"Sinfonia Drammatica" is Ottorino Respighi's only symphony that he's ever created. Unfortunately, this has been rarely performed, and it probably won't be a part of the worldwide repertoire anytime soon. I think the reason why is because it feels very stretched (it could have worked far better if it were cut in half, with only 30 minutes in length). Nonetheless, this 60-minute piece has almost everything that Strauss's "Eine Alpensinfonie" and Mahler's ten symphonies convey. Not only do you get your traditional impressionistic Respighi lyricism, you also get some Straussian tones and Mahlerian textures. Sounds of Rimsky-Korsakov come alive, of course. And there are even moments when some of the softer sections of Wagner's Ring Cycle are heavily borrowed. It may be true that this symphony really lacks originality, but the music is still worth listening. You get some of Respighi's finest lyrical moments and some fantastic imagery. The third movement is a bit unsteady, as the orchestration is mildly all over the place, but aside from that, this is a great and underrated composition from Respighi.
The late Edward Downes provides a very keen and precise reading of the score, while the BBC Philharmonic plays wonderfully. The top-notch sound quality from Chandos is, as usual, highly recommended.