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Festival Overture
Bax, Thomson, London Philharmonic
Festival Overture
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Bax, Thomson, London Philharmonic
Title: Festival Overture
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Chandos
Release Date: 3/17/1994
Genre: Classical
Styles: Forms & Genres, Theatrical, Incidental & Program Music, Historical Periods, Modern, 20th, & 21st Century, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 095115916827

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CD Reviews

Exciting Bax!
K. Farrington | Missegre, France | 03/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD is packed (75 minutes) with Bax's music of varying quality. We have two of Bax's very best tone poems, Tintagel and Nympholept. The Dance of Wild Irravel is an early work of 1913 and is very fine indeed, with Bax using the nightmarish quality of the fin de siecle Ravel's 'La Valse' as a conceptual model although not at all in its musicality. The orchestration is a tour de force in Bax's luxuriant style although the piece is only 5 minutes long. The Paean is a big noise but mercifully short as it is not true Bax music. The 'Christmas Eve' tone poem is supposedly a rumination on 800 years of Ireland's sad history on a frosty Christmas evening written in 1912. The piece has some quality to it, with little deft touches with drifting woodwind performing a deux with celesta. However, the work in general in diappointing and seems too long for its material. It is almost as if Bax is working his way up to saying something characteristic, a big tune maybe, but just doesn't get around to it. The 'ecstasy' seems a little stilted and self conscious. Bax was well able to provide his listeners with this sort of musical experience at this time of his life, as for example in 'Spring Fire' so it is a mystery why he seems to fall short here. Nevertheless, the piece is very nice and well worth the room on this CD. The Festival Overture is similarly lacking in the Bax magic, but has a youthful exuberance which carries it through. Now for the meat on this CD. Tintagel was the first Bax I ever heard on vinyl and it never fails to excite with its crashing waves on the strings and its ruined castle in the magnificent brass. The whooping horns here are thrilling indeed, a true Bax finger print as in works like his 3rd Symphony. The quotation from 'Tristan' is nicely done and so seamless is it fitted into the work that it appears more contrived in Wagner's original after hearing Bax's 'Tintagel'. The final coda and climax is some of the most exciting music I have ever heard in my life. It must be played with all the stops out and Thomson does not stint in his crescendi and arching climax at the end under the rolling kettle drum. The horns particularly do him proud and as every Baxian knows this is a must! Nympholept is 'fairy Bax' and to my mind represents Bax at his very very best, coming at the same time as he wrote 'the Garden of Fand' when his need to write music was very strong. I believe that Bax's handling of the orchestra at this point of his career was the best he ever did and never matched again. The sheer glory of the orchestra in this form, the richness of color, the power of his musical imagination are not found in any other composer to my mind. It is as if Bax's technique at this point is so developed flamboyantly that he could write anything he wanted and succeed. The flow of ideas and their development are like the tendrils of plants in a tropical environment, wrapping their way quickly around the musical forms and climbing into a irresistible climax and falling back into 'le petit mort'. This is the apex of the history of romantic music. After this, everything would be going down for you could not keep this up. For 'Nympholept' alone this CD would be worth it so this CD must be a top mark recomendation."