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Symphonies - Paru le 11 septembre 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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The music of composer Franz Schmidt fell out of the repertory after it emerged that he had been hailed by the Nazis, although he apparently never asked for the honor and was less than comfortable with it. His essentially conservative style put him out of commission for several more decades during the period of modernist repression, but there have been modest signs of a revival, including a complete cycle from conductor Neeme Järvi, leading the Chicago and Detroit Symphony Orchestras (not yet heard by this writer). Now his son Paavo weighs in with this set, leading the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. The music will be new to most listeners, and it's attractive stuff. Its most striking feature is a radiant, optimistic tone, defined right from the first movement of the Symphony No. 1 in E major. Järvi grabs the listener's attention here and doesn't release across substantial movements that are mostly between ten and 20 minutes long. A place to start sampling would be the entr'acte, an Intermezzo from the opera Notre Dame, which exemplifies the almost mystical tone Schmidt's music retained, even amid great personal tragedy. That tragedy is explicitly addressed in Schmidt's Symphony No. 4 in C major, designed "a requiem for my daughter" by the composer; the daughter died in childbirth in 1932. That work is perhaps the most Straussian of Schmidt's symphonies with its transfigured trumpet theme at the beginning and end, but Schmidt's style, although certainly conservative by the 1930s, was not derivative of anybody. It is not so much a matter of tonality, where he is, like Mahler, sometimes pushing the edges and, at other times, innocently diatonic. Instead, it is the historical scope of his music, encompassing styles as far back as Schubert (hear the echoes of the "Great" Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944) in the Symphony No. 3 in A major, while living very much in the world of Strauss and Bruckner overall. Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony catch the energy in the music and display no weaknesses over a very large orchestra in these live recordings. It seems possible that this release will expand the big symphonic repertory a bit. Try the music out and speculate on this possibility. © TiVo

L'interprète

Paavo Järvi dans le magazine