Dutton Epoch CDLX 7239
Royal Scottish National Orchestra Conductor Martin Yates
Symphony No.3 Stanley Bate
Prelude 'Black Mountain'
Robert Flaherty - Impression Richard Arnell.
Jeffrey Davis gave the CD a 5 star review saying "Don't miss this one", online at Amazon.co.uk. Later he says "Pictures from Dante" plunges us headlong into the nightmare world of Dante's 'Inferno'. The despairing and catastrophic opening of the work is wonderfully intimidating. The work offers the contrast of its very moving second section 'Paradiso' where a noble theme leads us into a most poetic movement. Read the full review. - Jeffrey Davis
Dutton continues its irreplaceable campaign of historical restitution with this highly anticipated release offering world premier recordings of significant works by three English 20th-century composers who have been unjustly eclipsed by the musical establishment’s fecklessly shortsighted championship of postwar avant-guard trends.
Editor’s note; with an opening like that we shall forgive the reviewer calling Erik Chisholm an English composer; later he does describe EC as Scottish - but South African adopted.
Of the diptych Pictures from Dante, he says Most of the music derives from an earlier ballet and superficially packs a thrilling and dramatic wallop that is sumptuously orchestrated. The first movement, subtitled Inferno is a rich and tempestuous theme and variations; the second, ‘Paradiso’, a fervent hymn of infinitely transfiguring spirituality. - Paul A. Snook
Erik Chisholm’s ‘Pictures from Dante’ offers us the Inferno and the Paradiso, via a succession of mini-movements within two larger narrative frame-works. Individual cantos and engravings are cited and this certainly helps at select points in both works- especially in the overlapping flute ostinato initially with wind accompaniment, which insightfully illustrates an infinite sweep of angels spiraling upward through an endless firmament, as Dante and Beatrice observe.
Chisholm’s pictorial imagination is admirable and in the main avoids the clichés associated with musically depicting a heaven and hell. - Barry Brenesal.
Erik Chisholm’s two-part 1948 tableau Pictures from Dante most certainly is not pastoral. Inferno is a grim, noisy concantenation of fire, brimstone, grotesqueries and devastation. One might decribe it as a continuation of war music by other means. Paradiso is harmonious and dignified, with sonorous chorales based on plainchant that arise from and evaporate into ethereal tranquility. - Lehman