the BBC Philharmonic who never put a foot wrong. The sound quality is splendid with plenty of body and presence. There is an equally fine booklet essay by Lewis Foreman."

Michael Cookson - - 13 November 2014

 "...recommended with total enthusiasm and without any reservation."

Colin Anderson - Classical - September 2014

“…Davis is superb here and the result all round is a distinguished addition to the extensive Bax discography on the Chandos label.”

Robert Matthew-Walker – International Record Review – October 2014

                 Performance  (Phantasy) ****   (The Rest) *****          Recording  *****

“… these performances could hardly be finer. The orchestral playing is vivid and precise, as is the recorded sound; and Davis’s conducting is a masterclass in how to conjure atmosphere.”

Malcolm Hayes – BBC Music magazine – November 2014

 “… Dukes is a sterling advocate of this unjustly neglected work [Phantasy] – the haunting cor anglais solo recalls the shepherd’s lament in Wagner’s Tristan – while Davis proves passionate in the impressionistic Four Orchestral Pieces and the powerful, dark Overture, Elegy and Rondo.” 

Hugh Canning – The Sunday Times (Culture magazine) – 14 September 2014

“All three of these rarely heard works come from the first half of Bax’s career as a composer. The earliest is the lightweight but charming set of Four orchestral Pieces from 1914, recorded here for the first time … The latest is the far more substantial Overture, Elegy and Rondo … Through stylistically the two works have their differences … both works reveal the same sure-footed handling of the orchestra, which these carefully manicured performances under conductor Andrew Davis show off beautifully…”      ****

Andrew Clements – The Guardian – 29 August 2014 

A superb disc - and a fitting completion to Chandos' 30 year project to record all of Bax's major orchestral works. The Phantasy is very beautiful and played with just the right combination of poise and passion. But its the Overture Elegy & Rondo that emerges as the big winner here. A miniature symphony in all but name and it receives a sensational performance. Vintage Chandos sound - the Studio Master download is wonderful, superb orchestral playing and very idiomatic conducting from Davis complete the package. Strongly recommended
N Barnard