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Bax: Tone Poems Vol 2 / Vernon Handley, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Album Summary

>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Northern Ballad no 1, for orchestra
>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Northern Ballad no 2, for orchestra
>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Northern Ballad no 3
>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Nympholept, tone poem for orchestra
>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Red Autumn, for 2 pianos
>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : The Happy Forest, tone poem for orchestra
>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Into the Twilight, tone poem for orchestra
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Lewis Foreman provides an excellent note for the booklet, which has several interesting photographs, and Chandos has given us a sumptuous recording – very fitting. With his deep love and appreciation of Bax's music, Vernon Handley and Chandos have produced a magnificent release." -ClassicalSource.com

BBC Music Magazine
Immediately the most recommendable versions in every case.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Vernon Handley's revelatory Bax odyssey for Chandos comes up trumps once again with this generous feast spanning a quarter of a century from the enchanted Donegal glens of the youthful Into the Twilight (1908) to the rugged, wintry seascape of the Second Northern Ballad, completed in 1934. The latter is flanked by its roistering and plaintive predecessor and the darkly opulent Prelude for a Solemn Occasion (also known as Northern Ballad No 3). Whether Bax ever envisaged them as a self-contained entity is pure conjecture but, when presented with such swaggering commitment, they do comprise a deeply stirring and evocative sequence.

Elsewhere, Into the Twilight receives ideally radiant, heartfelt treatment - and you'll wait a lifetime to hear the ecstatic Nympholept better done. The Happy Forest raises the bar in its lightness of touch, iridescent glow and twinkling fun.

The gale-tossed Red Autumn (more familiar in its two-piano garb) is clad in a remarkably idiomatic new orchestration by Graham Parlett.

So, gloriously assured music-making from first measure to last, and it's a relief to be able to report that Chandos's spectacularly ample and informative sound has all the natural bloom and crucial mid-range warmth that the companion disc (above) lacked. An unmissable treat.

Gramophone Magazine
Vernon Handley (still no knighthood?) returns to his exploration of the Bax tone-poems with this sumptuous, majestic collection. Is it me, or are the sounds he can draw from orchestras ever more resplendent? It is almost as though he acquires more vigour with the passing years and the result here is a disc that bristles with energy and excitement. Marvellous.

The Times
The excellent Chandos series pairing the former continues with seven richly nuanced, nimbly danced and sensitively phrased performances of [the] tone poems...The BBC Philharmonic revels in Bax's subtle instrumental variety - the nervous harp in Into the Twilight, the gurgling bass-clarinet in Nympholept that Handley summons like a snake-charmer. A sense of magic pervades much of the disc. Few conductors have found so much in Bax before, but many will in future.



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Works Details

>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Northern Ballad no 1, for orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England (12/20/2006/12/21/2006)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1927-1931

>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Northern Ballad no 2, for orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England (12/20/2006/12/21/2006)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1933-1934

>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Northern Ballad no 3 :: Prelude for a Solemn Occasion, for orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England (12/20/2006/12/21/2006)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1927-1933

>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Nympholept, tone poem for orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England (12/20/2006/12/21/2006)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1912-1915

>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Red Autumn, for 2 pianos
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England (12/20/2006/12/21/2006)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1931

>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : The Happy Forest, tone poem for orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 9 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1914-1921

>Bax, Arnold [Composer] : Into the Twilight, tone poem for orchestra
  • Conductor: Vernon Handley
  • Ensemble: BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, England (12/20/2006/12/21/2006)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1908