Prior to the making of this recording in 1997 it seems that no one had performed Wallace’s Creation Symphony for nearly a hundred years and yet, in the history of the symphony in Britain, it is unprecedented in its scope and daring. The work guides us through the first few verses of the Book of Genesis, but not in the literalistic manner of, say, Haydn’s Creation; rather Wallace conjures up intense emotions as a response to the contemplation of such poetic symbolism. (Many fascinating aspects of this symbolism are detailed by John Purser in the accompanying booklet, including strands interweaving Wallace’s own life with the business of Creation.)
Wallace’s Pelléas and Mélisande Suite predates the compositions by Debussy and Sibelius on the same theme by several years. It is a work of extravagantly heart-on-sleeve passion, and yet both this Suite and the equally rewarding Prelude to The Eumenides remain virtually unknown.