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Cat. No. CHAN 10457 X Price: £7 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10457 - Bax: The Truth About the Russian Dancers/ From Dusk till Dawn
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Available From: 01 March 2008
The latest re-issue in the Bax Orchestral Works series is music he composed for theatre. Bax may seem an unlikely composer of ballet music, but these works demonstrate that he was in fact richly qualified, and the results are products of a composer who had a long-standing ambition to compose for the ballet. ‘Above all, this is almost unadulteratedly happy Bax, unshadowed, often gorgeously opulent; sometimes gorgeously stage-struck and vociferous. Bax, you get the distinct impression, was blissfully stage-struck and ballet-daft, and enjoyed every minute of his brief career in the theatre’ wrote Gramophone on the original release.

Bax was commissioned to write The Truth about the Russian Dancers, a J.M Barrie extravaganza from the 1920s (originally intended for the Ballet Russes), written for a production that was half dance, half stage play and enjoyed great popularity at the time, but the complete orchestral score was not heard again until the premiere recording on Chandos. This is coupled with the shorter piece, From Dusk Till Dawn which presents a clear Ravelian influence. Highlighting the Russian elements of Bax’s style at their clearest, the two works are performed complete and prove to be ‘lively and fanciful pictorial music which makes for agreeable listening.’ (Dance and Dancers). Both scores give a flavour of a facet of British musical life in the early 1920s, and are most closely related to Bax’s Tone Poems. They ‘savour the lyrical warmth and generous orchestral colours, which reflects Bax’s self-description as ‘a brazen Romantic’ (Dance and Dancers).

Both works are performed by Bryden Thomson conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and available for the first time at Classics price.
Reviews

"A really enjoyable disc, this – good to have it back."

Gramophone

"Bax’s orchestral virtuosity and pictorial skills were equal to anyone’s in that era and his sumptuous palette of sounds is here done the classiest possible justice by Bryden Thomson and the London Philharmonic Orchestra."

Classic FM Magazine

"Thompson’s performances are among his best, and the London Philharmonic may have exceeded its high standards. The sound of the remastering is excellent."

American Record Guide

"Bryden Thomson is obviously totally committed to Bax and conducts the music with plenty of rhythmic vitality. The sound is enequivocally Chandos, but on the top end of their game. Any Bax-lover will thoroughly enjoy this worthy presentation of some his virtually unknown ballet music."

Fanfare

"This recording is simply immediately appealing and quickly recieves my top tier recommendation to all, including classical newcomers. Sprightly tunes and toe tapping melodies should appeal to most everyone ... Here the brass and percussion get to really shine thanks to the fine efforts of the audio engineers and perhaps because of Chandos’ well known effort with audio quality." "...simply run out and order this delightful recording..."

Karl Lozier

 

Postivefeedback.com - March/April 2010

 

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