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Beauteous imagery


'Mobius has been going from success to success since 1995.'

Mobius play Bax -


Bax chamber music. (c) 2000 HNH International Ltd

The gentler, more contemplative Arnold Bax (1883-1953) is to be found in his chamber works, here in a span of creation that stems the years 1917-28. The Quintet for harp and strings (1919) in three continuous sections bears some likenesses to Debussy; the theme that opens the latter's String Quartet crops up during the middle of Bax's Tempo Moderato. There is also a hint of the closing bars from Ravel's Quartet (1902) with its three note intervallic rising figure, yet these are passing acknowledgements that do no harm to a sad discourse of beauteous imagery that Bax conveys to the listener. The harpist mostly provides colourful backing to her colleagues.

Elegiac Trio (1917), although sometimes coupled with Debussy on disc bears no relationship of comparison in musical terms. The composer's close colleague, Irish language authority Padraig Pearse, was executed for his part in the Irish Easter Rising. For Bax this was a terrible reawakening to a world gone for ever. The piece is a lament, but he never referred to its connections or dedication, although he goes way back into time in a setting of the bardic song Cathleen ni Hoolihan.

Fantasy Sonata (1927) is far more ambitious combining harp and viola in music on a virtuoso scale, with occasion leaps that require expert negotiation from both players, and spot-on-timing with its changing metre. Its four movements provide plenty of scope for executants.

Sonata for flute and harp (1928) has a touch of the Leprechaun about it. The folk-tunes charm and cajole almost without stopping, and you can plainly spot Down by the Sally Gardens during the middle Lento movement.

Mobius has been going from success to success since 1995. Seven young artists from four different countries - London, New York, New England and Paris - have collected a heap of Laureates at International Competitions.


Copyright © 22 October 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK







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