Bax, Sir Arnold (Edward Trevor)
(Born; Streatham, 8 Nov 1883; Died; Cork, 3 Oct 1953). English composer. He studied at the RAM (1900-05) but was much more impressed by discovering the poetry of Yeats: thereafter he strongly identified with Irish Celtic culture. Drawing on many sources (Strauss, Debussy, Ravel, Elgar) he created a style of luxuriant chromatic harmony, rich ornament and broad melody, notably deployed in his tone poems The Garden of Fand (1916), November Woods (1917) and Tintagel (1919). Other important works of this period include his First Quartet (1918) and Second Piano Sonata (1919). In the 1920s his music became clearer in outline and more contrapuntal, though without losing its wide range of harmonic resource: Sibelius became an influence. His main works were now symphonies, seven written 1922-39, though he remained a prolific composer in all non-theatrical genres. In 1942 he was made Master of the King's Music, after which he composed little.
© Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK
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