Symphony No. 3 Chaconne
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Franz Schmidt' Third Symphony was composed in 1927-28, dedicated to and premiered by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, winning a first prize from the Columbia Graphophone Company of New York for the best symphony in the spirit of Schubert' 'Unfinished' S
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The Chaconne was originally written for organ and the version here was tastefully orchestrated by Schmidt himself. It is a rare work of beautiful sonorities well captured by Sinaisky and the Malmö Symphony. Sinaisky's cycle of all the symphonies is beautifully played and recorded, and I think will stand as the standard recording of these works for years to come. Hopefully they will also help to make more people familiar with this wonderful composer whose works deserve to be much better known and more frequently performed. I believe Robin Holloway once called Franz Schmidt the "greatest historically uninevitable composer since Bach", and as so often he was pretty much on the mark.
The Schmidt Third is a reflective lament that rewards the patient listener. It is in its own way as powerful as the overtly dark Schmidt Fourth, if not more so. Those who would view the Third work as merely "sunny and happy" miss out on its substance, and many tight, brisk, rigid performances of this symphony do unfortunately reinforce this "happy music" fallacy. For example, Neeme Jarvi's brisk, polished but superficial account blows past many of the subtleties. But Sinaisky gets it right, and so does the 1980s recording conducted by Ludovit Rajter (a student of Schmidt's) with the Radio Bratislava Symphony on the Opus label. Both take the work at a relaxed pace. The Rajter recording has dry, thin sound and a slightly more acerbic texture. The interpretation Sinaisky's is broader, warmer, more patient and relaxed, with better orchestral play and better sound.