SCHMIDT: Variations on a Hussar’s Song, for Orchestra
SCHMIDT: Notre Dame – Intermezzo
SCHMIDT: Fantasia for Piano with Orchestral Accompaniment
LISZT–WEINER: Sonata in B minor (arrangement for full orchestra)
Mihály Berecz piano
Conductor: András Keller
He was born in Bratislava, which has centuries-old ties with Hungary, and his mother was Hungarian, so Hungarian music culture has every justification in nurturing, at least in part, the memory of Franz Schmidt (1874–1939) and rediscovering his oeuvre. As a former solo cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, but also as a professor and even rector of the Vienna academy of music, Schmidt counts, of course, primarily as a prominent figure in Austrian music history. However, just listen to his works. His strong attachment to the Hungarian-Gypsy-recruiting song tradition, which he blends with the tonal world and structural principles of dense late German Romanticism, becomes immediately evident. In addition to the 1931 orchestral hussar variations opening the concert, all this is apparent from the Intermezzo of his opera Notre Dame based on the Victor Hugo novel and debuting in 1914: Schmidt unmistakably associated such intimately familiar motifs with the character of Esmeralda. Similarly, the Schmidt composition with its musical material links to this opera and its orchestral interlude, the world premiere of which took place belatedly in Vienna in 2013. A few years ago, the grand orchestral arrangement of Liszt’s Sonata in B minor that Leó Weiner made back in 1955 was performed posthumously and from manuscript.