Hungarian Gems 3.

SCHMIDT: Notre Dame – Intermezzo 
SCHMIDT: Variations on a Hussar’s Song, for Orchestra
LISZT: Hungarian Fantasy
LISZT–WEINER: Sonata in B minor (arrangement for full orchestra)

Mihály Berecz piano
Concerto Budapest
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 of 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. On the other hand, the other composer of the night, Franz Liszt, we have always been proud to call our very own. The mutuality of this deep bond is proved by such popular pieces as the Hungarian Fantasy, debuting in Pest in 1853. The other masterpiece representing Liszt's oeuvre at the concert is fundamentally "classical" and delicate simultaneously; this time, we can hear the Sonata in B minor, the grand-orchestral arrangement that Leó Weiner uses made back in 1955 but was performed for the first time only recently.