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Korngold, Schmidt - Music For Strings & Piano Left Hand / Fleisher

Release Date: 05/19/1998 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 48253   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz SchmidtErich Wolfgang Korngold
Performer:  Michael TreeLeon FleisherJoel SmirnoffJoseph Silverstein,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Paul Wittgenstein's many commissions for piano left-hand (he lost his right arm during the First World War) significantly enriched the twentiethcentury's musical repertoire, and Sony's superb CD bears witness to two of the finest. Both date from the inter-war years, Korngold's Suite being a product of 1930 and Schmidt's Quintet - one of three that he composed for Wittgenstein - from 1926. It is of course easy, with hindsight, to appreciate the abundant virtues of both pieces, even though back in the 1930s Nazi ideology drew a spurious racial barrier between Korngold's supposed 'degeneracy' and Schmidt's 'healthy' inheritance of the Brahms-Reger tradition.

This ludicrous mock-crisis is tellingly exemplified by listening first
Read more to Korngold's sensual "Lied" (the Suite's fourth movement), the musical equivalent of death by chocolate, then to the homely tones - no less lovely in their way - of Schmidt's Adagio. Both tug insistently at the heart-strings, but they are very different. Korngold also gives us a purple-hued waltz and a pungent "Groteske" with a buttermilk centre. His is a music ripe to bursting point, though it is also wickedly subtle and immensely clever. Schmidt's first movement has a second set that could easily have strayed from an undiscovered Brahms sextet, with piano writing that is unexpectedly prophetic of Bartók's Third Concerto. His third movement opens like a Brahms piano miniature, and continues in the manner of Reger. Both works feature delightful finales, Korngold's being a set of variations on a tender theme.

Sony's stellar line-up gives Schmidt's Quintet the outing of its life: even now, I can't wait to replay the two middle movements. Fleisher's beautifully graded playing is granted affectionate support from Silverstein and his colleagues, supple but sweet-centred and very well balanced.

– Gramophone [9/1998]
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Works on This Recording

Quintet for Piano left hand and Strings in G major by Franz Schmidt
Performer:  Michael Tree (Viola), Leon Fleisher (Piano), Joel Smirnoff (Violin),
Joseph Silverstein (Violin), Yo-Yo Ma (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/1993 
Venue:  Chapin Hall, Williams College, MA 
Suite for Piano left hand and Strings, Op. 23 by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Performer:  Leon Fleisher (Piano), Yo-Yo Ma (Cello), Jaime Laredo (Violin),
Joseph Silverstein (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; Austria 
Date of Recording: 08/1991 
Venue:  Chapin Hall, Williams College, MA 

Sound Samples

I. Präludium und Fuge. Kräftig und bestimmt
II. Walzer. Nicht schnell, anmutig
III. Groteske. Möglich rasch
IV. Lied. Schlicht und innig. Nicht zu langsam
V. Rondo - Finale (Variationen). Schnell, heftig
I. Lebhaft, doch nicht schnell
II. Adagio
III. Sehr ruhig
IV. Sehr lebhaft

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