- Composer: Bax
- Audio CD (March 1 2000)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Ncl
- ASIN: B00003W0Z1
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #104,305 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Symphony No. 3: Lento moderato - Allegro moderato - Allegro feroce - Lento moderato - Allegro moederato - Piu lento - Allegro|
|2. Symphony No. 3: Lento|
|3. Symphony No. 3: Moderato - Epilogue: Poco lento|
|4. The Happy Forest: Nature Poem For Orchestra|
The standard against which all performances must be judged is Bryden Thomsons Chandos version, followed by the recently reissued Dutton Barbirolli from 60 some years ago. The latter is a very different perfomance, marred some by the technical quality of this mono recording, entirely understandable for it's age.
The chief virtue of this Naxos recording is it's price.
Maybe people who haven't heard Bax before will but it, like it and go on the the magical, mystical, crystal clear Thomson recordings of the Bax symphonies.
David Lloyd-Jones does an excellent job. But what persuades me about his version is that it most closely approximates John Barbirolli's interpretation back in the early 1940s. Bax had heard this symphony performed many times in the 1930s (it was famous enough for the British Council to award it a recording grant); he was a friend of Barbirolli and it is fair to say that Barbirolli's version closely met with Bax's approval.
Lloyd-Jones' reading is certainly an improvement over the quirky, idiosyncratic version put out by Bryden Thomson (and recorded in an echoing acoustic that makes a mess of Bax's harmonic rhythm (and even the physical rhythm where it counts in the first and third movements). It is also better than Downes' impersonal, passion-free version back in the 1970s where he succeeds in completely losing any sense of climax. This work is torn between angry outbursts and long periods of respite and reflection, and Lloyd-Jones has the right touch to bring this off. He does not lose the climax of the first movement which everyone else seems to and he maintains the tensions such that those moments of tranquil feel well-earned. The Epilogue (which almost amounts to a 4th movement), like the opening of the second movement, is magical. What's even more magical is the price.
The music is so distant, and at the same time so close, that drives you into the description. Read more