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Reviews: Schmidt: Concertos - Schmidt

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Reviews: 3

Review by raffells March 27, 2006 (4 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
There are several remarkable things about this release.The recording quality is astounding ,the 4 concertos themselves are very rewarding in their wide range and musical content and the superb playing which is beyond criticism.Added to that the authenticity of the composer being present and the unlikely possibility of getting these works ever recorded again.A true demonstration of fidelity sound rather than hifi.
5tarting with a concerto for flute and percussian you will likely be astoinished by some of this music.No flash bang wallop but beautifully crafted and occasional delicate rythms interlaced with the very articulate flute in a perfectly balanced blend.The only very minor criticism could be the following work is the flute concerto with strings which could have been placed third.Quite difference yet still as modern as the first work without going past conventional.The following Horn concerto announces itself instantly a different word but still virtuostic writing and playing .The final Tuba concerto also an outwrite winner. The complexity of these is such that a review after two playings is unlikely to be acurate about most of its virtues and I am sure others will add inner details..Booklet excellent..Outright winner.Dave

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Review by audiofreak May 31, 2006 (2 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Modern classical music, with great variation and intensity from the beginning to the end. Five stars are given for performance as well as for the composers work. Sonics are incredible and companies like Telarc could learn something here. This disc is among be three best recorded classical SACDs in my entire collection.

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Review by georgeflanagin August 6, 2006 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The music:

I first encountered Ole Schmidt as a composer ten years ago on BIS-672. On that CD, his work "The Öresund Symphony" is paired with the rarely heard Violin Concerto by Niels Gade, which is why I bought the disc. If the Öresund Symphony is one side of Schmidt, these four pieces represent another.

The concerti presented by Dacapo are rather mainstream, even conservative in almost every way. I do not mean to disparage these works in any way when I say that they are light, airy, approachable works. That is simply what they "are." They make for enjoyable listening, and the performances are well rehearsed and well played. The soloists are all good, and I must say that the timing by the percussionists in the Suite that kicks off the disc is bang on.

Fellow reviewer David Raffells mentions "the unlikely possibility of getting these works ever recorded again," and with that sentiment I must agree. As superficially enjoyable as these works are, I found little to compel me to listen again to find deeper meaning. The tuba concerto is unlikely join that of Vaughan-Williams in the standard repertoire unless tuba players are just so desperate for music that they need something else to play. The concerto for flute and String Orchestra might have been better as a chamber quintet for flute and one each of the strings. The horn concerto starts out with a flash of the "other" Ole Schmidt, the one who wrote the outer two movements on the aforementioned Öresund Symphony, but it failed to hold my attention. The first piece on the disc, the Suite for Flute, Harp, Percussion and Strings has some legs, and I will listen to it periodically.

Richmond, Virginia is one of the older cities in the United States. There are plenty of old things here, and for each decrepit street, house, building, etc., it seems there is a public interest group running around trying to preserve it. Richmond has succumbed in part to the first half of William Ralph Inge's saw: "This is old, therefore it is good." I fear that albums like this one from Dacapo are representative of the other half of Inge's insight: "This is new; therefore it is better."

The sound:

As other reviewers have noted, this disc is astounding in its naturalness, in its unaffected sound. It demonstrates a familiar large hall acoustic, with the soloists a bit more forward that you would experience in concert,* and full frequency response. The hall is quiet, and the recording is relatively free from extra-musical noises.

Every month or so we have a visitor at the house who expresses at least a polite, passing interest in the hi-fi. I generally ask, "Do you have a favorite instrument?" I now have something for the flute lovers and the percussionists. This is well recorded, civilized sound, that comes off pretty well regardless of your hi-fi. I expect this disc will become a cult favorite in audio showrooms around the world; it may become to legit music what the soundtrack to Jurassic Park was to home theatre.

George Kelly Flanagin

* I am not of the opinion that a successful recording should present the concert exactly as I might hear it live. Without visual cues of what is going on, I am happy to have the relative volume of the soloists slightly exaggerated, and to have them brought slightly forward in their apparent position.

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