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Arnold Bax

Arnold Bax is often overlooked among 20th century British composers. Born into a wealthy English family in November 1893, Bax, and his successful brother Clifford, a playwright, soon established themselves in vibrant career paths. Despite his English residency, Bax always remained true toward his Iris-Celtic roots. It is within the heart of all his music that he illustrates his homeland through a unique compositional style. His influences chiefly included Wagner and Liszt, but after reading poetry by Irish poet William Butler Yeats, Bax soon felt an inner Celtic force within him. So by ...read more

Arnold Bax is often overlooked among 20th century British composers. Born into a wealthy English family in November 1893, Bax, and his successful brother Clifford, a playwright, soon established themselves in vibrant career paths. Despite his English residency, Bax always remained true toward his Iris-Celtic roots. It is within the heart of all his music that he illustrates his homeland through a unique compositional style. His influences chiefly included Wagner and Liszt, but after reading poetry by Irish poet William Butler Yeats, Bax soon felt an inner Celtic force within him. So by blending all of this together, Bax arguably has one of the most distinct sonic values then many other composers.

After becoming a musical prodigy at an early age, Bax also showed a tremendous talent for the pianoforte – showcased within his four piano sonatas, and also small subjective studies such as Hill-tune, In an Vodka Shop amongst others. The impressionism of Wagner’s era also reveals itself within much of his music, particularly in his seven complete symphonies and tone poems, which are by no means subtle. Most of them push many musical boundaries, but always keep to a clever equilibrium between his heritage, and his impressionistic weights.

For many years he composed, and taught, which later gained him knighthood, though he somewhat disliked this, as to him it ridiculed his Irish roots. In 1940 he decided to dismiss his composition, in a sort of retirement. It wasn’t until 1943 that he entered art once again, only this time through an autobiographical piece known as “Farewell My Youth.” He died at Cork in October 1953.

Unfortunately, following his death, Bax and his musical pillars began to crumble under lack of popularity, as well as pop culture taking its toll. Some of his symphonies were under recording, but it wasn’t until the late 70’s and early 80’s that his music was discovered once again by Bryden Thompson, who has conducted for many of the now available recordings. « hide

Similar Bands: Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Frank Bridge, Jean Sibelius, John Ireland

Symphony No. 7 in A flat major
1939

3.5
2 Votes
Symphony No. 6 in C major
1935

3.8
3 Votes
Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor
1932

3
1 Votes
Symphony No. 4
1930

2.8
3 Votes
Symphony No. 3
1929

3.5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 3 in G sharp minor
1926

Symphony No. 2 in E minor/C major
1926

3
1 Votes
Symphony No. 1 in E-flat major
1922

3.5
1 Votes
Tunes, for piano
1920

4.5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 2 in G major
1919

5
1 Votes
Piano Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor
1910

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