I had been completely ignorant of Felix Woyrsch until I chanced upon this superbly recorded disc of two of his major works and I can safely say that I was extremely enthusiastic about what I heard.
The Symphonic Prologue to Dante's classic 'La Divina Commedia' is indeed quite brilliant, a very emotionally charged piece full of tragedy and victory in a rich orchestral garb. The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra play with superb conviction and intensity, and are quite admirably conducted by Gomez Martinez. The same goes for the First Symphony, an intensely personal work all round that shows Woyrsch's admirable sense for long symphonic breadth that is uncannily prescient of Mahler and his contemporary Rott, whose First Symphony is one of the gems of late romantic expressionism. Again, both orchestra and conductor are completely immersed in the beautiful music that permeates the symphony and their performance is certainly one of the best that one could hope for.
The disc comes packed with detailed and exploratory notes that are an intriguing addenda to the music. Anyone with a penchant for late romantic symphonies should snap up this disc without delay.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech