This disc, very well recorded in 1996, is a particular success in both works. The fifth symphony is generally regarded as one of the most concise symphonies by Bax whose longer works, if not handled firmly can tend to ramble. That certainly does not happen here.
Lloyd-Jones delivers a more impassioned, warmer and possibly more emotionally involving interpretation of Bax's symphonies and tone poems than that other great Baxian, Vernon Handley. This is to the advantage of the symphonies in particular but the tone poems also benefit from that approach which can make Handley's versions seem just a touch on the cool side at times. On the other hand, Vernon Handley delivers very clear sighted readings which benefit from intellectual clarity. The relative recordings match the two sets of interpretations.
As with the other discs in the series, the Naxos disc includes a Tone Poem, in this case 'The Tale the Pine-Trees Knew' which was written at much the same time as the symphony (1931) so it makes a natural pairing. Bax described both works as 'craggy northern works' and that description can be applied to these performances. There is no firm story behind this work but it is more concerned with the awareness of 'Norse sagas and the wild traditional legends of the Highland Celts.' When appreciating Bax's muse it is wise to allow for a certain degree of poetic licence!
I would suggest that, like the rest of this series, this disc amounts to something of a musical and financial bargain and, as such, warrants serious consideration from any interested collector.