Franz Schmidt ?
Schmidt is a name I see from time to time but know next to nothing of his music.
Having said that, I've discovered that I have an off-air recording of his 4th Symphony and have just had a listen - quite romantic with a powerfully moving final adagio.
I see that Sinaisky, and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra have recorded his symphonies on Naxos and Neeme Järvi, with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has done them on Chandos.
Does anyone have any thoughts, opinions, etc, etc about Schmidt's music?
Of the four symphonies the last is the best, no contest. And the recording to have is Mehta with Vienna Philharmonic on Decca.
I concur completely. But there is more re Schmidt. I'll come back to that later.
Originally Posted by Thomas Roth
Schmidt's masterpiece is considered to be the 'Book With Seven Seals', an oratorio based on the book of Revelation. There are some very good recordings: Harnoncourt with the VPO or, more economically, Welser-Most. The Mitropoulos is supposed to be exceptional although I have not heard it.
I did suggest a BAL on this work in a thread on the R3 messageboards. I am still hopeful.
I have Welser-Most's recording on EMI which got rave reviews at the time it came out.
The first is relatively conservative wagnerian in its sound world (and surptisingly less brucknerian, although Schmidt was one of his pupils), as is the rather pastorally sounding third (more Schubertian), both in the traditionally 4 mvts.
The 2nd is 3 mvt, an opening and a finale round a theme and variations which act as slow movement developing into a scherzo and ending with the trio of the latter.
The third symphony was composed for a competition related to the 1928 Schubert-year, for the best stylish completion for Schubert's Unfinished. After the uproar which this proposition caused, it was to be given to the work which approached Schubert's approach of the "symphonic problem" (whatever that might be) best. The prize winning piece was Atterberg’s 6th symphony, therefore nicknamed the “Dollar-symphony” as the prize was paid in US$. I am not completely sure, but I seem to recall that Schmidt 3 and Atterberg 6 were premiered at the same concert. (Another symphony is Weingartner’s 6th, which uses the Schubert’s scherzo-fragment meant for the Unfinished. I don’t doubt that Weingartner’s title of his 6th, Symphony no.6 in b-minor opus 74, was not only inspired by Schubert’s “Unfinished” but by Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” as well:cool2.
Back to Schmidt:
My absolute favourite however is the fourth Symphony. It has a construction similar to Schönberg’s Kammersymphonie 1: a 50 minute arch structured symphony, beginning and ending with a trumpet solo (mourning for his daughter) from which the whole symphony develops, using familiar techniques from the Schoenberg Kammersymphonie as well as Sibelius 7.
In atmosphere rather tense, comparable with Suk's Asrael.
Nos 2-4 definitely show an own style, late high-romantic early expressionistic I'd say.
There is an excellent book about these Symphonies:
Harald Truscott "The Music of Franz Schmidt. The Orchestral Music" (with a recollection by Hans Keller and an autobiographical sketch by Schmidt himself). Toccata Press London, 1984. Interesting reading, recommended