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FRANZ SCHMIDT (1874 - 1939)

Variations on a Hussar’s Song · Fantasia for piano and orchestra · Chaconne for orchestra
JASMINKA STANČUL · DEUTSCHE STAATSPHILHARMONIE RHEINLAND-PFALZ · ALEXANDER RUMPF

C5274 PC: 21 845221052748

When we speak today about Schmidt’s main works, his exemplary organ works and the oratorio The Book with Seven Seals will certainly come to mind first. On this recording are some rarities like the Fantasia for piano and orchestra in B flat major, presumably dating to 1899, in which Schmidt anticipates material from his successful opera Notre Dame. Considered lost for some time, the premiere of the fantasia took place only more than a century after its composition, in the Vienna Musikverein on 8 November 2013. Formally, variation works always held a special appeal for Schmidt, be it in terms of thematic elaborations or in the form of his large-scale Chaconne. In its orchestral version of 1931, it represents an arrangement of the Chaconne for Organ in C sharp minor. The premiere of the chaconne took place during a subscription concert by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Clemens Krauss in 1933. The distinguished conductor was also the dedicatee of the Variations on a Hussar’s Song for Orchestra, composed the same year as the instrumentation of the chaconne. They were also premiered by the Vienna Philharmonic under Clemens Krauss in 1931, was repeated by the same performers at the Salzburg Festival that summer and then played by the New York Philharmonic with Bruno Walter for the first time in the USA in February 1932.

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MIKHAIL GLINKA

Piano Variations · A Greeting to my Homeland · Nocturnes
TON NU NGUYET MINH, piano

C5285 PC: 21 845221052854

In Russia, it is said that Pushkin was the sun of poetry, but Glinka the Pushkin of music, a sublime degree of domestic veneration. In St. Petersburg, Glinka was for a short time among the pupils of the Irish pianist and composer John Field. Field’s performance and style remained ideals for Glinka throughout his life. Like the early works by Frédéric Chopin, who was also influenced by Field and Hummel, Glinka’s piano works follow this ‘brilliant style’, which might equally be termed ‘instrumental bel canto’.

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Walter Braunfels: Grosse Messe op. 37

SCHNEIDER · ROMBERGER · ELSNER · HOLL
PHILHARMONISCHER CHOR BERLIN · BERLINER SINGAKADEMIE · KNABEN DES STAATS- UND DOMCHORES BERLIN · KONZERTHAUSORCHESTER BERLIN · JÖRG-PETER WEIGLE

C5267 PC: 21 UPC: 845221052670

Braunfels’ hand at drama and his careful consideration of the text betrays the opera composer, not only in the Te Deum, but also in the Great Mass which he finished in 1926. Braunfels was at the height of his (from thereon never waning) musical powers and fame. The Great Mass isn’t a liturgical work; the Mass speaks directly and very audibly from a sincere spiritual urge. “He is a high-romantic, solidly anchored in the German composition- culture, and yet he has a very unique language – sensationally well-orchestrated, as it happens – about him, which makes it so fascinating” (Weigle).

 

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ANTON BRUCKNER: Symphony No. 9 · Mass No. 3

ZIESAK · BAECHLE · BRUNS · GROISSBÖCK
WIENER SINGAKADEMIE · RSO VIENNA RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA · CORNELIUS MEISTER

2CD-SET: C5247 PC: 21 (Special Price) UPC: 845221052472

What a struggle the work posed for the composer emerges from the circumstance that he already embarked on it in the late summer of 1887, but had not completed it by his death nine years later. If we take the existing music of the Ninth to hand, we will notice that only few symphonies evince such apparently ‘autonomous’ movements as this one – perhaps this very fact is a consequence of the absence of a finale rounding off the arch and concluding the dramaturgy. If Bruckner intended to dedicate the Ninth to ‘my dear God’, the Mass in F minor is a work of gratitude to God for recovery after a persistent nervous illness and physical exhaustion. Performed several times during Bruckner’s lifetime, the Mass in F minor has uninterruptedly ranked ahead of its sister works in D minor and E minor among the popular church choral works of late Romanticism.

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Jaromir Weinberger (1896-1967)

Overture to a Chivalrous Play (1931) · 6 Bohemian Songs and Dances (1929) · Passacaglia for organ and large orchestra (1932)
JÖRG STRODTHOFF, organ · DEUTSCHES SYMPHONIE-ORCHESTER BERLIN · GERD ALBRECHT

C5272 PC: 21 UPC: 845221052724

Even it is a legend that the Prague-born composer Jaromir Weinberger committed suicide in American exile because he had not succeeded for decades in following up his opera Schwanda the Bagpiper with any of his later works. Nevertheless, the legend contains a grain of truth. It shows a 71-year-old composer far away from his beloved homeland, which he had had to leave in the course of its occupation by the Nazis and which was meanwhile ruled by the Communists under Soviet influence. But in general, Weinberger was just as little able to integrate in North American music life as he managed to draw on his earlier time in Europe after 1945. A consideration of many works by Weinberger today will have to take events of the time into account, but at the same time we will hardly be able to avoid seeing direct or indirect references to his one big success Schwanda the Bagpiper in many works.

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