Come with bows bent and emptying of quivers
Maiden most perfect, lady of light,
With a noise of wind and May rivers
With a clamour of waters, and with might.
(Swinburne, Atalanta in Calydon)
Described by the composer as "An attempt to depict the first uprush and impulse of Spring in the woods", Spring Fire amounts to a symphony in five connected movements, headed respectively: In the Forest before Day - Daybreak and Sunrise - Full Day - Woodland Love - Maenads. An enchanting work, over all too soon, it was written for performance at the 1914 Norwich Festival but withdrawn as being too difficult. Graham and I attended its eventual premiere in 1970, given by the Kensington Symphony Orchestra under Leslie Head. It has since become a firm favourite with Bax enthusiasts and is now one of his most frequently performed works. (See also Enchanted Summer.)