Bax was asked to write the music for David Leans Oliver Twist. One
of the most memorable themes from that score was that for Mr Brownlow. Here
it is treated with that extra passion and deeper conviction appropriate to
Pearse and those who died in the reprisals following the ill-fated Easter
uprising in Dublin in 1916. In Memoriam commemorates Pearse and how splendid
it sounds in this spine-tingling performance by Vernon Handley and the BBC
Philharmonic. Bax was clearly greatly moved when writing this music it conveys
all the anguish he felt at learning about all the suffering in his beloved.
Ireland. In Memoriam is part-elegy, part-funeral march, and partly
a furious remonstration against a cruelly suppressed bid for Irish independence.
Marching rhythms with insistent side drum and bugle calls contrast with music
that suggests Irish Elysian Fields fit for heroes. A wonderful musical
experience. This would have been ideal source music for Michael Collins -
or for any drama dealing with The Troubles. Baxs music is vivid and
colourful and highly romantic and dramatic, ideal as screenplay source material.
The Concertante for Piano (Left Hand) and Orchestra written for Harriet
Cohen who had injured her right hand is an undemanding work with first movement
theme that could have been used in a Western! The Bard of the Dimbovitza
clearly shows the influence of the Russian composers, that so impressed Bax
in his earlier years, as well as the French impressionists. It is a colourful
song cycle for soprano and orchestra from Romanian Folk Verses. They vary
in mood from the eerie and ghostly to the romantic and the sardonic. A fuller
review of this excellent release can be found on our associated
Classical Music on the Web site