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Festival Overture

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 17, 1994
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Festival Overture
  2. Christmas Eve
  3. Dance of Wild Irravel
  4. Nympholet
  5. Paean
  6. Tintagel

Product Details

  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Ulster Orchestra
  • Conductor: Thomson
  • Composer: Arnold Bax
  • Audio CD (March 17, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B000000ARU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,146 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

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.Read more ›
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