Arnold Bax (1883–1953)


Born of wealthy parents in Streatham, London, Bax was taken (aged 10) by his father to August
Manns' Crystal Palace concerts and by 1896 had begun to compose profusely. He went to the Royal
Academy of Music in September 1900 where he studied composition with Frederick Corder and his compulsion to compose burnt fiercely until the mid-1930s.

Sir Arnold Bax wrote six of his seven symphonies, in fact the best of his music, before he accepted
his knighthood in 1937 and so here we have a composer whose musical world celebrates the
high summer of youth and beauty and mixes with it a razor-edged sense of darker, violent and
impassioned moods which storm through the music conveying a great sense of drama and urgency.
There is no sign of the hackneyed rural element which many people, sometimes unfairly, associate
with British music. Bax's music is frequently based around his love of Irish legends and imagery of
the crashing waves off the Gaelic and Cornish coasts abound.

He was an inexperienced 17-year-old when he wrote this one movement horn 'sonata' and we
could speculate that perhaps it is an unfinished work and that maybe there is another, more
detailed score lying around, waiting to be discovered.

The current edition of the Horn Sonata is based on a manuscript held in the British Library (MS Mus. 1600, ff.1-6v) and used by kind permission of the Bax Trust.


Arnold Bax

Compositions in catalogue

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Chamber Music series




Sonata for piano and horn (1901)

edb 0702008

Arnold Bax

Sonata for clarinet and piano (1901)

edb 0702011
  Arnold Bax