Schubert sonatas

Newest Releases

Piano solo and duet
  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

Free classical music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.


Moravec - Twelfth Night Recital
15%off £17.21 (until Dec 7)

Katerina Englichová - harp
15%0ff £10.83 (until Dec 7)

  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo
  • Stellar debut<br>piano recital
  • Clarinet transcriptions Jonathan Cohler
  • Jonathan Cohler & Claremont Trio
  • French clarinet masterpieces
  • Today's leading<br>clarinet-piano duo

Sibelius Symphonies Maazel
4CDs + Blu-ray audio
Special Price £36.75

RVW A Sea Symphony - Elder

Shostakovich Symphony 10 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem

Dvorak Opera Premiere

Grieg, Mendelssohn sonatas




Would you like a hyperlinked weekly summary of the CDs we have reviewed?

Click for further details

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Cameo Classics
Prima voce
Red Priest
Toccata Classics

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Franz SCHMIDT (1874 - 1939)
Symphony No.2 in E (1911/1913) [48:59]
Fuga solemnis (1937) [14:00]
Anders Johnsson (organ)
Malmö Symphony Orchestra/Vassily Sinaisky
rec. 28 May - 1 June 2007 (Symphony), Malmö Concert Hall, Malmö and 24 - 25 August 2007 (Fuga), St Petri Church, Malmö DDD
NAXOS 8.570589 [63:09]

Experience Classicsonline

Schmidt’s symphonic canon really gets going with this magnificent 2nd Symphony. Indeed, it is hard to believe that this is the work of the same man who wrote the rather derivative 1st Symphony. The twelve years that separate these works obviously helped Schmidt hone his style and focus his musical thoughts. This 2nd Symphony is a real tour de force; three large movements, of which the second is a theme and variations which incorporates a slow movement and scherzo and trio. It’s not an easy work to bring off in performance for it is thickly scored and there is much counterpoint.

The Fuga solemnis for organ, sixteen wind instruments and percussion is Schmidt’s final work for organ - the organ and the orchestra were the two media through which he spoke fluently and eloquently - and it is a magnificent achievement. You’d be forgiven for assuming that this work is an organ solo; the ensemble doesn’t join in until after half the piece has been played and then Schmidt works out his material between the keyboard and wind.

Sinaisky chooses very good tempi for the Symphony and he certainly has a firm grasp on the structure of the work. He draws excellent playing from his orchestra, the brass is rich and sonorous, the strings resplendent, the wind colourful and full of song. The recording, which is very immediate, is perhaps a trifle too hard-faced, I would have welcomed some space between me and the orchestra; I don’t want to feel as if I am sitting next to the conductor on the podium. The recording of the Fuga solemnis is better in that it gives some feel of the room in which it was recorded, but then there are fewer players to contend with!

Part of me really wants to welcome this disk. It contains such a fine Symphony in a performance of some worth. I am afraid however that there is a but. Throughout I was conscious of something not being quite right with the interpretation. The performance is fine but after listening to it a couple of times I reached for a live version of Erich Leinsdorf and the Vienna Philharmonic playing this Symphony. The Leinsdorf recordng was made in the Großen Musikvereinssaal in 1983. Here we have the essence of Schmidt’s work, played by his own orchestra. It will be remembered that under Mahler Schmidt played in the cello section and was often favoured by Mahler to play the solos even though he didn’t lead the cellos. The Leinsdorf reading is in totally Viennese style under a Vienna-born conductor. There is a breadth of vision and the performance sits very comfortably with the orchestra With the Malmö players there is, on reflection, a touch of strain. The music doesn’t come as easily to them as it does to their colleagues in Vienna. Just listen to the restraint in the Austrian capital in the final chorale, held back and never overpowering. In Malmö it seems to take on a life of its own and overpower everything which stands in its way. The Vienna performance can be found in a three disk set called the Vienna Philharmonic Plays 20th Century Masterpieces. It is coupled with live performances of Berg, Honegger, Janáček, Stravinsky, Schönberg, Webern and Wellesz, under various conductors (Andante 4080). No other performance can match Leinsdorf. It surpasses all other recorded performances. However, as the Andante might be difficult to obtain I welcome this disk as a fine performance of Schmidt’s Second Symphony. It is acceptable as a stopgap. I have not heard Neeme Järvi’s Chandos recording with the Detroit Symphony (CHAN8779) and as part of a complete set of the Schmidt symphonies.

What will whet Schmidt enthusiasts’ appetites is the only recording of the Fuga solemnis currently available. At the price it’s worth the outlay.

Bob Briggs

see also review by Jonathan Woolf  



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.