The Music of Franz Schmidt: Volume 1: The Orchestral Music

ISBN: 978-0-907689-12-6
Release Date: 1984-12-15
Composer: Franz Schmidt
Author: Harold Truscott
Series: Composer Studies

With Personal Recollections by Hans Keller and the Autobiographical Sketch by Franz Schmidt
Extent: 190 pages
Composition: Demy octavo ~ Illustrated ~ Bibliography ~ Index

Franz Schmidt is increasingly being recognised as one of the great composers. His music covers symphonies, quartets, opera and oratorio, and works for organ. In all of these genres he proves himself a master of large-scale symphonic form and one of the most substantial lyric geniuses of all time. Born in Hungary in 1879, Schmidt spent most of his life in Austria (he died in Vienna in 1939) where his importance was universally agreed; now his towering stature is also acknowledged further afield.

In this first of a three-volume survey of Schmidt’s music, Harold Truscott, the outstanding authority on Schmidt in the English-speaking world and himself an important composer, examines the orchestral works – the four gripping symphonies, the Variations on a Hussar Song and the Chaconne – taking the reader and listener through each of these mighty scores.

This first volume is introduced by the ‘Personal Recollections’ of Hans Keller, who knew Schmidt well in pre-World-War-II Vienna. The book also features the first-ever translation into English of Schmidt’s Autobiographical Sketch, where the composer tells of his early childhood in Hungary, his teenage years near Vienna and his life as a cellist in the Vienna Philharmonic, where he came into conflict with the autocratic Gustav Mahler. Volumes 2 (on the chamber music and music for keyboard) and 3 (music for the voice) are in preparation.

3 reviews for The Music of Franz Schmidt: Volume 1: The Orchestral Music

  1. :

    “This is the way to do it. […] this superb book […] will hopefully do all that is necessary to spread the understanding of this unjustly neglected figure. […] Harold Truscott’s achievement deserves the widest circulation, influence and success.”

    —Robert Matthew-WalkerMusic and Musicians

  2. :

    ‘A major step in the rediscovery of one of the towering composers of the twentieth century; this brings to Schmidt’s music the scholarship it so richly merits.’

    —Boydell & Brewer

  3. :

    If you are interested in the composer, you should definitely be buying this book. […]

    These six chapters [of musical analysis] represent a penetrating analysis of Schmidt from the perspective of a composer. Yet Truscott was an experienced writer who manages to make a musicological exercise accessible and interesting. […]

    This well-illustrated book is essential reading for those in the English-speaking world interested in a composer not yet fully recognised by it. I was soon digging out every recording of his music I could find and listening again to masterpieces such as the Fourth Symphony and The Book of Seven Seals. […] put [this book] on your Christmas list.’

    —Patrick C Waller, MusicWeb International

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