Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Paavo Jarvi – Franz Schmidt – Complete Symphonies (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 03:00:31 minutes | 1,83 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Deutsche Grammophon (DG)
At a time when many of his contemporaries were exploring more fluid structures, Franz Schmidt while perhaps stretching tonal harmony to its limits, continued to embrace 19th-century form and achieved a highly personal synthesis of the diverse traditions of the Austro-German symphony. His language, rather than being wedded to a narrative of dissolution and tragedy is radiant and belligerently optimistic and reveals this scion of largely Hungarian forebears as the last great exponent of the style hongrois after Schubert, Liszt and Brahms.
His work having fallen from prominence, Paavo Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony’s dazzling live performances of all four of his symphonies, and the famous Notre Dame Intermezzo, shine a new light on this fascinating oeuvre and also on an affable and genial soul, and reminds us of the constant need to reappraise and enrich our account of music during the first half of the 20th century.
“A composer of the same lavish style as Mahler, Richard Strauss and Schoenberg, Schmidt fell from prominence having been a composer feted by the Nazis, but his output reminds us of the constant need to reappraise, rewrite and enrich our account of the music of the first half of the 20th century. Paavo Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony’s dazzling live performances in this album of all four of his symphonies and the famous Notre Dame Intermezzo, shine a light on this fascinating oeuvre.”
The music of composer Franz Schmidt fell out of the repertory after it emerged that he had been hailed by the Nazis, although he apparently never asked for the honor and was less than comfortable with it. His essentially conservative style put him out of commission for several more decades during the period of modernist repression, but there have been modest signs of a revival, including a complete cycle from conductor Neeme Järvi, leading the Chicago and Detroit Symphony Orchestras (not yet heard by this writer). Now his son Paavo weighs in with this set, leading the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. The music will be new to most listeners, and it’s attractive stuff. Its most striking feature is a radiant, optimistic tone, defined right from the first movement of the Symphony No. 1 in E major. Järvi grabs the listener’s attention here and doesn’t release across substantial movements that are mostly between ten and 20 minutes long. A place to start sampling would be the entr’acte, an Intermezzo from the opera Notre Dame, which exemplifies the almost mystical tone Schmidt’s music retained, even amid great personal tragedy. That tragedy is explicitly addressed in Schmidt’s Symphony No. 4 in C major, designed “a requiem for my daughter” by the composer; the daughter died in childbirth in 1932. That work is perhaps the most Straussian of Schmidt’s symphonies with its transfigured trumpet theme at the beginning and end, but Schmidt’s style, although certainly conservative by the 1930s, was not derivative of anybody. It is not so much a matter of tonality, where he is, like Mahler, sometimes pushing the edges and, at other times, innocently diatonic. Instead, it is the historical scope of his music, encompassing styles as far back as Schubert (hear the echoes of the “Great” Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944) in the Symphony No. 3 in A major, while living very much in the world of Strauss and Bruckner overall. Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony catch the energy in the music and display no weaknesses over a very large orchestra in these live recordings. It seems possible that this release will expand the big symphonic repertory a bit. Try the music out and speculate on this possibility.
1. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – I. Sehr langsam – Sehr lebhaft
2. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – II. Langsam
3. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – III. Schnell und leicht
4. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – IV. Lebhaft, doch nicht zu schnell
5. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – I. Lebhaft
6. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – II. Allegretto con variazioni. Einfach und zart
7. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – III. Finale. Langsam
8. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – Intermezzo
9. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – I. Allegro molto moderato
10. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – II. Adagio
11. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – III. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
12. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – IV. Lento – Allegro vivace
13. Balázs Nemes – I. Allegro molto moderato – Passionato
14. Ulrich Edelmann – II. Adagio – Piu lento – Adagio
15. Frankfurt Radio Symphony – III. Molto Vivace
16. Balázs Nemes – IV. Tempo primo un poco sostenuto – Passionato – Tempo primo. Allegro molto moderato