Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.

Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.

Click cover art to view larger version
Track(s) taken from CDA66807

Clarinet Sonata


The Nash Ensemble
Recording details: June 1995
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: February 1996
Total duration: 13 minutes 54 seconds

Cover artwork: Pastures at Malahide by Nathaniel Hone the Younger (1831-1917)
The National Gallery of Ireland


'How marvellous it is after all these years to be able to welcome a truly first-rate modern recording of Bax's Nonet. What a bewitching creation it is … This treasurable Hyperion release will certainly figure in my 'Critics' Choice' list at the end of the year … Music-making of exquisite poise and remarkable perception' (Gramophone)

'This collection serves Bax admirably and contains some real discoveries' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Performances of exemplary quality' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'Lovers of Bax's lushly romantic, turbulently Celtic symphonies and tone poems will find much that is alluring in this selection … Moments of sweeping rhapsody abound throughout the disc. Seriously smitten Baxians will be thrilled by this new CD' (Classic CD)

'C'est ici la quintessence de la magie baxienne' (Diapason, France)
The Clarinet Sonata, completed in June 1934, is a serenade-like score and, so far as is known, was not informed by any non-musical imperative. It was written for Hugh Prew, a fellow-cricketer with Bax in his brother Clifford’s ‘Old Broughtonians’ team who played village cricket over the west country in the 1920s. At its first performance in June 1935 it was played by the celebrated clarinetist Frederick Thurston, whose distinctive playing influenced a decade of fine works for clarinet of which John Ireland’s Fantasy Sonata is probably the best-known.

Bax’s Sonata is in two movements and is largely lyrical in intent, the piano always playing a significant role. Two subject groups, each consisting of a theme and a subsidiary ‘tail’, are introduced, the first returning to round out the exposition. Both are elegiac, the first heart-on-sleeve, the second more introspective because more chromatic. Development and recapitulation merge almost indistinguishably, the latter extensively elaborated before the opening theme returns to round out the movement in twilight mood, all pink dusk and sunset shadows. The shorter second movement opens in contrasted moto perpetuo style with a brilliant scherzando theme and associated passage-work, later contrasted with a yearning lyrical melody, before this delicious score ends with the return of the theme of the opening and dies away to a quiet, contented close.

from notes by Lewis Foreman © 1995

Waiting for content to load...
Waiting for content to load...