LODEWIJK MORTELMANS (1868-1952): Homerische symphonie, Morgenstemming, Mythe der lente.
Catalogue Number: 10L001
Reference: CDA 67766
Description: Because of the concentration of Peter Benoît, the founder of the Flemish national school, on songs and choral works, symphonic music came late to Flanders. Thus we have a large-scale symphony from Mortelmans in 1898 which owes much to Wagner, as if Wagner were still cutting edge music in the age of Debussy and Schoenberg. But there are also interesting parallels with Sibelius in Mortelman's monothematic construction of the symphony and in a repetitive, mystic passage in "Myth of Spring" (of three years earlier), which anticipates a theme from Sibelius' Fifth - not to be composed for another 20 years. Although its four movements, lasting 43 minutes have the titles "Of the Heroes", "Memories of Patroklus' Death", "Sirens Playing and Singing" and "The Genius of Hellas", the "Homeric Symphony" is not programmatic. It is a well-constructed, attractive Romantic symphony with a pastoral first movement, a Wagnerian funeral-march second, a light, dancing scherzo (more indicative of wood sprites than sirens) and a stately, triumphal finale. "Morning Mood" (1922) opens with a depiction of a sunrise but later abstractly moves into a series of alternations between resignation and exuberance - a work which opened Mortelman's final period of orchestral music which one scholar has called "mood lyricism". Royal Flemish Philharmonic; Martyn Brabbins.