Arnold Bax: The Poet

Classical Academy | Composers


English composer Arnold Bax was something of a poet. Writing under the pseudonym Dermot O'Byrne, he felt a profound affinity for Irish poet William Butler Yates are wrote in the tradition of Irish Literary Revival. His music, by extension, reflects the influence of Irish literature and landscape, blending romanticism and impressionism with colourful instrumentation.


Like many poets, Bax had a sensitive, searching soul, highly receptive to soft and melancholy moods. He found in Yeats a powerful muse and a lifelong infatuation with Ireland. Every year for three decades, he made the trip to the tiny village of Donegal where the sea and local peasant culture gave him inspiration for his writings, both poetic and musical.


His music developed floating and undulating textures, impressionistic in style but unlike anything heard before, even from the great Claude Debussy. Many of his tone poems can be seen as direct musical counterparts to the Irish Literary Revival, especially with their soft, dreamy mood.


Discover the elegant poeticism of Bax with our special playlist of his work.