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Classical Music Review

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Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 1


Composer: Christopher Alan Schmitz
Conductor: Stefan Sanderling
Performed by: London Symphony Orchestra and Amy Schwartz Moretti (violin)
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 10 May 2024

The violin concerto is a challenging setup to write for: it beckons with promises of both might and fragility. Composer Christopher Alan Schmitz is well-versed in both the theoretical and practical aspects of composition: his resulting Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 1 gets the balance just right. The tonal language is reminiscent of Bruckner and Mahler, as raw emotion mixes with splendour...

Christopher Alan Schmitz's Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 1 consists of 8 tracks (58 min, 10 sec) split into 'Violin Concerto' (3 tracks - 28 min, 23 sec) and 'Symphony No. 1' (5 tracks - 29 min, 47 sec).

This I found to be an instantly accessible and emotionally charged release. There are so many impressive themes tucked away that even after several weeks of consistently listening to it I was still constantly finding little parts here and there that I'd previously overlooked.

There were a few soundtracks which I was convinced Schmitz has paid loving homages to. I couldn't help but be reminded of David Shire's incredible score for Return to Oz when listening to 'Violin Concerto: II. Warm (Romanza)'. The same piece also had a flavour of Dennis McCarthy's music for Star Trek: The Next Generation, especially the pilot episode 'Encounter at Farpoint'.

It's an emotionally draining collection of wonderfully engaging pieces. Each and every track has at least a handful of instantly memorable themes. If you're a collector of beautiful, uplifting music then you might just have discovered your new favourite album.


Darren Rea

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