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Howard Hanson, a composer of imagination and sweep and a colourist of huge eloquence, is one of the most approachable of all twentieth century symphonists. His guiding spirit was always Sibelius, and in the Symphony No. 1 ‘Nordic’ he used the same key as in the Finnish composer’s own First Symphony. The work is haunting, rapturous and serene, beautifully orchestrated and wholly commanding. The Lament for Beowulf, written for chorus and orchestra, dates from 1925. Its dark, brooding tension reflects its poetic inspiration with indelible force. “This is confident, generous, beautifully made music, richly (and sensitively) scored. Schwarz, and his splendid Seattle orchestra do not short-change us on any of this and they are beautifully, ripely, recorded here.” (Gramophone on the original Delos release)
Howard Hanson: Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 21, "Nordic"