Johannes Frederik Frøhlich (1806-1860) was a respected figure on the Danish musical scene in his time, but seems to have been subsequently almost completely forgotten until Chandos decided to record his Symphony in E flat. The symphony was apparently never published in his lifetime but appears to date from 1830. Calling it a "masterpiece" may be to exaggerate, but it is a surprisingly engaging work in an early romantic style (Schubert, Weber, Spohr, Mendelssohn) with some truly memorable themes. It is a substantial work, but the argument is taut and coherent and nothing ever threatens to outstay its welcome. It is also excellently scored.
Niels Wilhelm Gade's music is of course much better known. Indeed, the Danish National RSO and Christopher Hogwood went on to record a complete cycle of his symphonies for Chandos. The fourth symphony is a rewarding work (though not, I think, among Gade's greatest contributions to the genre) with plenty of memorable themes and charming music. The second movement Andante may be the highlight of the work, but the whole work is eminently worth getting to know.
The performances are spirited, lively and colorful, full of energy, sparkle, charm, joie de vivre and color. I am not so happy about the sound - it is big, warm, spacious and with a big dynamic range, but in the end a little too reverberant, losing some of the details of the music. Still, this is a very rewarding release and an easy recommendation to those with a penchant for early romantic music - or good music in general.