Vassily Sinaisky / Malmö Symphony Orchestra

Franz Schmidt: Symphony No. 3; Chaconne

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Franz Schmidt's four symphonies are among his most accessible compositions and perhaps the most immediately appealing and ingratiating is the Symphony No. 3 in A major, a lush and lyrical work that enfolds the listener with its warm orchestration, entices with its piquant harmonies and unexpected key changes and reveals many fascinating ideas as its development unfolds. If this work is comparable to any other music of its time, it bears a strong resemblance to the symphonies of Carl Nielsen, for its soaring melodies, searching modulations, and studious counterpoint are at times quite close to his style; despite the Austrian roots of Schmidt's music (most evident in the Ländler-like Scherzo), the odd mix of yearning post-Romanticism and knowing modernism produces similar kinds of unstable moods and changeable expressions that can also be found in Nielsen. The modally based Chaconne in D minor, a more conventional and conservative piece than the symphony, is a reworking of Schmidt's earlier Chaconne in C sharp minor for organ, transposed up a half-step and transcribed for orchestra. Vassily Sinaisky and the Malmö Symphony Orchestra turn in solid performances that bring the music across clearly and accurately, though the symphony appears to have engaged them more than the Chaconne, which has few beguiling moments. Naxos' sound is clean and every note is fully audible.

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