tobias matthay

tobias matthay

Sir Arnold Bax - Spring Fire (1913)

5mo ago
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I. The Forest Before Dawn - 00:00 II. Daybreak and Sunrise - 3:28 III. Full Day - 7:12 IV. Woodland Love - Romance - 14:37 V. Maenads - 22:57 The son of cultured and well-to-do English parents, Arnold Bax was born in Streatham but spent much of his childhood in Hampstead, where the family later settled, taught at home by a private tutor and strongly influenced by the cultured and comfortable environment in which he found himself. His early interest in music persuaded his father, a barrister, to allow him to enter the Royal Academy of Music in London at the age of seventeen. There he became a piano pupil of Tobias Matthay, while studying composition under the Wagnerian Frederick Corder. In 1902 Bax came across the poem The Wanderings of Usheen (Oisin), by Irish poet W.B.Yeats, and discovered in himself a strong Celtic identity, although racially descended from a family long established in East Anglia. He and his brother, the writer Clifford Bax, made their first visit to Ireland and were captivated. Here they established themselves for a time, associating with leading figures in Irish cultural life, while Bax himself won a reputation as a poet and writer, assuming, for this literary purpose, the name Dermot O'Byrne and studying Irish legend and the old Irish language. A visit to Russia with a Ukrainian girl that he had met in London and her Italian friend introduced a further influence to his cultural formation. While his pursuit of the Ukrainian girl came to nothing, he was able to absorb something of the spirit of Russian music, secular and sacred, and was dazzled by the glories of the Imperial Ballet, as he was to be by Dyagilev's Ballets russes on his return to London. His return also brought marriage to the daughter of the distinguished Spanish pianist Carlos Sobrino and the present of a house from his father. Bax, however, could not settle in London. Before long the couple had rented a house in Ireland, and then returned to England, but eventually separating, thereby allowing Bax to pursue his own musical and amorous ventures in a measure of freedom. In many ways it must seem that the 1920s brought Bax his period of greatest success. He was prolific in his creativity and his works were widely performed. With the end of his marriage he was able to continue his close association with the pianist Harriet Cohen, although this did not preclude other relationships. He wrote a quantity of piano music for Harriet Cohen, including a piano concerto for the left hand after the injury in 1948 that made use of her right hand for a time impossible. The 1930s brought public hononrs and at the end of the decade appointment as Master of the King's Musick, although his gifts did not lend themselves easily to the composition of occasional celebratory works, as the position seemed to demand. The changes in musical style and taste left Bax to some extent alienated from the world in which he found himself. Composition continued, however, including a Coronation March in 1952 for the accession of the new monarch. He died, as he might have wished, in Ireland, while staying with his friend, the German-born Irish composer Aloys Fleischman in Cork, the place he loved best.