BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Vernon Hadley - Conductor
Three Northern Ballads; Into the Twilight; The Happy Forest; Nympholept; Red Autumn
On Volume 1, International Record Review wrote: 'This is the greatest single Bax orchestral record I have heard: the orchestral playing is magnificent throughout, of a quality that this music has been crying out for for decades but which it has never received - until now...over and above the excellence of this fine orchestra is the profound understanding and musicianship of Vernon Handley's conducting.'
For Bax there were several periods of intense creativity when he committed to paper a variety of works in the form of piano scores, and orchestrated them when required. Many of the tone poems performed here were conceived in this fashion, including 'Red Autumn', which here receives its premiere recording. Originally a solo piano piece, it was then arranged for two pianos by Bax himself. In 2006 the Sir Arnold Bax Trust commissioned Graham Parlett to orchestrate the work in Bax's early period style specifically for this recording. Heard in its orchestral dress it immediately reveals its family resemblance to the tone poems 'Nympholept' and 'November Woods', composed round the same time.