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Classical - Released February 2, 2018 | Chandos

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Classical - Released July 8, 2016 | Lyrita

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Classical - Released March 11, 2016 | Lyrita

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Classical - Released June 29, 2018 | Nonesuch

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Opera - Released April 1, 2012 | NMC Recordings

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Classical - Released September 2, 2016 | Chandos

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Classical - Released February 1, 2010 | Bridge Records, Inc.

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Maestoso

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Maestoso

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Classical - Released February 1, 2003 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2012 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released October 5, 2018 | ICA Classics

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Classical - Released October 5, 2018 | ICA Classics

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Classical - Released March 2, 2018 | Chandos

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Florent Schmitt made his name in his mid-thirties with such rich, resplendent scores as La Tragédie de Salomé and Psalm 47. Their brilliance, however, should not have overwhelmed so much the rest of his output, for he lived another half century, and, as his Second Symphony demonstrates, retained his creative energy to the end. The initial occasion for the two Suites from Antoine et Cléopâtre recorded on this album was one of the extravaganzas put on in Paris by Ida Rubinstein, a woman whose sheer cold beauty gained an extra lustre from the vast wealth she inherited, and who was ready to display both – the looks and the lucre – majestically in the theatre. Having arrived in the French capital with Diaghilev’s company, she soon went independent. In June 1920 she took over the Paris Opéra for five gala performances of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, with herself as Cleopatra opposite the flamboyant Édouard De Max in a new translation which she had commissioned from André Gide. The titles of the six movements that Schmitt extracted in his two suites generally tell us where to place them within the action. In December 1957, 37 years later, Schmitt completed his Second Symphony, his last major work, at the age of eighty-seven. As lavish as his earlier music and as rhythmically sophisticated, emphatically bounding in fast passages and supple in slow, the symphony has nothing valedictory about it. Happily, the composer was there in Strasbourg in June 1958 for the first performance, conducted by Charles Munch. He died two months later. This was Schmitt’s only symphony in the strict sense, and it is not clear why he called it “No.2”. Of the two possible candidates for the “No.1” spot – his Symphonie concertante for piano and orchestra of 1931 and Janiana, a symphony for strings a decade later – neither is altogether convincing. Maybe the numbering was just an old man’s whim. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released June 1, 2018 | Chandos

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Although the 1911 Second Symphony is without a doubt – alongside the slightly later Cello Concerto – the greatest work by the mature Elgar, the Serenade for Strings, finished in 1892 but based on even older material, is clearly the masterpiece of his youth. The Symphony, the last one that the composer finished (a Third was left under construction), is not short of typically English pomp, but the most salient feature of the work is definitely the vast contrast from one movement to the next, or indeed within a given movement, where spontaneous outbursts of feeling mix with regal bursts and doleful chants that speak of a kind of underlying mourning. The Serenade speaks happily of the pleasant English countryside, a kind of song without words: a profoundly British sort of Mendelssohnian inheritance. the BBC Symphony Orchestra swims like a fish in the water of this ineffable, fine music that's bursting with hidden meanings. © SM/Qobuz