The jury of the Gramophone Classical Music Awards announced Estonian conductor Paavo Järvi and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony as the winner of this year’s Orchestral Award for their recording of the complete symphonies of Franz Schmidt.
Released in 2020 on Deutsche Grammophon – a German classical music record label and the world’s oldest surviving record company – the recording received world-wide acclaim and Gramophone magazine chose it as the “recording of the month”. The London-based magazine said “these are compelling, supremely persuasive performances that constantly underline the music’s great qualities”.
“Performing and recording the Franz Schmidt symphonies was a total labour of love – on many levels. First of all, it was music that was introduced to me by my father [Neeme Järvi]. I fell in love with these pieces because of him and because he was so incredibly enthusiastic about this music,” Järvi said in a statement.
“Also, this set was the last project I worked on as chief conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony – and it was a very special conclusion to my time with the orchestra. For those reasons these recordings have a unique significance for me and I am thrilled to be receiving this Gramophone Award,” the maestro added.
Franz Schmidt (1874 – 1939) was an Austro-Hungarian composer, cellist and pianist. In his music, Schmidt continued to develop the Viennese classic-romantic traditions he inherited from Schubert, Brahms and Bruckner.
He also took forward the “gypsy” style of Liszt and Brahms. His works are monumental in form and firmly tonal in language, though quite often innovative in their designs and clearly open to some of the new developments in musical syntax initiated by Mahler and Schoenberg.
The Gramophone Classical Music Awards, launched in 1977, are one of the most significant honours bestowed on recordings in the classical record industry. They are often viewed as equivalent to or surpassing the American Grammy award and referred to as the Oscars for classical music.
The winners are selected annually by critics for the UK-based Gramophone magazine and various members of the industry, including retailers, broadcasters, arts administrators and musicians. The awards are usually presented in London.
Paavo Järvi currently serves as the chief conductor of the Tonhalle Orchester-Zürich and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo; as the long-standing artistic director of The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen and of the Estonian Festival Orchestra, which he founded in 2011. He is also conductor laureate of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony, music director laureate of Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and artistic advisor of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
Cover: Paavo Järvi. Photo by Kaupo Kikkas.