The Linos Ensemble Presents Franz Schmidt
The Quintet for Piano (Left Hand), Clarinet, and String Trio in A major was the last major work completed by Franz Schmidt prior to his death as well as the last of the three quintets written for the pianist Paul von Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm during World War I but in no way had withdrawn as an invalid. Already a few years earlier Schmidt had composed a more trimly dimensioned work of the same instrumentation for Wittgenstein (Quintet in B flat major). The Quintet in A major lasts about an hour and once gain sums up the composer's piano ideal: extreme transparency, not an orchestra substitute, along with a ensemble employed with special delicacy. The second movement is an extended, poetic piano solo. Since Wittgenstein feared that this movement would not »come across« in a chamber concert, Schmidt composed a second slow movement (for a total of five, all of which are included on this CD). In the finale the composer varies a theme by Josef Labor, the former teacher of his commissioner Wittgenstein. Here he pulls all the stops of his talent with Mozartian lightness – even to the point of the »all'ungherese, « which is only natural since Schmidt had been born in Hungary and regarded himself as a Hungarian throughout his life.