Enduring Bax recordings from the Lyrita catalog
jsa | San Diego, CA United States | 06/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My initial exposure to these great Bax symphonies was through the Musical Heritage Society, which licensed many recordings from Lyrita in the 1970's. At the time, MHS was practically the sole source for much of the music from Britain's great 20th century composers, including Alwyn, Bax, Moeran, Finzi, Rubbra, Holst, and Ireland among others. Although the Lyrita recordings were often the only ones available of various compositions, many were (and still are) definitive. Many were conducted by Adrian Boult, who was a great champion of British music (his Vaughan Williams is still the best, to my ears) as well as by Norman Del Mar, Raymond Leppard & a young Vernon Handley.
Among the many outstanding releases licensed by MHS from Lyrita were these great London Philharmonic Bax recordings: Symphony No. 1, conducted by Myer Fredman & the Seventh Symphony conducted by Raymond Leppard. These works have been recorded more recently by David Lloyd Jones (Naxos) and Vernon Handley (Chandos), but I still think these later efforts, fine as they may be, are eclipsed by Fredman & Leppard. There is a grandeur that each conductor brings to the score, which is so necessary to get Bax right, that gives them an edge over the competition. The sound, from 1971 & 1975 respectively, is not a concern (for that matter, I think it's at least equal if not superior to Handley's 2003 cycle, which was recorded at a low level).
Very highly recommended!"