A Composer and his Times

Lewis Foreman


Boydell Press



Completely revised and updated from recently discovered archive material, Lewis Foreman's classic biography is the essential handbook to Bax and his contemporaries.
Lewis Foreman's classic biography of the composer Arnold Bax (1883-1953) was first published in 1983. Documenting the life and times of a remarkable figure whose life touched a wide circle in England and Ireland, it was notable for having many of Bax's friends and contemporaries as sources, most of whom have since died. It also informed the remarkable revival of Bax's music and reputation which has taken place over the last twenty years.
Now completely revised in the light of much new material including the huge archive of the pianist Harriet Cohen, Bax's mistress, which has only just become available for research, it is a notable portrait of a unique musical milieu. Bax's extensive musical output is now comprehensively recorded and widely known and here all the music is discussed from first hand acquaintance with all the revivals and recordings. This is the essential handbook to Bax and his period.

LEWIS FOREMAN is a freelance author and advisor to record companies.


January 2007
25 black and white illustrations
616 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843832096
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BISAC MUS020000, BIO004000
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Table of Contents

1883-1900: The Backround
1900-1905: The Royal Academy of Music
1905-1909: Many Influences
1909-1910: Ireland and Russia
1910-1911: Marriage
1912-1914: Rathgar and London
1914-1916: The Great War
1916-1918: Harriet Cohen
1918-1920: Peace and Success
1921-1923: Triumph
1924-1925: Crisis
1926-1928: New Directions
1928-1929: Dreams and Reality
1930-1932: Going Northern
1933-1936: Past Fifty
1937-1939: `I can't grow up'
1939-1945: The Second World War: Storrington
1945-1953: Last Years
After 1953: Decline and Revival
Appendix A: Dermot O'Byrne
Appendix B: King Kojata
Appendix C: The Happy Forest by Herbert Farjeon
Appendix D: Bax's Symphonies at the Proms
Appendix E: Felix Aprahamian's Foreward to the First Edition (1982)


(Foreman's) big Bax surely his central achievement...The book established itself at the outset as the standard work on one of the most important and least understood British composers of his time...The new edition makes (it) more indispensable than ever. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE (Calum MacDonald)
Baxians everywhere owe Lewis Foreman a profound debt of gratitude and newcomers can rest assured that he is an absorbing and painstaking biographer...mandatory reading. GRAMOPHONE (Andrew Achenbach)
A more wide-ranging study of Bax and his work than ever before...This book is a tour de force and the fitting culmination of a lifetime's dedicated research. CLASSIC FM MAGAZINE (Julian Haylock)
One of the great biographies of an English composer just got even better. May it snare still more converts to this betwitching composer. CLASSICAL MUSIC
For its contribution to the ongoing documentation of an extraordinary period of British musical creativity it is invaluable. BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY NEWS
Foreman's latest effort is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Bax. JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY OF MUSICOLOGY IN IRELAND
Highly recommended. CHOICE

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