The Happy Forest

for piano

Sir Arnold Bax


The Happy Forest, completed on 13th May 1914, is based on a prose-poem of the same name by the writer and drama critic Herbert Farjeon (1887–1945), whose original text is reproduced in Lewis Foreman’s Bax: A Composer and his Times (3rd edition, 2007, pp. 428–9). A few brief sketches for the score, in pencil, are owned by Dr Clifford Gillam, and the completed manuscript is in the British Library (Add. MS 50176), having been bequeathed by Harriet Cohen, who died in 1967.

In 1922 Bax returned to the work and started making notes on it for a proposed orchestration, which was completed later that year or early in 1923. The first performance was given by the Goossens Orchestra under Eugene Goossens at Queen’s Hall on 3rd July 1923 as part of a concert in aid of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. Subtitled Nature-Poem, the orchestral version was published in 1925 by Murdoch, Murdoch & Co. with a dedication to Goossens. Henry Coates’s programme note for its première clearly uses material supplied by the composer:

—Graham Parlett

Sample pages

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Composer Title Grade Forces Duration
Sir Arnold BaxThe Happy Forest
for piano
Advanced (post-Grade 8)Piano10 mins

Catalogue code: FM185Published: 22nd March 2014
Entry last updated: 22nd March 2014