Ernst Boehe (1880-1938) is another German late romantic who has been more or less completely forgotten. While his music will probably never come to dominate concert programs, at least CPO's efforts on his behalf are very welcome. Boehe's idiom is relatively conservative, heavily indebted to Strauss and Wagner (and Reznicek, to take another composer revived by CPO) but also to Brahms, though there are some individual touches. The music is highly colorful, lush and opulent and exhibits a very wide expressive range, from the deepest reaches of tragedy to almost ethereal brilliance, and it is brilliantly scored. The thematic material is perhaps more variable, but Boehe certainly had some striking melodic ideas as well.
Boehe composed four symphonic poems based on The Odyssey. The first three were given in the first volume of this series; here we get the half-hour conclusion "Odysseus' Heimkehr". As the previous works in the cycle, this is a brilliant, melodically rich, opulent, highly dramatic late romantic score full of dazzling coloristic effects. It may not be the strongest of the four works, but it is still a very fine conclusion to a very impressive cycle, and will not disappoint anyone with a penchant for Straussian symphonic poems. It may not contain any strikingly memorable themes, but manages to sustain the listener's interest throughout its relatively substantial duration surprisingly well nonetheless.
Taormina is another work trying to achieve an epic sweep. It is not quite as successful as the Odysseus works, but still very fine, even though the idiom here strikes me as even more conservative than in the other music I have heard by this composer. The Symphonic Epilogue to a Tragedy is perhaps more impressive, harmonically inventive and containing some really good ideas. It is, however, a little too long for its material even though the end, where the oppressive gloom finally gives away, is very impressively done. The Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz under Werner Andreas Albert plays with all the expected lushness, color, enthusiasm and attention to detail (there are a few questionable moments where the brass playing, in particular, doesn't quite manage to achieve perfection, but they are relatively far between), and the sound is quite good if a little on the bright side. A fine release, and if it isn't an essential acquisition, you should really check out the companion disc - in which case you will presumably need the final installment in the Odysseus cycle and end up acquiring this disc anyway.