Mortelmans writes in a language that suggests a synthesis of mature
Tchaikovsky, ripe Schumann and, perhaps inevitably, Franck. He
is very much the late-romantic nationalist. That's certainly the
impression made by his big burly romantic Homerisch Symfonie.
It's in four movements:
1. Van de helden
'Of the heroes' [11:00]
2. Herinneringen aan Patroklos' dood 'Memories of Patroklos's
3. Sirenengespeel en gezang 'Sirens playing and singing'
4. De genius van Hellas 'The genius of Hellas' [8:44]
The first of these
movements has a kinship with the surging subjectivism of the
Glazunov symphonies – especially the Fourth which itself has
been superbly recorded by Serebrier on Warner Classics. After
a heartfelt second movement (Memories of Patroklos Death)
comes a blessedly fly-away Sirens playing and singing
with melodic woodwind dancing over skipping strings. The finale
is largely stately with some passionate almost Elgarian episodes
interspersed. This music has grandeur aplenty.
dates from almost a quarter century before the Symphony.
It is a slow blooming yet piercingly passionate piece shot
through with Wagnerian gestures (3:55).
The symphony has
a third movement to vie with the best of Mendelssohn (Midsummer
Night's Dream), Berlioz (Queen Mab) and Bridge
(Story of my Life) at their flyaway best and Mortelmans
returns to the same sustaining source for his Mythe der
Lente. In this and elsewhere on this disc he evinces kinship
with the Kouchka and especially with Borodin. Mythe der
Lente is craggy and exciting. It’s not quite in the same
league as Bridge’s Enter Spring but it’s in that region
- florid and exultant.
If you have a
warm place in your heart for Glazunov then this new name should
be right up your street.
This to me completely
unfamiliar music is presented with real style by Hyperion, by
Brabbins and his orchestra and by the liner-note writer Tom Janssens.