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CD Spotlight

A PAEAN OF REJOICING

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'... a sunburst carrying the listener forward and upwards
to new quests of achievement.'

Bax's Fifth Symphony -
with BILL NEWMAN

 

Bax: Symphony No 5 - The Tale the Pine-Trees Knew (c) 2000 HNH International Ltd

Harking back to the good old days of Music Magazine on the BBC Third Programme, I remember they enticed Bax into the studio for a discussion of his music. Much to Alec Robertson's amusement, he parked himself on a back seat occupying himself munching a crumpet with his morning tea! This must have been during the years 1941-1953 when he was staying in a Sussex hotel; in the 12 years before he had escaped London for his Winter sojourns in Morar, Inverness-shire where the bracing climate and views across the Atlantic to the islands of Hebrides continued to act as a catalyst for the remainder of his seven symphonies.

No 5 dates from 1931, its opening movement suggesting a release from desolation and its remote starting point - E minor, 2 clarinets interweaving slow motion tentacles over a monotonous ground bass strumming figure. Instead of employing the middle notes in the octave, Bax modulates downwards to the relative C major as the musical patterns quicken in pace, utilizing his familiar repeated and dotted notes to develop his ideas upwards and outwards almost, but not quite, beyond horizon extremities.

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Copyright © 12 November 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - NAXOS 8.554509

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