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Bax: Orchestral Works Vol 9 / Bryden Thomson, London PO


Release Date: 04/29/2008 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10457   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Arnold Bax
Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BAX The Truth about the Russian Dancers. From Dusk till Dawn Bryden Thomson, cond; London PO CHANDOS 10457 (67:12)


This is Volume 9 of Chandos’s midprice reissues of Bryden Thomson’s extensive survey of the orchestral music of Arnold Bax. The good news for Bax fans is that these are two obscure but major works showcasing the composer’s distinctive and highly personal orchestral style. The bad news is that the music is not qualitatively on the same level as any of his symphonies or major tone poems. Read more From Dusk till Dawn and The Truth about the Russian Dancers were composed respectively in 1917 and 1920 when Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes visited London and immediately captured Bax’s artistic imagination. The Truth about the Russian Dancers (at 46 minutes) is a major score (despite its ridiculous plot), and both works are replete with Bax’s typical colorful orchestration. These ballets also prove that Bax is not to be compared with Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, or Delibes as a melodist. Nevertheless, both pieces have their melodic moments. The lengthy and pivotal “Dance of Motherhood” from The Truth about the Russian Dancers is a characteristic Baxian lyrical effusion. “Karissima’s Farewell” is suitably dramatic in a gentle sort of way, and the final allegro vivace dance achieves a level of dramatic urgency worthy of Prokofiev, who seems to be Bax’s principal influence in these ballets. From Dusk till Dawn contains several examples of lovely tone-painting, such as the aptly titled “Summer Night at the Window.” This may not represent Bax at his best, but there is plenty of gorgeously orchestrated, never-before recorded music here for the adventurous listener.


Bryden Thomson is obviously totally committed to Bax and conducts the music with plenty of rhythmic vitality. The sound is unequivocally Chandos, but on the top end of their game. Any Bax-lover will thoroughly enjoy this worthy presentation of some of his virtually unknown ballet music.


FANFARE: Arthur Lintgen
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Works on This Recording

1.
The Truth About the Russian Dancers by Arnold Bax
Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; England 
Length: 43 Minutes 15 Secs. 
2.
From Dusk Till Dawn by Arnold Bax
Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; England 
Length: 16 Minutes 57 Secs. 

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