C0035. BRYDEN THOMSON Cond. London Phil.: The Truth About the Russian Dancers; From Dusk Till Dawn (both Bax). (England) Chandos CHAN 8863, recorded 1990. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy!
“THE TRUTH ABOUT THE RUSSIAN DANCERS arose from the ashes of Bax’s frustrated ambition to earn a commission from Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes with, he hoped, his beloved Tamara Karsavina dancing in it. When the projected ballet King Kojata, or Tamara, fell through, the playwright J M Barrie came to Bax’s rescue with a play entitled THE TRUTH ABOUT THE RUSSIAN DANCERS, showing how they love, how they are made, how they die and live happily ever after, with music commissioned from Bax and based in part on music rescued from the projected Tamara ballet. The music was well received at the time but disappeared below the horizon along with the Barrie play. Several short suites were extracted in the 1960s and broadcast by the BBC, but it was only with this Chandos recording that the music resurfaced in 1990.
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN was commissioned by Mrs Christopher Lowther, later Lady Cholmondeley, in 1917 and produced in December that year with Mrs Lowther dancing the title role. As with the RUSSIAN DANCERS, some of the music was rescued from the Diaghilev fiasco; it also disappeared from view – in this case, between two concert performances in 1918 and its revival at the Petworth Festival in 1982. It, too, is very episodic. Both works are frequently reminiscent of better-known Bax and display the rich sound-palette of those more familiar pieces.
With Bryden Thomson in control, the performances are first-rate. The LPO in 1990 may not have been one of the world’s greatest orchestras, but their playing here is excellent.”
- Brian Wilson, musicweb-international
"Bryden Thomson, a Scottish conductor who specialized in the music of British composers, was best known in the United States through his many recordings on the Chandos label. He revived the works of Arnold Bax, and was considered a communicative conductor of music by Vaughan Williams, Elgar and Hamilton Harty. His concert repertory, however, ranged more broadly. He was the principal conductor of the Scottish National Orchestra. He was also a principal conductor of the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra. He was the artistic director of the Ulster Orchestra, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, from 1977 to 1985."
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 15 Nov., 1991