Bax: Symphony No. 7, Tintagel (Tone Poem)

Royal Scottish National Orchestra, David Lloyd-Jones

The first thing you should do when you get this CD is turn down the lights and play the slow movement of Arnold Bax’s Symphony No. 7, which features an unearthly melody on English horn; the haunting tune returns in several guises as the movement progresses. Here is post-Wagnerian music that also can be completely compelling. The second thing to do: listen to Bax’s spectacular, ultra-luscious tone poem, Tintagel, inspired by old castle ruins that crown the coastal cliffs in Cornwall. Stormy, romantic, passionate and tinged with Irish and English legendary moods—that’s Bax. Or, skip this advice and play the whole symphony. Here is widescreen, wonderful music that goes with the best gothic-romance book-cover illustrations.