The CD opens with one of Bax's most enjoyable works, 'Overture to a Picaresque Comedy', a frolicsome tumble that recalls Richard Strauss' Eulenspiegel.
Next up is 'Nympholept', one of Bax's more overtly Celtic works. Melodic invention is to the forefront.
And then we arrive at the main course, the 4th Symphony. Sometimes described as his 'sea' symphony, the work is certainly atmospheric. It doesn't have the impact of his 2nd or 5th symphonies, but is still a major English symphonic statement.
As with all of this series, David Lloyd-Jones teases impeccible performances of all three works from the RSNO. The recorded sound is first rate.
For me there are now only two serious rivals for best conductor of Bax's symphonic works. Vernon Handley (4CD + interview disc on Chandos) and Lloyd-Jones on Naxos. Both bring Bax's works to life in a way that previous conductors simply haven't managed. I would not like to have to choose between the two.
The Handley set arguably has slightly better sound, but the Lloyd-Jones contains more of the tone-poems as fill ups.
The choice is yours, but whichever you choose, you are unlikely to be disappointed.
Hopefully Lloyd-Jones will go on to record some of the concerted works... Well, one can but hope....