Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt – What The Critics Said

“Schmidt-Isserstedt is the man for the job. His reading is strong, spacious and noble, and the symphony emerges at its full tragic stature. The playing and recording are in every way worthy of him.” The Times, August 1953 (Dvořák: Symphony No. 7)

“This well-engineered recording deserves repeated hearing.” The Times, March 1959 (Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4)

“Schmidt-Isserstedt partners Backhaus knowingly and the Vienna Philharmonic plays magnificently … That such a strong and virile reading should be the product of fingers that have been playing this work for 60 years and more is a remarkable tribute to the stamina and discipline of one of music’s elder statesmen.” Stereo Review, July 1960 (Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 5)

“Schmidt-Isserstedt and the Vienna Philharmonic supply a superb accompaniment … the pianist is now in his late seventies, but his pianistic powers seemingly are undimmed: he plays the G major Concerto with masterful clarity and freshness, and his technical equipment is prodigious.” Stereo Review, April 1962 (Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4)

“The playing has innigkeit, the sense of concentration that to my mind is the first essential in Beethoven.” Gramophone, September 1966 (Beethoven: Symphony No. 9)

“The performance has, above all, the great virtues of clarity and crackling tension, achieved through a sense of big line, some careful, crisp ensemble articulation and phrasing, and an attractive, clean, clear recorded sound.” Stereo Review, March 1967 (Beethoven: Symphony No. 9)

“I have no reservations about this performance; the scale and style seem just right.” Gramophone, September 1968 (Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 6)

“His Fifth, though golden-toned and mellow, is thoroughly galvanic. Tempos are militant but not rushed; phrasing is expansive yet direct and uncluttered.” High Fidelity, February 1970 (Beethoven: Symphony No. 5)

“First-class, musically penetrating performances, superbly played and wonderfully well recorded.” High Fidelity, February 1970 (Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2)

“Here is an absolute winner … a magnificent culmination to Schmidt-Isserstedt’s Beethoven symphony cycle.” Gramophone, May 1970 (Beethoven: Symphony No. 7)

“Long a classic … There is charm; there is excitement. Schmidt-Isserstedt cannot be faulted.” Gramophone, May 1970 (Dvořák: Symphony No. 7)

“Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt made the Vienna Philharmonic play in a civilised, sedate, intensely musical manner. Nothing is forced or ugly. Beethovenian, yes, gutty and articulate, but always with a full mellow tone, unstrenuous in its very strenuousness.” Gramophone, September 1977 (Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9)

“I loved Schmidt-Isserstedt’s patience, thoughtfulness and musicality.” Gramophone, August 2020 (Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5)

“Schmidt-Isserstedt’s perfectly chosen tempo for the Allegro of No. 39, his crisp handling of the minuets of both symphonies, his admirably Mozartian and unhurried speed in the finale of No.39, the light, dancing forte everywhere, are all a pleasure to hear.” Gramophone, August 1959 (Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 39 & 41)

“Susskind and Schmidt-Isserstedt have similar ideas about Schubert. They play him in healthy, outgoing fashion. Both of these performances are vigorous and lively … The orchestra plays well for both conductors, and the recording is bright and well-defined.” Stereo Review, December 1959 (Schubert)

“Schmidt-Isserstedt’s readings … would be very hard indeed to beat …They have all the positive musicianly virtues without which many an unaffected reading is merely dull … [an acquisition] you would be unlikely to regret, whatever rival versions appear in the course of time.” Gramophone, August 1960 (Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 39 & 41)

“In the slow movement, Szeryng and Schmidt-Isserstedt carry on a dialogue of increasing intensity, subsiding at the proper moment into a contemplative cadenza, and the finale, for once, has not been reduced to anticlimax by excessive drive in the first movement.” High Fidelity, February 1967 (Beethoven: Violin Concerto)

“A very fair account of a tuneful, charming, deftly written opera buffa … The singing is evenly excellent.” The Times, November 1973 (Mozart: Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe)

“A fit memorial to the art of the conductor … The cast has no weaknesses.” Opera, February 1974 (Mozart: Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe)

“Schmidt-Isserstedt sets out with a splendid tutti, strong and also tenderly expressed in its soft music. Then Brendel enters with exquisite gentleness … the performance itself is splendid.” Gramophone, February 1975 (Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1)

As one would expect from Schmidt-lsserstedt, the performance is one of leisurely majesty and unflagging interest.” Fanfare, March 1979 (Beethoven: Violin Concerto)

“This ‘Jupiter’, in particular, proves most distinguished, with crisp, bracing outer movements, a graceful Minuet, and a singing Andante. And equally significant is the exemplary textural clarity maintained throughout.” Fanfare, July 1979 (Symphonies Nos. 39 & 41)

[Haas’s] performance of the Ravel concerto emphasizes the French characteristics of delicacy and colour, rather than the strong jazz influence. She is beautifully backed up by Schmidt-lsserstedt in her approach.” Fanfare, May 2006 (Ravel: Piano Concerto in G)