Bax, (Sir) Arnold (Edward Trevor)

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Bax, (Sir) Arnold (Edward Trevor) (b Streatham, London, 1883; d Cork, 1953). Eng. composer who was Master of the King's (Queen's) Musick 1942–53. Studied RAM, 1900–5. Was himself a brilliant pianist and wrote fluently and perceptively for the kbd. Felt a special sympathy with Irish subjects, particularly Yeats's poetry, and with the Irish land and seascapes, hence the intensely picturesque and romantic flavour of his mus. Also much influenced by Russ. mus. after his visit to Russ. in 1910. Only stage works involved ballet, incl. The Truth About the Russian Dancers (1919), a play by Barrie in which the central non-speaking part of the ballerina was created and choreog. by Karsavina when prod. 1920 by Gerald du Maurier, with Paul Nash décor.

Although a prolific composer, Bax's mus. has never est. itself in the forefront. His 7 syms., luxuriantly scored and full of romantic melody, contain too much good mus. ever to deserve total neglect, but are only intermittently perf. in the concert-hall, the public seeming to prefer the more concise tone-poems. The chamber mus. is less diffuse in form and is beautifully written for the instr., while there are also some exquisite short choral pieces. Bax's autobiography, Farewell, My Youth (1943), is one of the best books by a composer. Knighted 1937. Prin. works:BALLET: Between Dusk and Dawn (1917).ORCH.: syms.: No.1 in E♭ (1921–2), No.2 in E minor and C (1924–5), No.3 in C (1929), No.4 in E♭ (1930–1), No.5 in E minor (1931–2), No.6 in C minor (1934), No.7 in A♭ (1939); Into the Twilight (1908); In the Faery Hills (1909); Roscatha (1910); Festival Overture (1911, rev. 1918); Christmas Eve on the Mountains (1911, rev. as Christmas Eve c.1933); 4 Orchestral Sketches (1912–13); Irish Landscape (1912–13, rev. 1928); Nympholept (1912–15); Spring Fire (1913); The Garden of Fand (1913–16); The Happy Forest (1914, orch. 1921); November Woods (1917); Summer Music (1917–20, rev. 1932); Symphonic Scherzo (1917, rev. 1933); Symphonic Variations, pf., orch. (1917, orch. 1918); Tintagel (1917–19); Russian Suite (1919); The Truth about the Russian Dancers (incid. mus., 1919, rev. 1926); Paean (1920, orch. 1938); Phantasy, va., orch. (1920); Mediterranean (1922, orch. of pf. piece 1920); Cortège (1925); Romantic Overture, chamber orch. (1926); Overture, Elegy and Rondo (1927); Northern Ballad No.1 (1927), No.2 (1934); Prelude for a Solemn Occasion (1927–33); Evening Piece (1928); Dance in the Sunlight (1928); Winter Legends, pf., orch. (1929–30); Overture to a Picaresque Comedy (1930); The Tale the Pine Trees Knew (1931); Sinfonietta (1932); vc. conc. (1932); Saga Fragment, pf., chamber orch. (1932); Rogue's Comedy Overture (1936); Overture to Adventure (1936); London Pageant (1937); vn. conc. (1938); Legend (1943); Morning Song (Maytime in Sussex), pf., orch. (1946); Golden Eagle (incid. mus., 1946); concertante for orch. and pf. (left hand) (1948–9); Coronation March (1952).VOICE(S) & INSTR(S).: Fatherland, ten., ch., orch. (1907, rev. 1934); Enchanted Summer, 2 sops., ch., orch. (1910); 6 Songs from The Bard of the Dimbovitza, mez., orch. (1914); Of a Rose I Sing, ch., hp., vc., db. (1920); To The Name Above Every Name, sop., ch., orch. (1923); St Patrick's Breastplate, ch., orch. (1923); Walsinghame, ten., ch., orch. (1926); The Morning Watch, ch., orch. (1935–6); 5 Fantasies on Polish Christmas Carols, children's ch., orch. (1942); Nunc Dimittis, ch., org. (1945); Te Deum, ch., org. (1945); Magnificat, ch., org. (1948).UNACC. VOICES: Mater Ora Filium (1921); This Worlde's Joie (1922); The Boar's Head (1923); I sing of a maiden (1923); 5 Greek Folk Songs (1944); What is it like to be young and fair? (Garland for the Queen) (1953).CHAMBER MUSIC: str. qts.: No.1 in G (1918), No.2 (1924–5), No.3 in F (1936); pf. trio (1906); str. quintet in G (1908); Legend, vn., pf. (1915); pf. quintet in G minor (1915); Ballad, vn., pf. (1916); Elegiac Trio, fl., va., hp. (1916); Folk Tale, vc., pf. (1918); hp. quintet (1919); va. sonata (1921–2); ob. quintet (1922); vc. sonata (1923); Legend, va., pf. (1929); Nonett, fl., ob., cl., hp., str. quintet (1929); str. quintet (1932); vc. sonatina (1933); cl. sonata (1934); octet, hn., pf., str. sextet (1934); conc., fl., ob., hp., str. qt. (‘Septet’) (1936); Legend-sonata, vc., pf. (1943); Trio, pf., vn., va. (1946); Vn. sonatas: No.1 (1910, rev. 1915), No.2 in D (1915, rev. 1921).PIANO: sonatas: No.1 in F♯ minor (1910, rev. 1917–21), No.2 in G (1919), No.3 (1926), No.4 (1932); Valse de Concert (1904); 2 Russian Tone-Pictures (1911); Toccata (1913); The Maiden with the Daffodil (1915); The Princess's Rose Garden (1915); In a Vodka Shop (1915); A Mountain Mood (1915); Dream in Exile (1916); Romance (1918); On a May Evening (1918); What the Minstrel told us (1919); Lullaby, A Hill Tune, Country Tune (1920); Mediterranean (1920, orch. 1922); Suite for Fauré (1945).2 PIANOS: Moy Mell (1916); Hardanger (1927); The Devil that Tempted St Anthony (1928); sonata (1929); Red Autumn (1931).SONGS: A Celtic Song-Cycle (1904); A Christmas Carol (1909); 3 Chaucer Roundels (1914); Parting (1916); 5 Traditional French Songs (1920); 5 Irish Songs (1921); 3 Irish Songs (incl. Rann of Exile) (1922).FILM MUSIC: Malta GC (1942); Oliver Twist (1948).

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Sir Arnold Edward Trevor Bax

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