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<<  -- 3 --  Bill Newman    A PAEAN OF REJOICING


Ken Russell in his Bax film didn't tell the whole story. After the passion for Harriet Cohen died out - although she was still writing in favourable terms about him in her 1969 book A Bundle of Time - Mary Greaves became friend and lover on Scottish trips. From December 1931, The Tale the Pine-Trees Knew (dedicated to Sir John Barbirolli) conjures up a photographic vision of wind rushing through foliage. 'The pine trees...sighed and sighed and I longed for you to be with me.' This is one of those pieces, more abstract than either Tintagel or The Garden of Fand, that depicts changing currents, atmospheres, something akin to the Norse Gods and Highland Celts that the composer admitted to but relating more to the sheer elemental forces of nature which subjects God's creations to areas of storm and stress that they ultimately become immune to. It brings into focus the surrounding folklore in the form of dancing figures and ethereal melodies that stand for the hidden mysteries of life itself [listen - track 4, 4:51-5:51].

There is much imagination in the writing where brass beginnings and violin rushings set in motion primaeval forces, while tender central passages in wind, horn and harp instil a sense of calm, solo violin leading to a restful coda. This is growing into a very worthwhile series and I can only hope that those unfamiliar with the composer's output will now rally in his support.


Copyright © 12 November 2000 Bill Newman, Edgware, UK







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