Having already become acquainted with the Wagnerian-cum-Lisztian mode of Chadwick in his symphonies, I was eagerly awaiting the tone poems for further evaluation. I will say straightaway that I was not disappointed in the least, these are luscious, late romantic scores imbued with great beauty and often stirring melodic charm.
The three overtures based on muses are all very colourful indeed with 'Thalia' perhaps the classier in construction although the beautiful 'Melpomene' is no less brilliant in textured orchestration. My favourite work must be the aptly titled 'Angel of Death' which describes an artist being struck down by the maker whilst working on a sculpture, the final glorious coda is indeed almost hair-raising. 'Aphrodite' is also very beautiful and includes much lyrical work for the solo violin but again, the whole work is permeated with Lisztian orchestration.
Schermerhorn's conducting is never short of atmospheric and involving, with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra evidently enjoying the music. At almost 80 minutes, this disc makes for an outstanding bargain and is really a must for lovers of late romantic music.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech