As another reviewer has commented, this is music that grows on you and after listening to this symphony for the fourth time, I am convinced that this is one of the greatest works of the 20th century, without a single superfluous note in its score. Comparisons with other composers, particularly Strauss, are a little misleading as Schmidt has a very distinctive voice. However, I suppose I would describe this music as late-Romantic without the rather feverish, opulent, chromaticism of composers like Scriabin. Indeed, Schmidt is a worthy heir to Schubert and Brahms, but it is also possible to detect his exposure to composers as varied as Bruckner, Reger, Wagner and even Ravel and Berg, and the harmonic language is very sophisticated. Above all, Schmidt had a gift for melody and his music sings in a way that few composers of his era have managed.
The other thing that impresses me about Schmidt is his incredible, translucent orchestration - something that never really came across on vinyl. Fortunately, this stunning performance has been given a first-rate recording and I can't imagine hearing a better version.
Why this symphony hasn't achieved the recognition it deserves is a mystery, but I can only hope that this recording will help to redress the balance.