Paavo Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony’s recording of Franz Schmidt’s Complete Symphonies has been nominated in the Orchestral category of the 2021 BBC Music Magazine Awards. Nominated recordings have been announced from across seven categories – Orchestral, Concerto, Opera, Vocal, Choral, Chamber and Instrumental – for this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards. Voting is now open until 18 March and the winners will be announced in April.
“Essential for the composer’s fans, highly recommended”
Paavo Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony’s revelatory live performances of Franz Schmidt’s Complete Symphonies and his famous Notre Dame ‘Intermezzo’ were described by Gramophone, in their Recording of the Month feature, as “…compelling, supremely persuasive performances that constantly underline the music’s great qualities …Essential for the composer’s fans, highly recommended for newcomers.” BBC Music Magazine noted, “Schmidt’s symphonies are in good hands here, with Paavo Järvi and his Frankfurt musicians giving them the recordings they truly deserve. Captured live between 2013 and 2018, these luminous performances easily win over uninitiated listeners and fly the flag for Schmidt – arguably Austria’s last great late-Romantic symphonist.”
Franz Schmidt has been studiously overlooked
Though once highly regarded in his native Austria, Franz Schmidt (1874-1939) has been studiously overlooked by music historians and the music industry. During his lifetime, however, he was one of the most esteemed figures in his country’s music life, not only as a composer, but as a pianist, cellist, conductor and university professor. In addition to his four symphonies his slender, but substantial, oeuvre includes two operas, the oratorio The Book With Seven Seals, concertante pieces for piano and orchestra, chamber music and organ works.
Franz Schmidt composed on the same lavish scale as Mahler, Strauss and Schoenberg yet never embraced expressionism and atonality. Instead he remained committed to tonal harmony, although sometimes stretching it to its limits, and achieved a highly personal synthesis of the diverse traditions of the Austro-German symphony. One special ‘tinge’ in his music is its many echoes of Hungarian ‘Gypsy music’, they reveal this scion of largely Hungarian forebears as the last great exponent of the style hongrois after Schubert, Liszt and Brahms.
Paavo Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony’s live performances on this album of all four of Franz Schmidt’s symphonies and his famous Notre Dame ‘Intermezzo’ shine a light on his fascinating, but overlooked, output.
To vote for Paavo Järvi’s Franz Schmidt Complete Symphonies in the 2021 BBC Music Magazine Awards click here.