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2019 Event 3: The Sir Arnold Bax Music Festival

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

The inaugural Sir Arnold Bax Music Festival, created by ADO Principal Conductor, Kevin Purcell, reflects the ongoing renaissance of the music of Arnold Bax (1883-1953) that began with the Lyrita record label recordings in the early 1970s of which Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 were conducted by Maestro Purcell’s British conducting teacher, Myer Fredman. Over a number of years the late British maestro passed on his intimate knowledge of Bax’s orchestral output to his protégé. Appropriately, Purcell has now created a biennial festival to explore every aspect of this titan of 20th-Century British music.

This is the first festival in the world devoted to the music of one of Britain’s most fascinating and original composers who was appointed Master of the King’s Music during George VI’s reign in 1942.

The inaugural Festival (Aug.31 – Sept. 1) will feature two orchestral concerts.  The first of these on Saturday evening will be performed by our guest artists, Pro-Musica Orchestra, conducted by John Ferguson with Elgar’s marvellous, but rarely heard, King Arthur Suite as well as Bax’s charming Mediterranean.

On Sunday afternoon, the ADO will present two seminal Bax works works composed in 1917 – the thrilling tone-poem, Tintagel, and the Australian premiere of the ballet suite From Dusk ‘Til Dawn. The concert also includes a rare performance of the Lament (For Catherine, aged 9 “Lusitania” 1915) by Frank Bridge – another British composer whose music is far too-little represented on the concert stage.

A delightful chamber music concert of works by Bax, Bridge and Eugene Goosens on the Saturday afternoon fills out the Festival along with a newly commissioned short-documentary film examining the reasons for the unjustified and inexplicable neglect of Bax’s orchestral works in orchestral concert programming to the present-day.

Don’t miss this incredibly exciting new biennial classical music festival in Melbourne by Australia’s most innovative orchestra.