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Arnold Bax Symphony in F (realised by Martin Yates)

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Label: Dutton Epoch
  • ASIN: B00GY40CXG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,398 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Product Description

Bax Symphony number nought at last! The piano score of Arnold Bax's Symphony in F of 1907 was completed by its composer but never orchestrated, and has long been one of the great "might-have-beens" of the British symphonic repertoire, along with Elgar's Third Symphony and E. J. Moeran's Second. Unlike Elgar and Moeran, Bax actually completed his symphony, and now Martin Yates has set it into full score, managing to catch the elusive, idiomatic sound of Bax's orchestra in a convincing way we never expected to hear. The glorious second movement in particular, on a similar scale to his many later tone poems, is revealed as a striking and poetic creation in which Bax finds his voice. All lovers of English music will want to get to grips with this epic, romantic score. Symphony in F (1907) Realised and orchestrated by Martin Yates (2013) Royal Scottish National Orchestra Martin Yates (conductor) World premiere recordings Recorded at RSNO Centre, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 15-16 August 2013 CDLX7308

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I found the work fascinating. To begin, the finale is way too verbose by about 20 minutes. Too many weak themes, built into a fury and going nowhere. I sense young Bax had grown tired of the work by this point.
That said, I find the first two movements quite memorable and Baxian, especially the 2nd. The scherzo is passable...but still too long.
My solution, try listening to ONLY the first three movements and experience a quite marvelous very early Bax three movement symphony (as are all the others). The scherzo comes off better as a finale.
I have enjoyed it immensely that way. I thus avoid the colossal disappointment with the original finale.
Yates' orchestration is a marvel and sounds just as if done by Bax.
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Format: Audio CD
Whilst the Symphony would clearly have benefitted from Bax actually doing some work on it some years after he wrote it, I think it is a hugely enjoyable piece. Perhaps as a "symphony" the somewhat rhapsodic episodes make it a sometimes contentious listen, however I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the piece. Each movement is like a tone poem of it's own and although I readily enjoy listening to the outer movements, I really love the second and third movements particularly. The second movement contains one of Bax's most delicious melodies and the third whips along in a kind of sardonic waltz, all the while raising the game in power and momentum. The orchestra are splendid, it sounds as if they enjoyed discovering this music. The orchestration, by the conductor Martin Yates is extraordinary, he must have studied some of the early Bax works to pull it off so convincingly. Hats off again to Dutton and to Yates and the RSNO for allowing us hear another "what might have been". I will be playing this disc for years to come and enjoying hearing the young Arnold Bax trying things out and flexing his muscles.
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As soon as the music starts it is recognisable as Bax's work and the arrangements sound authentic too. Whatever your view of restored works this is an enjoyable symphony and well worth a place in any collection of English music.
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