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SACD Review

Franz Schmidt


  • Symphony #4
  • Intermezzo from "Notre Dame"
Beethoven Orchestra Bonn/Stefan Blunier
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG9371631-6 54m DDD Hybrid Multichannel SACD
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Schmidt's Fourth Symphony is perhaps the most famous of his works having come to fame through Zubin Mehta's recording with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on Decca in the late 1960's. It is a romantically charged work replete full of melodies and which reminds one of Bruckner and also Mahler.

Stefan Blunier is an excellent conductor in this sort of music with the Bonn orchestra also very much into the live proceedings. The opening Allegro molto moderato goes along at a fine pace although I marginally prefer Järvi's account on Chandos in this movement. The Adagio is however quite ravishing with some lovely string parts and Blunier is an ideal exponent here also.

Schmidt has some tricks up his sleeve in the wonderful Finale which is a tribute to his daughter's passing way in rather Mahlerian mould. Blunier is again quite on the ball with his conducting although here I have to prefer Zubin Mehta's much more agonized version in supreme Decca sound (430007-2). MD&G's multichannel sound is also top notch although nothing beat's Decca's Sofiensaal recordings. Otherwise this is a fine and quality version of a symphony which deserves wider currency just as the Intermezzo from "Notre Dame" which remains practically Schmidt's only calling card.

Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech