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Franz Schmidt - his four symphonies

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Author Topic: Franz Schmidt - his four symphonies  (Read 85 times)
« on: September 22, 2018, 06:47:26 am »

Symphony 1
Written in 1896 at age 22. The scherzo (which shows a mature absorption of Bruckner and Richard Strauss) is especially noteworthy, while Schmidt demonstrates his contrapuntal skills in the Finale.

Symphony 2
Written in 1913 in a style reminiscent of Strauss and Reger, with homage to the grandiosity of Bruckner. This is Schmidt's longest symphony and it employs a huge orchestra. The central movement (of three) is an ingenious set of variations, grouped to suggest the characters of slow movement and scherzo. The complex scoring renders it a considerable challenge for most orchestras.

Symphony 3
A sunny, melodic work in the Schubert vein (although its lyricism and superb orchestration do much to conceal the fact that it is one of the composer's most harmonically advanced works).

Symphony 4
Written in 1933, this is the best-known work of his entire oeuvre. It begins with a long 23-bar melody on an unaccompanied trumpet (which returns at the symphony's close, "transfigured" by all that has intervened). The Adagio is an immense ABA ternary structure, whose seamless lyricism predates Strauss's Metamorphosen by more than a decade (its theme is later adjusted to form the scherzo of the symphony); the B section is an equally expansive funeral march (perhaps referencing Beethoven's Eroica in its texture) whose dramatic climax is marked by an orchestral crescendo culminating in a gong and cymbal crash (again, a clear allusion to similar climaxes in the later symphonies of Bruckner, and followed by what has been described as a "reverse climax", leading back to a repeat of the A section).

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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2018, 09:36:54 am »

Four truly splendid symphonies; many thanks for posting these!
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2018, 03:49:44 pm »

The obsession of the musical world with the symphonies of Gustav Mahler appears to blind many to the excellent music produced by many of his contemporaries, including Franz Schmidt.

Few would deny Mahler's geniius but do we really need a new recording of a Mahler symphony every month? Young conductors are asked to programme a Mahler symphony as "a calling card". Programming a Franz Schmidt symphony instead would be box-office poison.

Very sad!
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