The piano score of Arnold Bax's Symphony in F of 1907 was completed by its composer but never orchestrated, and has long been one of the great might-have-beens of the British symphonic repertoire, along with Elgar's Third Symphony and E. J. Moeran's Second. Unlike Elgar and Moeran, Bax actually completed his symphony, and now Martin Yates has set it into full score, managing to catch the elusive, idiomatic sound of Bax's orchestra in a convincing way we never expected to hear. The glorious second movement in particular, on a similar scale to his many later tone poems, is revealed as a striking and poetic creation in which Bax finds his voice.
This recording of Yates's orchestration of Arnold Bax's Symphony in F is the latest in a series of wonderfully authentic performing editions he has produced for Dutton Epoch. Previously, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra has recorded Yates's ground-breaking orchestration of E J Moeran's Second Symphony, which was unfinished at the composer's death in 1950 and for many years afterwards languished in a library in Australia as a tantalizing might-have-been. Yates has also produced performing editions of a further two major English concert works, namely Cyril Scott's early Piano Concerto and Cello Concerto, both of which were unplayable at the composer's death.