<< -- 2 -- Bill Newman A THING OF BEAUTY
Themes move in other directions during the Moderato Finale, a
jaunty dotted tune in clarinets/violas linked to a counterpoint figure in
bass clarinet/bassoon soon transferred to other instruments with a real
sense of giocoso interplay, while strings, other winds, horns and
trumpets inject their own brand of fun into the proceedings. Note the bucolic,
slurring tune on oboes/clarinets [listen - track
3, 2:38-3:38] - doesn't this remind you of Malcolm Arnold's
Scottish Dances? Once the jollity has died out, comes the Epilogue
poco lento, just over eight pages of strings, winds and brass sharing
the C major melody and accompaniment, a solo violin interpolating a short
cadenza before the final statement. Right at the end, horns, trumpets, trombones
intone the symphony's opening phrase - we have returned full circle.
Barbirolli's British Council 78rpm discs with the Hallé
Orchestra, now on an EMI CD, should not be ignored. Like Bax 7 at a Royal
Philharmonic Society concert, it contains his passionate commitment to the
cause of great symphonic writing, compelling our closest attention. The
imaginative Bryden Thomson with the London Philharmonic on Chandos is hampered
by an over-reverberant acoustic, but David Lloyd Jones and the Royal Scottish
Orchestra spontaneously reach new poetic-dramatic heights in their latest
recording, although I had to increase the volume level on my Quad 306.
The Happy Forest, based on a Herbert Farjeon prose-poem, depicts
shepherds competing for their verses, Pan suddenly appearing to 'dance'
them away into the distance. In the course of nine minutes and 35 seconds,
Bax enters the world of Mallarmé and Debussy to create a tapestry
of instrumental delights that charms the ears. An inspired coupling.
Copyright © 11 November 2000
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
CD INFORMATION - NAXOS 8.553608
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BILL NEWMAN'S REVIEW OF BAX CHAMBER MUSIC
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