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Franz Schmidt (1874-1939)

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Author Topic: Franz Schmidt (1874-1939)  (Read 54 times)
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« on: May 10, 2022, 11:46:44 am »

I just checked the dates on Wikipedia & I couldn't help noticing that there is,apparently,a footballer and (wait for it!)...............executioner,by the same name!! :o :( I have been listening to some Franz Schmidt symphonies,recently. He is often regarded as one of those composers whose "music doesn't travel". I believe his Fourth Symphony and oratoro,Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln,are regarded as masterworks,or at least,highly regarded in German speaking lands! Being seen giving the Nazi salute at the premiere of Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln doesn't seem to have helped,his cause,much! I don't want to excuse him,but like Pfitzner (who sounds a tad worse;although,I admit to liking some of his music! :o) he doesn't seem to have done too well out of his political views. Maybe,if he'd lived a few more years he would have realised what those people were really like? They did fool allot of people,who should have known better! (The power of propaganda ). But I don't want to get bogged down in that!! What I'm interested in really,is his music.

Today (Tuesday May 10th) I have been listening to Neeme Järvi's,Chandos recording of his First Symphony with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. What a glorious piece of music making this is. The orchestration is so melodious and sumptuous. It really is candy for the old ear 'ole. This symphony has a relaxed smiling demeanour. If you love gorgeous,orchestral luxuriance you will,most probably (I can't say definitely,because people like different things) enjoy this. I actually prefer this to his Second Symphony,which tries to be a bit more profound with some extravagant orchestral gestures. Particularly in the first movement,with a massive climax that will give your hi-fi speaker's a nice work-out! Not that I don't like it,mind. I just find it meanders a little too much,here and there,to make it a really first rate symphony. Schmidt's Symphony No 1 just fells more tightly structured and focused. I think it is a very fine example of a late romantic symphony. While I like Neeme Järvi as a conductor,generally,his recordings of No's 2-4 come over as a little overblown to my ears. Particularly,No 2,which sounds a tad bombastic to my ears. The engineering probably doesn't help! In the case of the First Symphony,however,the lush,sumptuousness of the Chandos engineering is a major plus and,indeed,Neeme Järvi's traversal is my favourite recording of this lovely,life enhancing symphony!
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