Sunday, April 16, 2017

Franz Schmidt; Arnold Schoenberg - Symphony No. 4; Chamber Symphony No. 1 (Zubin Mehta)


Information

Composer: Franz Schmidt; Arnold Schoenberg
  1. Schmidt - Symphony No. 4 in C major: 1. Allegro molto moderato - Passionato
  2. Schmidt - Symphony No. 4 in C major: 2. Adagio - Più lento - Adagio
  3. Schmidt - Symphony No. 4 in C major: 3. Molto vivace - Tempo primo un poco sostenuto - Passionato - 
  4. Schmidt - Symphony No. 4 in C major: 4. Allegro molto moderato
  5. Schoenberg - Chamber Symphony No. 1 in E major, Op. 9

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Zubin Mehta, conductor

Date: 1968 (5), 1971
Label: Decca


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Review

These two very different manifestations of twentieth-century Viennese symphonic composition make a slightly improbable but stimulating coupling. Schoenberg's flamboyantly economical display of contrapuntal wizardry, storming the bastions of traditional form and harmony, precedes Franz Schmidt's relatively conservative symphony by more than 20 years, and the only flaw in Mehta's reading of it is a tendency to opt for caution when (as most more recent recordings demonstrate) daring is the better part of valour. Mehta is particularly sedate in the scherzo, when heard alongside the Orpheus CO (DG) or the Dutch Schoenberg Ensemble (Schwann/Koch International), and the clear though dryish sound coarsens noticeably in the work's final stages. This is nevertheless the only mid-price CD version currently available, and it provides a striking counterweight to Schmidt's expansive and much less radical enterprise.

Schmidt's Fourth Symphony has won some extravagant praise which I can understand but cannot completely endorse. Given its length—almost 50 minutes—it lacks that sustained, Brucknerian sense of ecstacy to which it aspires, at least until the impressive moment of crisis at the end of the scherzo. Schmidt has a fine feeling for the dynamics of tonal harmony, but less flair for conjuring up the arrestingly memorable musical idea. This is nevertheless a well-projected performance, the sound a little constricted but with that typical Sofiensaal opulence shining through whenever the brass come into play. It may prove a minor irritant that the disc's third track runs the symphony's scherzo and most of the recapitulation of the Allegro molto moderato together.

-- Arnold Whittall, Gramophone

More reviews:
http://www.amazon.com/Schmidt-Symphony-No-Schoenberg-Chamber/dp/B00000E4J2
Different issue (couple with Mahler 2):
http://www.classical-music.com/review/mahlerschmidt
http://www.allmusic.com/album/mahler-symphony-no2-schmidt-symphony-no4-mw0001396804
http://www.amazon.com/Mahler-Symphony-Schmidt-Gustav/dp/B00000422P

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Franz Schmidt (22 December 1874 – 11 February 1939) was an Austrian composer, cellist and pianist. He studied at the Vienna Conservatory with Robert Fuchs, Ferdinand Hellmesberger and Anton Bruckner. Schmidt was also a brilliant pianist. As a composer, Schmidt was slow to develop, but his reputation, at least in Austria, saw a steady growth from the late 1890s until his death in 1939. In his music, Schmidt continued to develop the Viennese classic-romantic traditions he inherited from Schubert, Brahms and his own master, Bruckner.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franz_Schmidt

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Arnold Schoenberg (13 September 1874 – 13 July 1951) was an Austrian composer, leader of the Second Viennese School. Schoenberg was known early in his career for simultaneously extending the traditionally opposed German Romantic styles of Brahms and Wagner. Later, his name would come to personify innovations in atonality that would become the most polemical feature of 20th-century art music. In the 1920s, Schoenberg developed the twelve-tone technique, an influential compositional method of manipulating an ordered series of all twelve notes in the chromatic scale.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Schoenberg

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Zubin Mehta (born 29 April 1936) is an Indian conductor of Western classical music. Mehta was the Music Director and Principal Conductor of the New York Philharmonic from 1978 to 1991, the longest holder of the post. He is currently the Music Director for Life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Main Conductor for Valencia's opera house. Mehta received praise early in his career for dynamic interpretations of the large scale symphonic music of Anton Bruckner, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler and Franz Schmidt. His conducting is renowned as being flamboyant, vigorous and forceful.

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  3. Deutsche Welle > Dokumentation


    Zubin Mehta - Dirigent & Weltbürger


    Zubin Mehta ist einer der charismatischsten Dirigenten unserer Zeit. Ein Weltbürger, der viele Facetten in seiner Person vereint: indische Kultur und parsische Spiritualität, nordamerikanische Lebensart und europäische Musiktradition. ARTE widmet Zubin Mehta ein Porträt anlässlich seines 80. Geburtstags und begleitet ihn an aktuelle Wirkungsstätten und wichtige Stationen seines Lebens.

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    Zubin Mehta, 1936 in Indien geboren, ist besonders mit dem deutschsprachigen Raum verbunden: 1961 dirigierte er als damals jüngster Dirigent die Berliner Philharmoniker, ist Ehrendirigent des Bayerischen Staatsorchesters sowie der Münchner und der Wiener Philharmoniker.


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