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  PentaTone Classics -
  PTC 5186 015
  Franz Schmidt: Symphony No. 4 - Kreizberg
  Franz Schmidt: Symphony No. 4 in C, Orchestral Music from "Notre Dame"

Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra Amsterdam
Yakov Kreizberg (conductor)
Track listing:
  1-4. Symphony No. 4 in C (1933)
5-7. Orchestral Music from "Notre Dame" (1902-1904)

Total time: 60:25
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 7 show all

Reviews: 2

Review by wehecht October 17, 2008 (11 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Imagine that you were living in Vienna in 1933 and that your child had recently died. Try to conjure up the feelings associated with an overwhelming personal loss amidst the daily trials of a disintegrating culture. How could you possibly express even a part of your suffering? For Franz Schmidt the answer is in this symphony, subtitled by the composer "requiem for my daughter". The piece proceeds without interruption for slightly more than 45 minutes though there are effectively four "movements" within that span. Whether one hears the piece as a threnody for a deceased loved one, which was certainly foremost in the composer's mind, or for Austro/German romanticism, or both, the affect is the same. This is music of grief without rage, exemplified by the heartwrenching trumpet solo that begins and ends the work. To me it is the last great Romantic symphony, in a line from Schubert through Bruckner to Schmidt.

I've had the pleasure, or better, the profound experience of hearing the piece performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Jakov Kreizberg, and that performance was similar to the one recorded here by Pentatone. Critical response to both the performance I heard, and to this recording, has been appreciative but somewhat reserved, based on a sense that Kreizberg doesn't quite plumb the emotional depths of the piece (comparisons to Mehta's 1970's Decca recording with the Vienna Philharmonic, which was my first exposure to the piece, are almost invariably in favor of the earlier recording). Since both the Mehta and Welser-Most, which is the other recording in my collection, are more overtly emotional I understand the point, but to my ears Kreizberg's more restrained approach captures the essence of the piece almost perfectly (the concluding trumpet solo is just a little prosaic). This music isn't by Allan Petterson, or even Gustav Mahler. In a discussion thread I recently described this recording as "essential", and I stand by that judgment.

The sound is up to Pentatone's usual high standards. I do have one quibble about the disc: like most companies Pentatone typically places its "fillers" after the main work. That is frequently a mistake, and here it's absolutely ridiculous. There is no way to make the emotional leap from the closing moments of the symphony to the extracts from Schmidt's opera Notre Dame. The extracts are very well done, and enjoyable in their own right, especially the Intermezzo, but please program your player to hear them first, and then pause for a minute or so before proceeding to the symphony.

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Review by Toni October 9, 2004 (6 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
Schmidt's 4th symphony is dark and intense, quite heavy at times. I'm sure there's no problem with the performance. Overall, the sonics seem to be maybe a bit too nice for this kind of music. Imo "smaller scale music" works better in Pentatone's releases with it's close micing and rich, pure sounds. Label like Telarc for example might get more out of a kind of work like Schmidt's 4th here, giving it the needed impact on the low register. Nevertheless, very enjoyable disc with tasty MC mix.

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Works: 2  

Franz Schmidt - Orchestral Music from "Notre Dame"
Franz Schmidt - Symphony No. 4 in C