Track 1: Sir Arnold Bax: Symphony No. 5 (1932): Spoken introduction; Movt 1: Poco lento - Allegro con fuoco; Movt 2: Poco lento - Molto tranquillo; Movt 3: Poco moderato - Allegro - Epilogue
BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra
Leader: Reginald Stead
Maurice Handford. conductor
Broadcast by the BBC on Network Three (now Radio 3) on 15 May 1967
Reissue produced by Mark Hood
Please Note: Because of the age of this recording, there are occasional imperfections to be heard. The listener's forbearance is requested.
The Symphony No. 5 by Arnold Bax was completed in 1932 and dedicated to Jean Sibelius. It is in many ways heavily influenced by Sibelius.
It opens with a five-note motif that is used throughout the entire poco lento section, which is heavily reminiscent of Sibelius's Symphony No. 5. The allegro con fuoco section that follows however is highly Baxian, and all the features of his composition style are evident here. The second subject sees the return of Sibelian moods, but Bax's comprehensive musical technique is noticeable. The recapitulation is particularly exciting, making it one of the most energetic opening movements of all Bax's symphonies.
The second movement is majestic and a relatively short slow movement for Bax, but makes good use of brass and the percussion section. It ends calmly as to ensure a contrast between this movement and the one that follows.
The finale begins with strong, repeated chords from the strings and woodwinds which quickly give way to a fast, fiery and energetic allegro section in which the influences of Russian composers is evident. Unlike in the previous symphonies, the epilogue is bold and majestic.
from CRQ 473 MAURICE HANDFORD CONDUCTS VOL. 3: BAX:SYMPHONY NO 5 (1932),
released August 24, 2021
'Although the compilers of ‘New Grove’ did not consider him worthy of inclusion and record companies virtually ignored him, Handford's unobtrusive style and his ability to get to the heart of a score were appreciated by musicians. He was not the flamboyant maestro and this may have held back his career in quarters where flashier talents are admired. But those who heard his finest Elgar performances and his lucid readings of complex contemporary works will know that music making in this country is much the poorer for his premature and lamented death.- From Maurice Handford's obituary in The Daily Telegraph 17.12.1986.
Bax's Third Symphony (1929) and tone poem The Tale The Pine Trees Knew (1931), and Fourth Symphony (1930), all conducted by Maurice Handford, are available on CRQ 445 and CRQ 454.