9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Deserves a wider audience,
This review is from: Schmidt: Symphony No.2 (Audio CD)
This disc is a revelation. The Malmö orchestra is on superb form, in particular the horns - all eight of them. The symphony is a majestic piece of late-romantic richness in that most magisterial key of Eb major, technically a huge challenge to any orchestra, to which the Swedes rise with aplomb.
The great first movement perhaps overshadows the rest somewhat, with some brilliant writing for full orchestra and clever manipulation of tonality - full of artful surprises. The Brahmsian start to the middle movement (a set of variations) leads to a more Mahlerian, lively, scherzo-like section. The last movement, a rondo in structure, is richly contrapuntal and moves to a triumphant conclusion.
This is fin-de-siècle stuff, written shortly before the First World War, after which nothing could be what it had been before. The music exudes confidence and assertiveness. Max Reger is in there somewhere also, but don't let the echoes of Schmidt's contemporaries put you off; this is music written by a technical master which achieves its own style. Its public voice, rephrasing the great truths of romanticism, starkly contrasts with the equally monumental but more private world of the Fourth Symphony, expressing Schmidt's grief at the death of his daughter.