Schmidt: Symphony No. 4; Intermezzo from "Notre Dame" / Blunier, Beethoven Orchestra Bonn

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Widely acknowledged to be Franz Schmidt's finest symphony, the main offering of this 2010 MDG Live disc is in some ways the composer's most challenging work. Schmidt composed the Symphony No. 4 in C major as a requiem for his daughter Emma, who had died in childbirth in 1932. Schmidt's grief is plainly evident in the brooding music, which works its way through many unexpected chromatic turns and dark modulations, and develops a plaintive trumpet theme, heard at the beginning and in various guises throughout the work. In terms of the structure, Schmidt combined sonata allegro and variation forms to elaborate the trumpet theme as a primary subject, and the four movements are to be played as one continuous movement. Schmidt is often regarded as a conservative composer, but his dissonant harmonies here are quite adventurous for his style, and the uncertain mood of the music is ambiguous enough to remind one of late Mahler. The filler work, the Intermezzo from Schmidt's opera Notre Dame, is a sweetly lyrical work that is cast in a more conventionally Romantic vein than the symphony, though it's uplifting mood is a suitable contrast to the bleakness of the preceding work. Stefan Blunier and the Beethoven Orchester Bonn play both works with passionate commitment and deep emotion, and the high standards of performance and reproduction that are typical of MDG's hybrid SACDs are met in this excellent recording.

-- Blair Sanderson, All Music Guide

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 9371631-6

  • UPC: 760623163161

  • Label: MDG

  • Composer: Franz Schmidt

  • Conductor: Stefan Blunier

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Beethoven Orchestra Bonn