ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953): Rhapsodic Ballad for Solo Cello, Cello and Piano: Sonatina, Folk-Tale, Legend Sonata in F Sharp Minor.
Catalogue Number: 09P049
Label: Sleeveless Records
Reference: SLV 1007
Description: Even with the explosion of interest in Bax over the last thirty years, the works recorded here are very rare on disc: the 1933 Sonatina is only otherwise available on a mono Lyrita, there's a mono Folk-Tale and one stereo one and the Legend-Sonata only appeared on CD for the first time on a Hännsler Classic disc which I didn't offer because I didn't realize this. This is the main reason to acquire this disc; it's a 27-minute, three-movement work written in 1943 with a troubled first movement, a Lento espressivo whose piano theme derives from the 1913-16 tone poem The Garden of Fand and a rondo finale with an achingly haunting tune - all of which suggests a disconsolate middle-aged man, enduring a very bad war and looking back to the glory days of his Irish- and "legendary"-drenched youth. The 14-minute Rhapsodic Ballad of 1939, written for Beatrice Harrison (forgotten until 1966 when it received its first performance) is available only here. Lionel Handy (cello), Nigel Clayton (piano).