This pairing was last issued under the Regis
imprint when it swept the board. It derives from the Bob Auger/Bob
Simpson project which first emerged in a single vinyl boxed set from
Unicorn on KPM 7001-3. The whole set has at various times been issued
on CD and has invariably been eulogised just as it deserves (reviewreview).
It first came out on CD on Unicorn-Kanchana UKCD 2000-2002. Initially
this set came with a spoken introduction to and analysis of each of
These analogue sessions are quite simply magnificent and I am hard
put to criticise the sound and the artistic approach, even now, some
four decades later. If you are interested in the present two symphonies
then there is no real reason for you to go looking elsewhere.
The heavenly bodies must have been in a perfect alignment during those
Auger sessions because the sound is natural yet virile. I say this
whether the score is at full tilt or is quietly rhapsodising as in
the second movement of the Fourth. Tension is tightly sustained in
the opening of the Fifth Symphony. As I have said previously, the
Fifth is humanity to the Fourth's nature and it is given a
wonderful outing by Schmidt. Listen to how well he terraces the dynamic
contours and echoing terrain in the first movement! In the radiant
adagio the horns bell out in unblushing glory (tr. 6 2:20). The
imprecations of the side-drum are rapped out in all their finally
It’s such a pity that we did not get more from the fiery Schmidt –
parallels here with another awkward cuss conductor wisely favoured
by Alto’s sister label, Musical Concepts: Wyn Morris in his Beethoven
cycle. Schmidt can be heard inexpensively on Regis in truly inspiriting
accounts of Borodin
2 and Sibelius
5 (also Alto).
Not to be missed – do not be put off by the low price. Only Chung
on Bis comes anywhere near when it comes to Nielsen.
The liner-note is a fine thing with a useful article on Ole Schmidt
(1928-2010) and the music is profiled with David Dougherty having
re-edited the original Regis essay.