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A THING OF BEAUTY

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'David Lloyd-Jones and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra spontaneously reach new poetic-dramatic heights ...'

Bax's Third Symphony -
with BILL NEWMAN

 

Bax: Symphony No 3 - The Happy Forest (c) 2000 HNH International Ltd

Dedicated to Sir Henry Wood, BBC Symphony Orchestra Principal violist Bernard Shore said of the Third Symphony 'It is as thrilling to play as to listen to'. It starts where No 2 left off, but Bax was in a cold room at the Station Hotel, Morar on Scotland's west coast at its commencement.

Widely-spaced episodes are now confined to climaxes (the lead-in to figure 43, the first movement close at 60), the scene the desolate, farther most northern tip, totally unlike the gorgeous setting of BBC TV's popular Monarch of the Glen. The main subject, a mournful 10-note phrase - bassoon, then lower strings - graphically pinpoints the remoteness, but when Bax turns it into a Lento moderato fugal subject, adding celeste and harp, he shows unparalleled mastery.

The slow movement (A minor - C major) is a thing of beauty - solo French horn at the start (comparable to Delius's A Mass of Life) against shimmering strings [listen - track 2, 0:00-1:00] - then a nostalgic trumpet fanfare followed by celeste chordal colourings which transform into the violins' lovely melody. Decorative arpeggio flutes/clarinets, harp/horn, build upwards to a dramatic Tempo giusto G major outburst, Bax displaying motifs in major/minor sequences until solo horn, clarinets 1 & 2, bassoon spiral downwards to the C major close.

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Copyright © 11 November 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - NAXOS 8.553608

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BILL NEWMAN'S REVIEW OF BAX CHAMBER MUSIC

 

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