Bax and the 'Celtic North'

Aidan Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A feature of scholarship on Arnold Bax is his indebtedness, in his early works, to the Irish literary revival (particularly in the mythology-suffused works of 'AE' and early Yeats) and, in his later works, to the music of Jean Sibelius, and the relationship between these periods. I argue that this relationship, which I summarize by using Bax's portmanteau term of 'Celtic North', is underpinned by the stimulus of landscape, which, as well as being a means by which to return to the Romantic idea of the sublime, also provides a means by which Bax critiques the more modernist relationship with landscape that underpins the English pastoral school of the 1920s. Thus the 'Celtic North' is the antithesis to the English 'south land' of Vaughan Williams and others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-87
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland
Issue numbernull
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

The JSMI is an online journal - though is a peer-reviewed one, and is paginated. I will revise the pagination above when the article comes out in May; at the moment the number of pages refers to the number in the Word file I have uploaded (the state of the article is post editor's changes).


  • Bax, Sibelius, Celticism, Yeats, Vaughan Williams, mythology, nature


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