Monday, November 30, 2020

Schmidt: Symphonies Nos 1-4

Classical Music
Erik Levi

Symphonies Nos 1-4; Notre Dame – Intermezzo
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi
DG 483 8336 180:32 mins (2 discs)

Is Franz Schmidt finally securing due recognition as the last great Austrian symphonist of the late-Romantic era? The enthusiastic reception accorded to two of his symphonies at the BBC Proms over recent years certainly suggests so. I have no doubt too that his music will win over many new admirers thanks to this beautifully played and luxuriantly recorded cycle of concert performances given in Frankfurt between 2013 and 2018.

Paavo Järvi is an almost ideal interpreter of this composer, not only managing to bring transparency and luminosity to Schmidt’s often thickly textured orchestration, but also keeping a tight rein on the structural direction of works that in lesser hands can seem to meander. The youthful First Symphony receives an exuberant performance in which Schumann rather than Wagner emerges as the most potent influence. Järvi is no less impressive in the Second Symphony, exerting formidable control over the tricky babbling brook passagework in the opening movement and giving the music a dynamic sense of forward momentum and febrile excitement that is not so evident in other recordings.

In the more emotionally elusive Third Symphony, Järvi emphasises the lyrical and pastoral qualities in the outer movements but also brings a deep sense of foreboding to the darkly chromatic Adagio. Best of all is his deeply committed account of the Fourth. Thanks to the sustained almost grief-stricken intensity of the playing, not least the distinguished solo contributions from the trumpet, cor anglais and cello, it proves to be a gripping musical experience from first bar to last.

Franz Schmidt, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi

The Canadian

The situation is funny: Järvi father (Neeme) and Järvi fils (Paavo) compete for the market for the integrals of the symphonies of Franz Schmidt, a Viennese, whose production covers the period 1899-1933. The postromantic Schmidt never really made its hole, except, relatively, for the 4e Symphony, orchestral requiem in memory of his daughter. Its musical language derives from Mahler and Richard Strauss, but with a profusion and harmonic complexity that need to be tamed, as in Zemlinsky for example. The decisive contribution of Paavo Järvi is to clarify the structures and the polyphony of Schmidt. The close and precise sound recording allows a more carnal contact with sound textures, and the approach to the music is also more active and lively than that of its other competitors (Sinaïski, Luisi, Rajter). Paavo Järvi never “listens to himself conduct” while swooning over the beautiful music his orchestra produces. With its disarming evidence, it now dominates the discography and facilitates the composer’s approach.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski, Orchestre de la Tonhalle de Zurich, Paavo Järvi

Le Devoir
Christophe Huss

Les CD de symphonies de Tchaïkovski sont légion, mais les interprétations de cet acabit, très rares. Tchaïkovski en Suisse ? Oui, et c’est brûlant. Paavo Järvi a pris la direction de l’Orchestre de la Tonhalle de Zurich au début de la saison 2019-2020 et se lance dans une intégrale des symphonies du grand compositeur russe. Il le fait en gravant l’un des plus grands enregistrements de sa carrière. Ce n’est assurément pas une 5e de Tchaïkovski comme les autres, mais un flot de lave musicale porté par un engagement forcené. Il faut écouter avec quelle intensité sont traduites les indications « marcato », « largement » ou « féroce » pour comprendre qu’au-delà des notes Järvi et son orchestre incarnent la destinée d’un Tchaïkovski (la délicatesse des violons sur les phrases « avec noblesse ») laminé par la fatalité. Le 2e mouvement est au cœur des tourments tchaïkovskiens, et Paavo Järvi le sculpte avec liberté et soin du détail. Le chef estonien organise dans Francesca da Rimini un rouleau compresseur musical implacable et saturé de couleurs.

CD-Kritik: Paavo Järvi - Franz Schmid - Complete Symphonies

WDR 3 TonArt
07:05 min

Der Cellist Franz Schmidt, geboren im Jahr 1874 in Preßburg, war ein bedeutendster Komponist der österreichischen Spätromantik. Paavo Järvi legt mit dem hr-Sinfonieorchester eine Gesamteinspielung seiner wenig bekannten Sinfonien vor. Adele Jakumeit hat sie gehört. (Franz Schmidt: Symphonien Nr.1-4 / Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt, Paavo Järvi / DGG 4838336)

Paavo Järvi’s Really Fine Schmidt Symphonies

Classics Today
Victor Carr Jr.

Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 9

Paavo Järvi joins his father Neeme as one of the few conductors to record all four symphonies by Austrian composer Franz Schmidt. Symphony No. 4 is by far the most performed and recorded, as well as the best work of the bunch. Like Josef Suk before him, Schmidt transformed the pain of personal tragedy (the death of his daughter) into a symphonic composition of exceptional beauty and deep feeling.

Zubin Mehta’s classic recording, a measured, Brucknerian reading, evokes the music’s darker emotions, while at the other interpretive end, Franz Welser-Möst’s taut and swift rendition presents the work as elegiac rather than funereal. Paavo Järvi’s reading comes in between these two extremes, and his well-chosen tempos and naturally-breathed phrasing make for a cogent and near-ideal presentation of this music. Many individual moments, like the heartfelt cello solo in the second movement and the poignant, perfectly-played opening and closing trumpet solos, contribute to this uniquely persuasive performance. The Frankfurt Radio Symphony may not have the string sheen of the Vienna Philharmonic (Mehta), but the players’ palpable commitment is quite moving.

The second-best symphony is No. 2, and here Järvi runs up against papa Neeme who, with a highly-enthused Chicago Symphony (whose players clearly relish unfamiliar music) produce a formidable performance. As per usual, the elder Järvi plays it quite fast, and while Paavo’s less athletic tempos allow for more audible detail, and his brass is better balanced in the ensemble (probably the way Schmidt intended), there’s no denying that the Chicago brass is just stunning in this music. That said, Järvi fils is more attuned to the composer’s colorful and characteristic woodwind writing, which really enlivens the theme-and-variations second movement. Schmidt’s Notre Dame: Intermezzo makes a for a fine encore following the symphony.

Schmidt’s pretty and harmless Symphony No. 3 was submitted to, and won, Second Prize in the Schubert Centennial Contest of 1928. The work’s predominantly pastoral mood is reminiscent of Schubert’s Fifth symphony (albeit without its good tunes), and despite the somewhat dissonant harmonies in the slow movement’s main theme, the overall impression is one of perfumed languor. Järvi enlivens the music’s bright instrumental colors, particularly so in the first movement and Finale, and provides more clarity and concision than his dad, whose Chicago Symphony feels like overkill in this work.

Like many a first symphony, Schmidt’s No. 1 gives little indication of his later style, especially in the first movement, with its prominent echoes of Wagner (especially in the brass writing) and Schumann. The third-movement scherzo puts us on familiar territory–the busy triple-meter string writing points ahead to the Second and Fourth symphonies, while Schmidt’s chromatic neo-baroque harmonic style reminds of No. 3. Järvi makes a strong case for the symphony (as do the Frankfurt brass), which nonetheless leaves the impression of Schmidt as an interesting composer with “potential”.

Throughout, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony plays handsomely, with excellent work from all sections and soloists. Still, I can’t help wondering how these pieces would have sounded with Järvi’s former orchestra, the Cincinnati Symphony, and its more aggressive playing style. The live recordings (made in Frankfurt’s Alte Oper and hr-Sendessal) sound very fine, though in No. 2 woodwind and brass detail occasionally gets blurred in the resonant acoustic. In all, this is a highly enjoyable release. If you want a single set of Schmidt symphonies, young Järvi’s is the one to get. But I suggest you also get the recommend recordings of Nos. 2 & 4 as supplements.

Warm and affirmative playing from the LSO and Paavo Järvi at St Lukes

Chris Garlick

An early evening concert with a light-hearted programme seemed like a good idea in this dark November lockdown. The live audience of office workers caught on the way home was replaced by this live-streamed event from the beautiful setting of St Luke’s in Farringdon.

The first work was a rarity in the concert hall, the Concerto for Strings by the talented and prolific Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz. In three concise movements it is not an ambitious work, but it is a good introduction to the neo-classical earlier style and distinctive harmonic language of the composer that didn’t change greatly over the next 20 years. This lack of progression in her style was the probably the reason why her music has largely been ignored since her death in 1969 until more recent revivals in the recording studio. It was the more exploratory Lutosławski and Penderecki that lead the way in Poland.

The opening Allegro is rhythmically determined with flecks of lyricism. The strings of the LSO were certainly rich and rounded here, but never too rotund to overpower the music. Paavo Jarvi kept the tempo moving and also found a deeply brooding quality in the Andante that followed. Here one felt that Bacewicz was at her most personal, troubled and heartfelt. The final Vivo movement returns to the dynamism of the Allegro this time seeming to seek out an untroubled major key resolution.

Haydn's Sinfonia Concertante in B flat major for oboe, bassoon, violin and cello is one of those works that you could describe as being sublime in its pure sense of joy. Haydn was the true master of happy music, without ever sounding shallow or trite. This work, one of a handful of important concertante works he produced amongst his vast output. The work was given the sort of performance one would ideally wish for. With a biggish string section, it was not an “authentic” style of interpretation, but there was an emphasis on clarity, as well as moments of more romantic lyricism. The soloists, taken from the front desks of the orchestra, showed their mettle in the extensive first movement. Particularly fine playing from cellist Rebecca Gilliver and the beautiful French tones of oboist Olivier Stankiewicz here. The Andante had an appropriate intermezzo feel to it, with a good tempo choice and all four soloists relishing the beautiful ensemble writing. The finale was fleet footed and witty, with the orchestra’s leader Roman Simović on fine form leading the charge to the warm and affirmative B flat major close.

Beethoven’s Symphony no. 8 F major is another work of full of good humour and wit. This is not the composer of the Grosse Fuga or the Ninth Symphony, it’s not even the composer of the idyllic Pastoral. The Eighth is a much more personal work. It is scaled down to human size, a work you felt was the product of a man and not a would-be god and as such Beethoven believed it to be a greater symphony than his ambitious Seventh.

Järvi and the LSO certainly revealed many subtleties of mood and orchestral colour. Never did Beethoven find more varied colours from the woodwind and the quality of the playing here from the whole section was outstanding. The humour was brought out well, for example the sudden interjections of brass and timpani in all the movements sounding playful and not frightening, as they can in some performances. The finale had some of the manic energy of the Seventh, but was never pushed too hard, its progress here remained pleasingly and appropriately earthbound.

This performance was reviewed from the live IDAGIO Global Concert Hall video stream.

London Symphony Orchestra & Paavo Järvi at Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke’s [Idagio livestream]

Colin's Column
Guest Reviewer, Ateş Orga

Stepping in for Gianandrea Noseda (having had to withdraw due to travel restrictions), Paavo Järvi took over the London Symphony Orchestra for a programme traversing the relatively unfamiliar through the occasionally tried-out to standard mainstream. All dispatched with his customary composure and attentiveness, coaxing detail and character out of the players, never pushing the moment. Järvi has the safest hands in the business with a disposition to match. He doesn’t do ordinary. There’s always a surprise around the corner, a touch of adventure, a glint in the eye to keep us on our toes.

I grew up with Grażyna Bacewicz’s 1948 Concerto for Strings. The years have softened it somewhat. It’s not quite the Bartók Divertimento substitute I used to imagine. Nor does it approach those carved string intensities and serrated extremes Lutosławski, Penderecki and the Polish school were to make their own a decade later. But it has determination and guts, it engineers its motifs neo-classically, it encloses a sublimely turned Andante, and it has enough tricky solos and textures to test the best musicians. Järvi authoritatively drew the LSO ( into the idiom.

Haydn’s B-flat Sinfonia concertante for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon, written for London in 1792, was about chamber elegance, gallant rhythms and sensitive, placed accompaniment, the orchestra fielding a pedigree quartet of principals – Roman Simovic, Rebecca Gilliver, Olivier Stankiewicz and Daniel Jemison. The first movement ensemble cadenza (Haydn’s own) took the ruminative route.

Järvi’s Beethoven is familiar terrain, if a little more moderated and measured these days than when he videoed the Symphonies with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in 2009. In a chat beforehand he stressed the enigmatic “unusual” nature of the 1812 Eighth, a work taking a “sideways step” between the Seventh and Ninth, not fitting the populist view of Beethoven as a frowning, fist-shaking heavyweight. “Beethoven and ‘funny’ [people say] cannot be used in the same sentence … they sure can.” His Bremen account was a fierce one, running out at around twenty-four minutes. Two minutes longer, this LSO version had humour, an especially taut first movement development, and plenty of sharp oppositions – sudden quiets, unforgiving louds, hide-and-seek scampers, theatrical Finale unisons. Maybe the Loki blaze was dampened here and there but Järvi’s ruggedly full-throated stance had a persuasive ring overall, his body language – reminding of Celibidache in illustrative, point-making mood – striking a communicative note. Dvora Lewis, the LSO’s PR duchess for nearly forty years whose death had been reported earlier in the day, would have loved it.

Idagio’s livestream combined atmospheric lighting with good camera angles. But the sound (Jonathan Stokes, Neil Hutchinson) was variable, Nigel Thomas’s timpani proving over-reverberant in the mix, at the expense of clarity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Paavo Järvi tutvustab kontsertide puudumisel oma orkestreid heliplaadistuste kaudu

ERR Kultuur
Priit Kuusk

Järvi Akadeemia galakontserdi proov Jaani Kirikus
Foto: Kairit Leibold (ERR)

Uue kontserdihooaja algus on dirigentidele vahepeal teoks saanud kontsertide järel taas heitlik. Plaanitust on tulnud kohati kõik muusikakavad ära jätta. Kui kontserdimajad on suletud, on Paavo Järvi kohta ilmunud uudistest esiplaanil tema plaadistustegevus, mille kaudu ta saab ka keerulistel aegadel oma orkestreid muusikaavalikkusele näidata.

Paavo Järvit iseloomustavad eeskätt mahukad, mitmeid aastaid hõlmavad suured tsüklid. Ta tahab võimalikult mitmekülgselt tutvustada heliloojat, samas ka seda muusikat esitanud orkestrit. Ajakirjanduses rohkesti ilmunud arvustusi ja ülevaateid edastab alates 2005. aasta jaanuarist blogi Paavo Project USA-st. Autentse allikana on see rikkalikem, mis ühe Eesti dirigendi kohta kunagi on avaldatud. Pole harvad juhused, kus Paavo Järvi ka ise sõna saab. Siin kajastub lisaks ettevalmistuse muusikateadlaslikule põhjalikkusele ka Järvi väga intensiivne interpreeditegevus, sest plaatidele minevad teosed kõlavad muu repertuaari kõrval enne või pärastki kindlasti kontserdikavades orkestri kodusaalis ja kontserdireisidel mitmetel maadel. Samas leiavad tsükli plaadid või neile plaanitud üksikteosed avalikkuse tähelepanu ridamisi ka ühe kaupa, enne kogu tsükli ilmumist.

Järgnev annab põgusa ettekujutuse sellest, missuguse vastukaja on leidnud Paavo Järvi viimased plaadiprojektid. Uudis 10. novembrist (Paavo Project) valgustab laiemalt tundmatu helilooja Franz (Ferenc) Schmidti (1874–1939) harukordset menu: ajakirja Musica novembrinumbris on Frankfurti Raadio SO ja peadirigent Järvi see plaadikomplekt (Deutsche Grammophon) Schmidti kõigi nelja sümfooniaga (3 CD) saanud 5 tärni. Salvestused on tehtud viie aasta jooksul (2013–2018). Sama plaat on saanud ajakirja Gramophone oktoobrikuu plaadi auhinna. Vastukajasid Schmidti plaaditsüklile veel (jutt pole uue plaadi raadios ettemängimisest, vaid retsenseeritud hinnangutest): Münchner Merkur (2. XI); Musik und Theater (november 2020); Rootsi Raadio P1 (3. XI); The Onliner, Šveits (27. X), Trouw, Hollandi (23. X); Belgia Raadio RTBF (23. X); Musikzen, Pariis (13. X); parim päevaklassika plaat, France Musique (2. X); Capriccio, Rootsi (7. X); Concerti, Naxos Records (7. X); nädala album, Bayerische Rundfunk, BR Klassik (2. X) jne.

Uudis 9. novembrist. Ajakirja Gramophone novembrinumbri kaas Paavo Järvi plaadi fotoga teatab Tšaikovski-sarja esimese plaadi ilmumisest novembrikuul: Viies sümfoonia ja avamäng-fantaasia "Francesca da Rimini". Mängib Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, väljaandja Alpha Classics. Sarja kõik plaadid ilmuvad kontserdivõtetena. Eelmisel hooajal avas Järvi sarja orkestri kodusaalis IV ja VI sümfooniaga, sel hooajal mängiti plaadistamise plaaniga Viiendat. Vastukajades pressis toovad autorid esile Järvi märgatavalt uutmoodi lähenemist Tšaikovski muusikale, mis tunduvat Tšaikovski taasavastamisena. Zürichi orkester mängis Viiendat aasta algul oma Euroopa reisil. Sümfooniate koguplaadistuse on Järvi aastaid tagasi teinud ka Cincinnati SO peadirigendina. Nüüdne Tšaikovski-sari on kavandatud seitsmele plaadile. 11. novembril on uus plaat retsenseeritud ja kõlanud Lääne-Saksa ringhäälingus (WDR3 Tonart, ka 9. XI); SRF Radio (24. X); Peter Hagmanni blogi (Šveits, 28. X).

Veel 28. oktoobril ütleb Peter Hagmann oma blogis Lugano kontserdi järel, et Viini kontserdid pole ära öeldud. Ootamatu äraütlemine tuli siiski, kohe järgmisel päeval: Zürichi Tonhalle orkestri kõik kontserdid kodus ning muusikareis Viini ei toimu. Viini Musikvereini suures saalis oli 14. ja 15. novembrile plaanitud kokku kolm kontserti: Szymanowski Viiulikontsert nr 1 (Lisa Batiašvili), Schumanni Sümfoonia nr 3 ning Bruckneri Sümfoonia nr 4.

Pisut veel varasemast. Paavo Project teatab BBC Proms'i kavast, kus Paavo kiirkorras asendas kava muutmata Esa-Pekka Saloneni. Veebikontserdil 7. IX Royal Albert Hallis mängis Philharmonia, ettekandel Raveli "Couperini haud", Šostakovitši Klaverikontsert nr 1, solistid, Mozarti "Jupiter-sümfoonia" (nr 41). Õhtu möödus meile peaaegu et teadmata, sest Paavo Järvi ootamatu esinemine sellel jõudis siia napi hilinenud sõnumina.

Mezzo TV andis 8. novembril eetrisse Zürichi Tonhalle orkestri hooaja 2019/2020 avakontserdi salvestuse. Paavo Järvi juhatusel kõlas see 2. oktoobril 2019 Järvi debüüdina orkestri peadirigendi ametis. Ettekanne toimus Zürichi Tonhalle Maagis, kavas Sibeliuse "Kullervo" op. 7, kus olid kaastegevad Eesti rahvusmeeskoor ning solistidena Soome lauljad Johanna ja Ville Rusanen.

Lõpetuseks koju. Esmaspäeval 9. novembril alustas Klassikaraadio uut, viieosalist saatesarja Beethoveni suure tähtpäeva märgiks. Sarja autorid on Paavo Järvi ning Nele-Eva Steinfeld, tema ka toimetajana. Beethoveni kõik 9 sümfooniat ja avamänge esitab uuel plaaditsüklil Järvi juhatusel tema kauaaegne orkester Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Selle projekti plaate salvestas Paavo Järvi enam kui kümnel aastal (Sony Classical/RCA Red Seal) lõpuni veendununa, et Bremeni orkester oli selleks sobivaim. Projekti üksikplaadid on võitnud mitmeid rahvusvahelisi auhindu. Järvi osalemine kogu saatesarjas on praegust olukorda arvestades harukordne, kahe autori dialoog on põnevusega jälgitav, Bremeni orkestri ja Paavo ühistöö plaadid siinjuures kõlamas. Saatesari lõpeb detsembri algul, 250 aastat tagasi Beethoven sündis, aga tema sünni täpset kuupäeva meil ju pole.

Franz Schmidt : Les quatre symphonies

Les Echos
Philippe Venturini

Belle redécouverte

Cadet de Mahler sous la direction duquel il joua comme violoncelliste de l'Orchestre philharmonique de Vienne, Franz Schmidt (1874-1939) reste méconnu en France. S'il ne prétend pas participer à l'avant-garde alors qu'il est contemporain de Schoenberg, il déploie une pensée généreuse dans un style qui évoque autant la mélancolie automnale d'un Brahms que la volupté sonore d'un Richard Strauss. L'esprit clair et le geste net, Paavo Järvi évite la tentation du seul hédonisme pour révéler le caractère de chaque symphonie : la dernière, requiem sans voix composé à la mémoire de sa fille, cache sa douleur derrière une noble pudeur.

Orchestre symphonique de la Radio de Francfort, Paavo Järvi (direction). 3 CD, Deutsche Grammophon.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

CD-Kritik: Tschaikowsky. Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Paavo Järvi

Elisabeth Richter

Das Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich und sein Chefdirigent Paavo Järvi haben alle Sinfonien und weitere ausgewählte Orchesterwerke aufgenommen. Den Auftakt machen die Fünfte und die Fantasie "Francesca da Rimini" nach Dante. Elisabeth Richter hat die CD gehört. (Tschaikowsky / Symphonie Nr. 5 & Francesca da Rimini / Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Paavo Järvi / Alpha / ALP659)

Tchaikovsky, Symphony No.5 / Review Highlights



“it certainly hits the emotional spot and marks an auspicious start to Järvi’s Tchaikovsky cycle. Just when you need to cool off after that sizzling coda of the Fifth, though, it’s a case of out of the emotional frying pan and into ... the raging furnace that is the symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini ... Järvi wrenches the drama from the closing pages, the final bars held for all their worth.”

Gramophone, Mark Pullinger, November 2020

"Gleich am Anfang fällt auf, was für einen warmen, vollen, sehr ausgewogenen und dabei transparenten Klang Paavo Järvi mit dem Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich formt. [...] Järvi, der neue Chefdirigent in Zürich, zeigt, dass Tschaikowsky spannend und mitreißend sein kann, ohne Emotionen aufzubauschen.”

"Right at the beginning you notice what a warm, full, very balanced and at the same time transparent sound Paavo Järvi creates with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich. [...] Järvi, the new chief conductor in Zurich, shows that Tchaikovsky can be exciting and stirring without exaggerating emotions”.

WDR 3 Tonart, 9 November 2020 Die Alben der Woche

“Straff, klar, voller Energie. Aber auch fein und elegant, geradezu verführerisch.”
"Tight, clear, full of energy. But also fine and elegant, almost seductive.”

SRF Radio, Annelis Berger, 24 October 2020

“... die Einspielung von Tschaikowskys Fünfter, der die Tondichtung «Francesca da Rimini» zugefügt ist, lässt denn auch im Dynamischen keinen Wunsch offen. Mit äusserster Sorgfalt ist da alles ausgestaltet, man hört es, weil das Orchester sozusagen von innen heraus aufgenommen ist und die Spitzen der Lautstärke, die Järvi wohl um der instrumentalen Farben willen verlangt, ins Klangganze eingebettet sind. So findet der Kopfsatz nach der gehauchten langsamen Einleitung zu einer Erzählung aus einem einzigen Guss, erzeugt das Andante tiefe Berührung, ohne in Kitsch abzugleiten, kann man im Walzer des dritten Satzes die Vorteile der alten deutschen Orchesteraufstellung mit den beiden Geigengruppen links und rechts vom Dirigenten entdecken, während das Finale mit der ganzen Schönheit des dunklen, warmen Tutti-Klangs prunkt. Das Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich kommt hier zu einem blendenden Auftritt.”

“ ... the recording of Tchaikovsky's Fifth, to which the tone poem Francesca da Rimini is added, leaves nothing to be desired in the dynamic. Everything is arranged with the utmost care, you can hear it because the orchestra is recorded from within, so to speak, and the peaks of the volume, which Järvi probably demands for the sake of the instrumental colours, are embedded in the whole sound. Thus, after the slow breathed introduction, the opening movement becomes a narrative in a single cast, the Andante creates a deep emotion without slipping into kitsch, in the waltz of the third movement one can discover the advantages of the old German orchestral arrangement with the two violin groups to the left and right of the conductor, while the finale shines with all the beauty of the dark, warm tutti sound. The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich makes a dazzling performance here"., 28 October 2020

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Schmidt recording was awarded with 5 stars in MUSICA, November edition.



“Dem hr-Sinfonieorchester unter der Leitung des estnischen Dirigenten Paavo
Järvi gelingt mit Abstand die bisher künstlerisch und klangtechnisch beste Aufnahme
auf dem Markt. Nie bombastisch oder klanglich dick, hören wir wunderbar transparente
und sich von Werk zu Werk steigernde Interpretationen dieser noch zu entdeckenden
Juwelen der klassischen Moderne. Järvi ist die Begeisterung für die Strukturen, aber
auch für den durchaus feinen Klangsinn des Komponisten anzumerken. Der Schwung,
der Elan, der gekonnte Walzerdreh – Järvi legt mit dieser epochalen Einspielung nicht
nur ein präzises Momentum zu großer Musik ab, sondern fordert damit auch die
anderen Spitzenorchester heraus, sich mit dem symphonischen Schaffen von Franz
Schmidt auseinanderzusetzen. Eine Einspielung etwa mit den Wiener Philharmonikern
wäre überfällig. Die Zweite mit Semyon Bychkov war ja schon einmal ein guter Anfang.”

“”The hr-Sinfonieorchester under the baton of the Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi
succeeds in making by far the best recording on the market so far, both artistically and
technically. Never bombastic or tonally thick, we hear wonderfully transparent and from
work to work increasing interpretations of these yet to be discovered jewels of classical
modernism. Järvi's enthusiasm for the structures, but also for the composer's very fine
sense of sound, is noticeable. The verve, the élan, the skilful waltz turn - with this
epochal recording, Järvi not only lays down a precise momentum to great music, but
also challenges the other top orchestras to deal with the symphonic work of Franz
Schmidt.”, Dr. Ingobert Waltenberger, 7 November 2020


“Die Aufnahmen sind derart vorzüglich geraten, dass man von einem Meilenstein
sprechen kann ... Paavo Järvi dirigiert diese stilistisch recht diffizile Musik mit
ausgesprochenem Fingerspitzengefühl. Er hält die Musik in einem derart natürlichen
Fluss, dass es scheint, als sei da gar kein Dirigent, der interpretierend «eingreife».
Vielleicht ist das sogar das grösste Kompliment, das man Järvi machen kann: Dass der
Schleier der «Interpretation», der so häufig zwischen dem Hörer und der Musik hängt,
hier wie weggezogen scheint. So, wie Franz Schmidts Sinfonien unter seiner Leitung
klingen, müssten sie künftig weltweit Erfolg in allen Konzertsälen haben.”

“The recordings are so excellent that one can speak of a milestone ... Paavo Järvi
conducts this stylistically quite difficult music with a pronounced sensitivity. He keeps
the music in such a natural flow that it seems as if there is no conductor who
"intervenes" in the interpretation. Perhaps this is the greatest compliment that can be
paid to Järvi: That the veil of "interpretation" that so often hangs between the listener
and the music seems to have been drawn away here. The way Franz Schmidt's
symphonies sound under his baton, they should in future be successful in all concert
halls worldwide.”

Musik und Theater, Werner Pfister, November issue 2020


“Lux Klass - Schmidt’s Symphonies cannot be heard better than on these recordings
with the fantastic Paavo Järvi and Frankfurt Radio Symphony.”

P1 (Sweden), Johan Korssel, 3 November 2020
full review available to listen to on P1 podcast (from 41’00)


“... these are compelling, supremely persuasive performances that constantly underline
the music’s great qualities ... (Paavo Järvi) has an apparently instinctive ability to draw
Schmidt’s symphonic threads together into performances that are persuasive, powerful
and, thanks here to the rich-sounding Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, very well
played to boot ... an unfailing musicality, an extra sense of refinement, a seriousness
that never spills over into portentousness, an ability to let Schmidt’s ideas unfurl
naturally ... As a set, they allow the listener to trace Schmidt’s development in a genre
whose gods were very much in their twilight.”

Gramophone Magazine, Hugo Shirley, October 2020
Recording of the Month


“Paavo Järvi verricht wonderen met het Radio Symfonieorkest uit Frankfurt in alle vier
symfonieën. En uiteraard ontbreekt dat zinderende Intermezzo niet.”
“Paavo Järvi performs miracles with the Radio Symphony Orchestra from Frankfurt in
all four symphonies. And, of course, that sweltering Intermezzo is not lacking.”

Trouw, Peter van der Lint, 23 October 2020


“Comme son père Neeme, Paavo Järvi aime explorer des répertoires méconnus. Coup
de chapeau à lui et aussi à Deutsche Grammophon qui, en cette année où pleuvent les
intégrales des symphonies de Beethoven, proposent une intégrale des symphonies
de... Franz Schmidt ... et remarquablement jouée ici par l’Orchestre symphonique de la
Radio de Francfort.”

“Like his father Neeme, Paavo Järvi likes to explore little-known repertoires. Hats off to
him and also to Deutsche Grammophon who, in this year when the complete
symphonies of Beethoven are raining down are offering a complete set of the
symphonies of... Franz Schmidt ... remarkably played here by the Frankfurt Radio
Symphony Orchestra.”

Le Choix Musical de Musiq 3
RTBF - Belgium Radio, Nicolas Blanmont 23 October 2020


“Sans oublier l’interprétation de cette ultime symphonie gravée au début des années
2000 par Yakov Keizberg (PentaTone), Paavo Järvi et Francfort apportent une noblesse
brucknérienne à cette partition qui se voulait, comme l’indique le sous-titre, un requiem
destiné à la fille du compositeur, morte en bas âge.”

“Without forgetting the interpretation of this final symphony engraved at the beginning
of the 2000s by Yakov Keizberg (PentaTone), Paavo Järvi and Frankfurt bring a
Brucknerian nobility to this score which was intended, as the subtitle indicates, a
requiem intended for the composer's daughter, who died in infancy.”

Musikzen, Frank Mallet, 13 October 2020


Le Disque classique du Jour on France Musique, 2 October 2020


“Paavos Järvis entusiasm för dessa verk är påtaglig och orkestern lyckas genomgående
ge musiken både den kraft och klarhet den behöver ... Genomgående i samtliga verk –
även Schmidts mest kända “hit”, intermezzot ur operan Notre Dame – är både
tolkningarna, orkesterspelet och ljudbilden i toppklass. Som jag ser det, är det här du
som lyssnare bör starta om du vill bekanta dig med dessa personliga symfonier. “

“Paavo Järvi's enthusiasm for these works is palpable and the orchestra consistently
manages to give the music both the power and clarity it needs ... Throughout all the
works - even Schmidt's most famous "hit", the intermezzo from the opera Notre Dame -
both the interpretations, the orchestral performance and the soundscape are top class.
As I see it, this is where you as a listener should start if you want to get acquainted with
these personal symphonies.”, Per Nylen, 7 October 2020


“Jetzt liegen die Mitschnitte auf drei CDs vor. Järvi deutet diese Musik, wie in der ersten
Sinfonie, mit einer gewissen Weitherzigkeit, nie gehetzt, mit genauem Sinn für
Proportionen und die Verteilung der Stimmen. Auch wenn die Frankfurter oft Glut und
Hitze entwickeln, so leiden die Mitschnitte nie unter Überdruck. Järvi verortet Schmidts
Musik durchweg in einem weiten Feld der Spätromantik, die die Türen zur Moderne sehr
wohl kennt, sie aber nicht krampfhaft öffnet. So ist eine in sich geschlossene,
facettenreiche Gesamtschau der Sinfonien entstanden.”

“Järvi interprets this music, as in the first symphony, with a certain expansiveness, never
rushed, with a precise sense of proportion and the distribution of the voices. Even
though the Frankfurters often develop embers and heat, the recordings never suffer
from overpressure. Järvi locates Schmidt's music throughout in a wide field of late
romanticism, which knows the doors to modernity very well, but does not open them
spasmodically. The result is a self-contained, multifaceted overview of the symphonies.”

Concerti, Christian Lahneck, 7 October 2020


“Gleich der erste Satz von Schmidts 1. Sinfonie ist mitreißend, erhebend, eine große
leuchtende Neonreklame für diese CD-Box ... Das ist keine "Schön, dass es mal jemand
gemacht hat"-Einspielung. Sondern beste Werbung für die Musik von Franz Schmidt. So
bleibt dieser Name im Gedächtnis.”

“The very first movement of Schmidt's 1st Symphony is rousing, uplifting, a large,
glowing neon sign for this CD boxset ... Järvi enjoys the sounds of Schmidt - and
makes listening a pleasure. This is not a "nice that someone did it" recording. But the
best advertisement for the music of Franz Schmidt. So this name stays in the memory.”

Album der Woche on Bayerische Rundfunk (BR Klassik),
Henrik Oerding, 2 October 2020


“Deutsche Gramophone, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and Paavo Järvi
deserve whole-hearted praise for releasing a new Franz Schmidt symphony cycle ...
Excepting the Chicago/Chandos performances, these are certainly the best engineered
recordings of the cycle. This incredible music deserves and benefits from different
interpretive views. Any lover of late-Romantic music will want this set, supplementing it
with Neeme Järvi’s second and Zubin Mehta’s fourth. But if forced to choose only one
cycle, this would now be a primary recommendation.”

The Classic Review, David A. McConnell, 2 October 2020


“Here, as everywhere in this set, Järvi allows just the right amount of rubato to follow the
music's warp and weft. and when it comes to the playful Scherzo (Schnell und leicht:
Quickly and lightly), the Frankfurt orchestra excels ... I have never heard the Frankfurt
orchestra on such fine form as under Paavo; and this music is truly revelatory. This is
when the idea of exploration of the repertoire, the heart of Classical Explorer's very
existence, really comes into its own and the rewards show themselves fully.”

Classical Explorer, Colin Clarke, 1 October 2020


“Paavo Järvi knuffar Franz Schmidts symfonier till verklig klassikernivå ... Omvärlden
vaknade sent, men mer och mer blir det uppenbart att Franz Schmidt hör hemma bland
de stora.”

“Paavo Järvi pushes Franz Schmidt's symphonies to the real classical level ... The
outside world woke up late, but more and more it becomes clear that Franz Schmidt
belongs among the greats.”

HD (Sweden), Staffan Storn, 29 September 2020


*A benchmark set of Franz Schmidt’s four symphonies
“... Complete recordings of all four symphonies under, for example, Schmidt’s pupil
Ľudovít Rajter, and Neeme Järvi, are now joined by a consistently compelling cycle by
the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under Neeme’s son Paavo, who drives the
Fourth with maximum ardour but also realises the Third’s Schubertian axis (the slow
movement is especially magical) and the very different characters of the First and
Second Symphonies. The First in particular opens like a hymn to the sun, the best
version I’ve ever heard.” - rob’s retro classical, 27 September 2020


“Should Schmidt’s Symphonies be unfamiliar, they should appeal to admirers of the
music of Bruckner, Mahler, Reger and Richard Strauss. Paavo Järvi clearly believes in
their considerable worth and conducts them accordingly. Recorded between 2013 and
2018, the sound is very good if a little edgy in the loudest passages, but that is an
insignificant caveat given the compositional and interpretative artistry on offer.”

Colin’s Column, Colin Anderson, 27 September 2020


“Satisfyingly sumptuous accounts of Schmidt's 4 late-Romantic symphonies; the post-
Brahms symphonies that Richard Strauss and Schoenberg wouldn't or couldn't compose


The Symphonist, 19 September 2020
#Record of the Week


“Denn dem von Paavo Järvi geleiteten hr-Sinfonieorchester gelingt es, einen mit all den
rauschend-kulinarischen, stets körperreich und durchsichtig ausmusizierten Klangfarben
in jeder Sekunde zu packen und bei der Stange zu halten. Da fragt man sich zwar
ständig, wo und bei wem Schmidt nun dieses und jenes wieder geklaut hat. Aber er hat
es nun mal hörenswert gut gemacht, wie diese Aufnahme beweist.”

“... the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, directed by Paavo Järvi, manages to
grab you every second and keep you going with all the lavish, culinary timbres
that are always full-bodied and transparent. One constantly wonders where and from
whom Schmidt stole this and that again. But he did it well, as this recording shows.”

Rondo Magazine, Guido Fischer, 19 September 2020


Comparing the cycles of father and son, tempi don’t appear to be wildly different, and
the playing on both the Chandos and DG sets is exceptional by any standards. However,
I have to say that I have an overall preference for this new release with Paavo Järvi and
the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. The sound has an added glow and depth, and there is
greater definition and potency. So, it goes to the top of my list of recommendations
for this symphonic cycle., Stephen Greenback, September 2020


“Aunque muchas de estas obras han sido llevadas ya al disco, faltaba quizá en la
discografía de Schmidt un registro que consagrase definitivamente su figura. La
publicación de la integral de sus sinfonías por parte de un sello como Deutsche
Grammophon llena este vacío.”

“Although many of these works have already been recorded on record, perhaps a
record was lacking in Schmidt's discography that would definitively establish his figure.
The publication of the entirety of his symphonies by a label like Deutsche Grammophon
fills this gap.”

Scherzo Magazine, 17 September 2020


“Heute ist er (Schmidt) weitgehend vergessen ... Ob sich das nun mit der Einspielung
aller vier Symphonien (DG) ändern wird? Wäre denkbar. Denn erstens leistet das
Symphonieorchester des Hessischen Rundfunks, unter Leitung von Paavo Järvi
hervorragende Arbeit. Zweitens gibt es hinter der manchmal sehr soliden
symphonischen Wertarbeit in der Tradition der neudeutschen Schule eine Menge
erstaunlicher Eigenheiten und stilbildender Entwicklungen ... Man spürt nahezu
physisch den Schaffensdruck, die kreative Freude, die Gestaltungskraft, die virtuose
Instrumentationskunst, die Sicherheit, große Spannungsbögen zu ziehen.”

“Today he (Schmidt) is largely forgotten ... Will that change with the recording of all four
symphonies (DG)? Would be conceivable. First of all, the Frankfurt Radio Symphony
Orchestra, under the direction of Paavo Järvi, does an excellent job. Second, behind the
sometimes very solid symphonic workmanship in the tradition of the new German
school, there are a lot of astonishing peculiarities and style-forming developments ...
You can almost physically feel the creative pressure, the creative joy, the creative
power, the virtuoso art of instrumentation, the security of drawing large arcs of

Süddeutsche Zeitung, Helmut Mauró, 14 September 2020


“Der Sohn in den Fußspuren des Vaters? - Die Tempi sind ähnlich, bei Paavo Järvi
unmerklich langsamer. Es ist der Zugang, der Vater und Sohn unterscheidet. Neeme
Järvi malte mit breitem Pinsel und schwelgte in Schmidts Klangfluten. Paavo Järvi
versucht, schärfer zu konturieren. Der Klang ist schlanker, die Dynamik feiner abgestuft.
Neeme Järvi ordnete die Details dem Gesamtbild unter, Paavo Järvi nützt sie, um Ecken
und Kanten hörbar zu machen ... Mögen Schmidts Werke auch keine Vollendung der
österreichischen Sinfonik sein: Ein Kennenlernen steht dafür, wenn man
nachromantischen Schwelgereien etwas abgewinnen kann. Um Paavo Järvis Einspielung
wird man dabei nicht herumkommen.”

“The son in the footsteps of his father? - The tempos are similar, in Paavo Järvi's case
imperceptibly slower. It is the approach that distinguishes father and son. Neeme Järvi
painted with a broad brush and indulged in Schmidt's sound waves. Paavo Järvi tries to
outline more sharply. The sound is slimmer, the dynamics more finely graded. Neeme
Järvi subordinated the details to the overall picture, Paavo Järvi uses them to make
corners and edges audible ... Even if Schmidt's works are not a completion of the

Austrian symphony, getting to know them is what it means to gain something from post-
Romantic indulgences. There is no getting around Paavo Järvi's recording.”

Wiener Zeitung, Edin Baumgartner, 22 September 2020