A question for the Baxians among us:
What are Bryden Thomson's Bax symphony recordings really like? Since Lloyd-Jones and Handley have given us their cycles, every second review I have read praises the newcomers while denigrating the Thomson cycle. I find this a little odd for three reasons:
1. Thomson was a fine conductor and made some wonderful recordings of a wide repertoire, from Nielsen to Martinu.
2. I have enjoyed the Thomson recordings of many of the tone poems - yes Handley often has the edge, but just because Tod is wonderful does not make Thomson terrible.
3. In the interview included on a separate disc with Handley's set of the symohonies, Tod is complimentary about Thomson's recording of Bax's 5th, which coincidentally is the one Bax symphony recording of Thomson's that I have. For all the power and impact of Lloyd-Jones' account and the even greater muscularity and drive of Handley's, I still find myself returning to Thomson's recording often for the magical atmosphere he conjures.
I am thinking about buying up the rest of the Thomson Bax cycle - thought the CDs have been deleted, the cycle is downloadable at a very reasonable cost from Chandos' Classical Shop - but wanted to test the critical opinion out there first. Other than the 5th, which of Thomson's Bax symphony recordings are worth hearing? Are any of them as good as those that came after (or before, keeping in mind the resurgence of Lyrita)? Are any of them really terrible?
All advice gratefully received.
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