Rediscover the music of Franz Schmidt with Paavo Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. Schmidt was a composer of the late romantic and early modern period, who in the last years has been celebrating a comeback with audiences.
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 – such associations prompted misgivings against which Schmidt was powerless to defend himself – but his output reminds us of the constant need to reappraise, rewrite and enrich our account of music during 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 audio album will be released on 11 September along with a visual album of Symphony No. 4 & the Intermezzo.
Franz Schmidt was born in 1874 in the Hungarian town of Pozsony (now Bratislava) and died in Perchtoldsdorf near Vienna in 1939. Composer, pianist, cellist, conductor and Conservatory professor: he was one of the most esteemed figures in the musical life of his native Austria. In addition to four symphonies, his slender but substantial œuvre includes two operas, the oratorio The Book with Seven Seals, concertante pieces for piano and orchestra, chamber music and organ works.
Schmidt never embraced expressionism and atonality. Instead, at a time when others were exploring more fluid structures, he, 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.