Album: Franz Schmidt, The Book with Seven Seals – Kristjan Jarv (Chandos)

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The Independent Culture

Franz Schmidt's oratorio had its first performance in Vienna two months after the Anschluss, which is about as bad a launch as you can get.

It's been slow to emerge from under this cloud, despite its striking setting of the 'Book of Revelation', combining Baroque techniques with late-Romantic sensibility; the section with the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse has a Roger Corman-like over-the-top creepiness. Decently performed under conductor Kristjan Jarvi, with tenor Johannes Chum in a constant state of amazement as St John himself, the result is still a riveting listen, delivered in spacious sound.

Pick of the Album: Schmidt's electrifying 'Hallelujah Chorus'