Schmidt Symphony No. 2 - Allegretto con variazioni
Schmidt Symphony No. 2 - Finale
Strauss - Dreaming by the Fireside Intermezzo, Op. 72
Vienna Philharmonic :
Schmidt-Sym #2 | Strauss-Dreaming by the Fireside
Franz Schmidt's Symphony No.2 - A new recording of the late-Romantic Austrian master
Semyon Bychkov conducts Vienna Philharmonic in neglected masterpiece
The current revival of interest in Austrian composer Franz Schmidt – his Fourth is now recognized as one of the great symphonies of the 20th century – is about to receive a big boost with a new recording of his lesser-known Second Symphony on Sony Classical. It is performed by the Vienna Philharmonic, in which Schmidt himself played as a cellist, frequently under Gustav Mahler. And in 1913, on the eve of the cataclysm of World War I, his optimistic Second Symphony was premiered. A "work of tremendous, immediate appeal and a compositional tour de force" (Gramophone Magazine).
The new recording of the late-Romantic master's Second Symphony is conducted by Semyon Bychkov, one of today's most distinguished maestros and a favourite of the Vienna Philharmonic. When he presented it with the orchestra at the 2015 BBC Proms in London's Royal Albert Hall, the reception was highly enthusiastic. The Guardian, praising the "outstanding performance", wrote: "The musicians saved their fire for the Proms premiere of Schmidt's Second Symphony (1911-13), lasting nearly an hour and requiring a supersized orchestra. In three movements, thickly scored yet never smudgy or indistinct, this mammoth curiosity inhabits the Viennese late Romantic sound world with explosive climaxes and airborne, inventive string writing."
No less were the reviews about their performance at the Salzburg Festival in summer 2015 where critics raved about Schmidt's Second Symphony with its "ecstatically beautiful harmonies" (Die Presse, Austria).
The new recording also contains Dreaming by the Fireside, a "symphonic interlude" from the 1924 opera Intermezzo by Schmidt's German contemporary Richard Strauss. This languorous, sumptuously scored piece, which opens dreamily with cellos over shimmering winds, perfectly complements the bold and brassy symphony by Franz Schmidt.
This album was recorded at the Musikverein, Vienna in 2015.