Arnold Bax

Biography

Born: November 8, 1883; England   Died: October 3, 1953; Ireland  
Born of cultured and wealthy parents, Bax was insulated from the loss of direction that many composers felt during, and immediately after, the First World War. For him the prewar world of Debussy, Ravel, and Stravinsky was still alive in all its myth and mystery. He described himself as "a brazen romantic," and in many respects could be considered the last of the European post-Romantic school of composers.
During his five years
Read more at the Royal Academy of Music, Bax was deeply impressed by the poetry of W.B. Yeats, founder of the Irish National Theater, an influence that led to a close association with Celtic culture and legend for the rest of his life. He wrote poetry under the pseudonym Dermot O'Byrne, and assisted his brother, the playwright and critic Clifford Bax, in editing a magazine called Orpheus, dedicated to the mystical arts.
His first mature work, In the Fairy Hills, is typical of the fantastic and exotic nature of his orchestral writing, chromatic and opulent, with a broad melodic sweep and luminous harmonies. The Garden of Fand (1916), an imaginative evocation of an ancient legend of sea gods and goddesses, is similarly impressionistic, though less naturalistic, than Debussy's La Mer. Tintagel, a tone poem inspired by traditional English stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table was composed in 1919 after a holiday in Cornwall and quickly became Bax's most frequently performed work.
Living in the shadow of composers of the stature of Elgar and Vaughan Williams, Bax received little public recognition until late in life. Up to the late 1930s, his songs, choral works, and chamber music were rarely heard, and, had it not been for a broadening of his style and the championship of Sir Adrian Boult, conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bax would probably be remembered, if at all, for his comparatively youthful works. Even in the 1960s the English music critic Burnett James was moved to call this neglect "myopic and moronic."
On a visit to Scandinavia in 1932, Bax met Sibelius and the two composers became friends; while Sibelius' influence is not obvious in Bax's symphonic style, he is clearly indebted to the Finnish master in his tone poems "Winter Legends" and "The tale the pine trees knew."
The symphony, a form to which he turned again and again between 1922 and 1939, provided an outlet for a more taut, structured and contrapuntal approach that nevertheless retains elements of fantasy and mysticism. Symphonies 1 and 3 were recorded in his lifetime, and for many years, the Symphony No. 3, with its exotic, colourful melodic lines and rich orchestration, remained popular with British orchestras as well as an occasional international performance. Symphony No. 5 is dedicated to Sibelius and No. 6 contains a brief quote from Sibelius' tone poem Tapiola.
Bax did not take well to approaching old age. He became withdrawn and dependent on alcohol. In 1943, he wrote a bitterly nostalgic memoir of his earlier years titled "Farewell, My Youth" (edited by Lewis Foreman; Scolar [sic] Press (Now Ashgate); 1992). In 1942, he was appointed Master of the Kings' Music and received a knighthood. His last work, written to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1953, is a set of madrigals called "What is it like to be young and fair?" He died while on holiday in Cork, Ireland. Read less
Browse 151-175 of 180 Available Recordings
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  • 151.
    Hymns Of Heaven And Earth / Conte, Saint Clement's Choir
    Label: Sono Luminus   Catalog: 90259 Release Date: 09/15/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford,  William Henry Harris,  Clement C. Scholefield,  Edward Bairstow  ... 
    Performer:  Matthew Glandorf
    Conductor:  Peter Richard Conte
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St Clement's Choir Philadelphia
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  • 152.
    Sir Hamilton Harty Conducts Mussorksy, Balakirev, Et Al
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1169 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Arnold Bax,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Harold Williams,  Dennis Noble,  Robert Easton,  Dora Labette  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Hamilton Harty
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Hallé Orchestra Chorus,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 153.
    Bax: Symphony No 1, In The Faery Hills, Etc / Lloyd-jones
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8553525 Release Date: 06/09/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Conductor:  David Lloyd-Jones
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
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  • 154.
    Bax: Octet, String Quintet, Etc / Asmf Chamber Ensemble
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 9602 Release Date: 03/17/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Performer:  Margaret Fingerhut
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.
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  • 155.
    English Seasons / Marriner, Academy Of St. Martin In The Fields
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 454444 Release Date: 02/18/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederick Delius,  Frank Bridge,  John Foulds,  Percy Aldridge Grainger  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 156.
    Bax: Nonet;  Lambert, Rieti / De Curtis, Feige, Et Al
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47328 Release Date: 11/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vittorio Rieti,  Constant Lambert,  Arnold Bax
    Performer:  Carlo Feige,  Alessandro De Curtis
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Grazioli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harmonia Ensemble
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  • 157.
    Clarinet Concordia - Bernstein, Copland, Bax, Arnold / Meyer
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 18016 Release Date: 09/16/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Malcolm Arnold,  Arnold Bax,  Aaron Copland,  Leonard Bernstein
    Performer:  Paul Meyer,  Eric Le Sage
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  • 158.
    Bax, Bliss: Oboe Quintets;  Britten / Hunt, Tale Quartet
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 763 Release Date: 06/18/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Arthur Bliss,  Arnold Bax,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Patrik Swedrup,  Gordon Hunt,  Tale Olsson,  Ingegerd Kierkegaard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tale String Quartet,  Tale String Quartet members
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  • 159.
    Kirsten Flagstad Vol 4 - Wagner, Grieg, Sibelius, Et Al
    Label: Simax   Catalog: 1824 Release Date: 01/01/1996   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Jean Sibelius,  Richard Wagner,  Stephen Collins Foster  ... 
    Performer:  Waldemar Alme,  Kirsten Flagstad,  Bruno Walter,  Edwin McArthur  ... 
    Conductor:  José Iturbi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Detroit Symphony Orchestra
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  • 160.
    Mater, Ora Filium - Choral Music By Bax And Villette
    Label: Herald Records   Catalog: 176 Release Date: 12/22/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax,  Pierre Villette
    Performer:  Christopher Hughes
    Conductor:  Ralph Allwood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rodolfus Choir
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  • 161.
    Henry Wood
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1150 Release Date: 12/12/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Arnold Bax,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert
    Performer:  Beatrice Harrison,  Elisabeth Schumann,  Marie Wilson
    Conductor:  Sir Henry Wood
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 162.
    Debussy, Ravel, Bax, Casella: Works For 2 Pianos
    Label: Connoisseur Society   Catalog: 4171 Release Date: 12/01/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax,  Alfredo Casella,  Maurice Ravel,  Claude Debussy
    Performer:  Cosmo Buono,  David Bradshaw
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  • 163.
    Bax, Hummel, Brahms, Bach / Hartmut Lidemann, Ben Martin
    Label: Tacet   Catalog: 35 Release Date: 02/01/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel,  Arnold Bax
    Performer:  Hartmut Lindemann,  Ben Martin
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  • 164.
    Bax: Sinfonietta, Etc / Barry Wordsworth, Slovak Po
    Label: Marco Polo   Catalog: 223102 Release Date: 12/17/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Conductor:  Barry Wordsworth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 165.
    An Irish Rhapsody / Handley, Thomson, Ulster Orchestra
    Label: Chandos Collect   Catalog: 6525 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Villiers Stanford,  Sir Hamilton Harty,  Arnold Bax,  Ernest John Moeran
    Performer:  Lee Pan Hon
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley,  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra
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  • 166.
    Bax: Piano Quintet, String Quartet No 2 / Norris, Mistry Qt
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8795 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Performer:  David Owen Norris
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Mistry String Quartet
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  • 167.
    Bax: String Quartet No 1, Etc / English Qt, Mccabe, Kanga
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8391 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Performer:  Skaila Kanga,  John McCabe
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Quartet
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  • 168.
    Bax: Symphony No 2, Nympholet / Thomson, London Po
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8493 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Performer:  Malcolm Hicks
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 169.
    Bax: Symphony No 3, Etc / Thomson, London Philharmonic
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8454 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 170.
    Britten: 4 Sea Interludes, Etc;  Bridge, Bax / Handley
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8473 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten,  Frank Bridge,  Arnold Bax
    Conductor:  Vernon Handley
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra
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  • 171.
    Seascapes
    Label: Chandos Collect   Catalog: 6538 Release Date: 10/28/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax,  Benjamin Britten,  Jean Sibelius,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson,  Vernon Handley,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  George Hurst
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ulster Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra  ... 
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  • 172.
    Bax: Clarinet Sonata; Bliss, Vaughan Williams / Janet Hilton
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8683 Release Date: 09/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Arthur Bliss,  Arnold Bax,  Ralph Vaughan Williams
    Performer:  Keith Swallow,  Janet Hilton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lindsay String Quartet
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  • 173.
    Bax: Symphony No 4, Tintagel / Thomson, Ulster Orchestra
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8312 Release Date: 07/29/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ulster Orchestra
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  • 174.
    Bax: Symphony No 6, Etc / Thomson, London Po
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 8586 Release Date: 01/01/1980   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Conductor:  Bryden Thomson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 175.
    Bax: The Complete Works For Cello & Piano / Gregor-smith
    Label: Asv   Catalog: 896 Release Date: 01/06/1970   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Bax
    Performer:  Yolande Wrigley,  Bernard Gregor-Smith
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1 2 ... 6 7 8

Arnold Bax


MOST POPULAR WORKS
I. Lento moderato - Allegro moderato - Allegro feroce - Lento moderato - Allegro moderato - Piu lento - Allegro
II. Lento
II. Moderato - Epilogue: Poco lento
WORKS
I. Elegy: Lento poco ad libitum
II. Scherzo: Allegro - Allegretto semplice
III. Lento
IV. Allegro ma non troppo, brillante
I. Allegro moderato
II. Moderato tranquillo
III. Rondo: Allegro moderato
I. Allegro moderato
II. Nocturne: Lento - Andante con moto
III. Molto vivace
I. Overture, Ballad and Scherzo: Allegro risoluto - Allegro moderato - Poco largamente
II. Adagio
III. Allegro - Slow valse tempo - Andante con moto
I. Prelude, Act I
IV. Prelude, Act II: Scene 1: Pavane
VII. Prelude: Act II: Scene 2
VIII. Prelude, Act III: Scene 1
IX. Prelude, Act III: Scene 2
X. Mary Stuart's Prayer
Allegro risoluto
Lento espressivo
Rondo
No. 1 Aufblick
No. 2. Liebesode
I. Meditation: Molto moderato
II. Scherzo: Allegro
Prelude: Lento moderato
The Storm: Con vivo
Oliver's birth: Molto moderato
Picking oakum: Poco lento
Oliver asks for more: Allegro moderato e feroce -
Mr. Bumble's March: Pomposo - Vivace
Oliver sent to bed among the coffins: Moderato
Oliver as funeral mute: Molto energico -
Death of Mrs. Thingummy: Lento
The Fight: Allegro
Oliver's sleepless night: Andante -
Oliver's flight to London: Poco allegretto
Oliver meets the Artful Dodger: Allegro moderato
Fagin's romp: Allegro con vivacita
Oliver's pickpocketing lesson -
Pickpocketing: Allegretto semplice -
The Chase: Allegro vivace
Oliver faints in court: Tempo rubato -
Comic panic: Allegro
Oliver at Mr. Brownlow's house: Poco lento
Oliver at play: Poco lento - Allegretto semplice
The Portrait -
Oliver's abduction: Lento
Mr. Brownlow's grief: Lento -
Nancy's hysterical outburst: Allegro moderato - Andante
Nancy's flight in the rain to meet Mr. Brownlow: Moderato
Dawn after the Murder: Moderato sereno - Bill Sikes' reverie: Poco lento
Wanted for Murder: Moderato - Lento
Finale [original]: Moderato brillante
Finale [alternative]: Moderato brillante
Overture
Elegy
Rondo
I. Poco lento. Largamente
II. Lento semplice
III. Allegro vivace
I. Pensive Twilight
II. Dance in the Sun
III. From the Mountains of Home (In the Hills of Home)
IV. The Dance of Wild Irravel
I. Allegretto semplice
II. Lento e molto expressivo
III. Rondo: Allegro vivace
I. Allegro - Tempo vivace
II. Lento molto espressivo - Poco allegro
III. Allegro vivace - Lento
I. Allegro
II. Poco lento
III. Scherzo and Trio
IV. Allegro
I. Tempo moderato
II. Tranquillo
III. Tempo primo
I. Tempo molto moderato - Allegro moderato
II. Lento espressivo
III. Allegro giocoso
Gopak
II. Nocturne
III. In a Vodka Shop
I. Molto moderato - Allegro
II. Tempo primo
III. Allegro
I. Molto moderato (quasi andante) - Allegretto scherzando (ma non troppo presto)
II. Lento espressivo
III. Vivace e feroce (ma non troppo presto)
Moderato. Tempo vaccilando
Poco lento
Molto vivace ma non troppo - Epilogue
I. Molto moderato
II. Vivace
I. Molto moderato - Allegro
II. Allegro energico e non troppo presto
III. Molto lento
I. Molto moderato
II. Allegro
I. Moderato tempo
II. Allegro vivace - poco piu lento
III. Moderato tempo - Smooth and Serene
II. Slow and Sombre (original movement)
III. Allegro molto vivace (original movement)
I. Slow and gloomy
II. The Grey Dancer in the Twilight
III. Very broad and concentrated, but extremely expressive
IV. Allegro feroce
I. Moderato
II. Allegro molto
Allegro risoluto
Andante
Moderato
I. In the Forest before Dawn
II. Daybreak and Sunrise
III. Full Day
IV. Woodland Love - Romance
V. Maenads
Part II: Variation 4, "The Temple": Slow and solemn
Part II: Variation 5, "Play": Scherzo: Allegretto vivace
Part II: Intermezzo, "Enchantment": Very moderate tempo
Part II: Variation 6, "Triumph": Moderate tempo: Glowing and passionate
I. Allegro moderato e feroce
II. Lento solenne
III. Allegro maestoso - Allegro vivace ma non troppo presto - Tempo di marcia trionfale
I. Molto moderato - Allegro moderato
II. Andante
III. Poco largamente - Allegro feroce - Molto largamente
I. Lento moderato - Allegro moderato - Allegro feroce - Lento moderato - Allegro moderato - Piu lento - Allegro
II. Lento
II. Moderato - Epilogue: Poco lento
I. Allegro moderato
II. Lento moderato
III. Allegro
I. Poco lento - Allegro con fuoco
II. Poco lento
III. Poco moderato
I. Moderato - Allegro con fuoco
II. Lento, molto espressivo
III. Introduction - Scherzo and Trio - Epilogue
I. Allegro
II. Lento - In Legendary Mood: Piu mosso - Tempo I
III. Theme and Variations: Allegro - Andante - Vivace - Epilogue
I. Molto moderato - Allegro moderato
II. Andante
III. Poco largamente - Allegro feroce - Molto largamente
No. 1. Gypsy Song
No. 2. The Well of Tears
No. 3. Misconception
No. 4. My Girdle I Hung on a Tree-top Tall
No. 5. Spinning Song
Part I: Overture -
Part I: Entry of Karissima -
Part I: Karissima Plays Golf -
Part I: Karissima and Lady Vere -
Part I: The Walking Lesson -
Part I: Lord Vere Tells His Mother of His Love for Karissima -
Part I: Karissima Appeals for Love -
Part I: Karissima Droops Pathetically -
Part I: Karissima's Dance of Joy -
Part I: The Wedding Ceremony -
Part I: Dance: Corps de ballet -
Part I: The Wedding Service -
Part I: A Wild Night - The Maestro -
Part I: The Clock Strikes Twelve -
Part I: Lord Vere Pleads for a Child -
Part I: Karissima and Lord Vere Go Off in Gay Delight
Part II: Dance of Motherhood -
Part II: The Funeral of Karissima ?
Part II: Child's Dance -
Part II: Karissima's Farewell -
Part II: Finale: Allegro vivace
Threnody: Poco lento
Scherzo: Allegro
I. Allegro con brio
II. Adagio (alla breve) con moto
III. Tempo moderato e molto ritmico
I. Allegro
II. Lento, molto espressivo
III. Molto moderato - Allegro molto
III. Epilogue: Molto cantabile