- Symphony No. 3, Op 33
- Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth for piano & orchestra, Op 40
- Symphony No. 6
Just when you think you're about to be profoundly moved, Howard Hanson will resolve to some all-too-expected tonic and sing some all-too-swelling melody set to some all-too-heart-rending harmonies cloaked in some all-too-voluptuous orchestration. And then what happens? You feel cheap and cheated, as if, once again, you've been had by Hanson's all-too-facile Romanticism. Although Hanson isn't at his worst -- some would say his most characteristic -- in his "Symphony No. 3" -- after all, there is his "Symphony No. 2" -- he's still pretty bad. The clichéd gestures, the banal melodies, the gaudy orchestration, the gimmicky structures: they're all there and if the result is like a lesser -- a much, much lesser -- Sibelius at his most bathetic and pathetic, well, this is Hanson. At least in this 1990 recording by Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony, Hanson's "Third" is played with as much conviction and compassion as it is possible to imagine. As much as one could be convinced by the work's pompous trivialities, one is convinced here. And thankfully, Hanson's "Third" is coupled with his far more convincing "Symphony No. 6," a relatively tight and taut work played with just as much fervor by Schwarz and the Seattle. And if the result is still not great Sibelius, it is at least good imitation Sibelius. Delos' digital sound is nearly as good as the best stereo recordings.