The almost obscure name of Felix Draeseke comes to life again in another splendid release from the laudable MD&G stable that brings to the fore some of his most splendidly programmatic works.
The Symphonia Tragica is a fully-fledged work with traces of Brahms and Wagner evident but Draeseke has his own distinct style that is highly interesting in its won right Hanson conducts with style and evident affection for the music especially in the opening Andante that almost sings aloud with profuse melodies. A pensive Grave leads the way to an extremely lively Scherzo that is another incredibly assured piece. The Finale is a summation of all the previous ideas and at almost fifteen minutes, it is the longest movement of all four. Here there is an almost Lisztian vehemence and the Wuppertal Orchestra is a fine exponent of this wayward piece that is indeed a symphonic masterpiece.
The vitality that informs the "Gudrun" Overture is also brilliantly captured whilst the anger and savagery of the Penthisilea Prologue Op. 50 is also extremely exciting. MD&G's recording is from the top drawer and extensive notes together with a stunning front cover accord this disc a five star recommendation.
Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech