If you've never heard the music of Arnold Bax, this is the disc for you. Of course, you'll have to have a predisposition toward early twentieth century English orchestral music, particularly twentieth century English orchestral music of the Impressionist school, in order to enjoy Bax. But if Delius and Butterworth's orchestral music is as mother's milk to you, Bax's will go down smooth and easy, especially in these fabulous performances with Adrian Boult leading the London Philharmonic. As every fan of English orchestral music knows, Boult is the grand old man of English conductors, and his sympathy extended past the usual Elgar/Vaughan Williams axis to many of the less-well-known English composers. In these recordings made in 1968 and 1972, Boult was clearly deeply enamored of Bax's tone poems, and he elicits performances from the LPO of uncommon warmth and passion. For those not already familiar with Bax, try Boult and the LPO's performance of Tintagel. As an evocation of the sea-swept cliffs of Cornwall and of the whole Arthurian mythos set to music at once evocative and descriptive, the work can't be beat. And as a performance full of vigor, power, and color, Boult and the LPO's performance has never been bettered. Lyrita, arguably the best small label dedicated to the music of England, grants Boult and the LPO sound of stunning verisimilitude and staggering impact.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard