03 February, 2010

Franz Schmidt - Symphonies Nos. 1-4 (ape-cue-cover)

Franz Schmidt - Symphonies Nos. 1-4
Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra; Ludovit Rajter
classical | 4cd | eac-ape-cue-log-cover | 830MB
Gramofonove Zavody | 1994 | rar +5% recovery
I guess it's fair to call Franz Schmidt (1874-1939) the last of the truly great Austrian/German symphonic masters of the classic-romantic tradition.
Schubert, Brahms, Strauss (Richard), Mahler, these composers were the artistic breeding ground for Franz Schmidt. With these four symphonies, Schmidt created a musical cosmos of his own. Those voices who condemn Schmidt of classicism, epigonalism and his style as retrograde, will give way in due time, I'm confident of this, to a new recognition and appreciation of Schmidt's contributions to music history.
I'd already known and treasured the third and fourth symphonies from recordings for which I've written reviews here at RYM. This 4 CD box with excellent sound recordings from 1987 reveals that all four are the works of a master. Just behold the unusually structured and life-affirming second symphony: it seems that Schmidt tries in the fifty minutes of those three movements to paint all the splendor of life seen from a Habsburgian point of view, 1913, just before the curtain fell (WW I). He pulls out all the stops of a late Romanticist symphony orchestra. The orchestrations are mesmerizing.
Schmidt's four symphonies are a platform for both the phenomenal Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Ludovít Rajter to show what fabulous artistry they are capable of. Rajter, who was born in 1906, was a student of Franz Schmidt. This seems at least to some extent to account for the somnambulistic commensuration in representing each musical event as well as the larger musical episodes.
A great CD-box not to be missed.


durmoll said...

or here:


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