Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Violin Concerto Op.35, Wiener Philharmoniker, Benjamin Schmid, Seiji Ozawa

+ Suite op.23 Ensemble Benjamin Schmid



Title: "the Ten Best, Great Music Moments" by Götz Thieme, ten selected CDs. With

Maria Callas,  David Oistrakh, Svatoslav Richter,Fritz Busch Wilhelm Furtwängler Benjamin Schmid with Seiji Ozawa and others

A violinist in a frenzy

At the Salzburg Festival 2004

Everything came together at a matinee in the large Festspielhaus on July 24 at 11 a.m.: a work, a violinist who perhaps played the concerto of his life that morning, an orchestra deeply rooted in tradition and a conductor who brought everything together in his hands. Erich Wolfgang Korn-gold's Violin Concerto in D major op. 35, the Austrian violinist Benjamin Schmid, born in 1968, the Vienna Philharmonic and Seiji Ozawa merged into a unity, a shimmering golden stream of Viennese nostalgia and Hollywood attack. From the first notes of the solo violin soaring up the G string, the listener holds his breath, sensing that something great is about to begin. No, Benjamin Schmid is no Jascha Heifetz (who is?), who has established the concerto on the podium, whose recordings, one in the studio, one live, the Korngold fan should have heard. But Schmid performs with a concentrated, singing, very powerful tone, clean as a whistle even in the highest registers. It is so nerve-wracking that the audience cannot help but burst into applause after the first movement. That's what you call a great moment.

Korngold: Violin Concerto; Benjamin

Schmid, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Seiji

Ozawa (Großes Festspielhaus, Salzburg,

24. Juli 2004); Oehms



Strad Magazine, March 2006:

„THE STRAD SELECTION“ (Concerto CD of the month)

“Even bearing in mind distinguished recorded versions of  Korngold´s swashbuckling Violin Concerto from Perlman, Shaham, Mutter and, most especially, Heifetz, this new account from Benjamin Schmid is really very special. Recorded live at the Salzburg Summer Festival in 2004, Schmid mesmerises from his very first entry, shaping phrases with a skin-rippling sensitivity to send the spirits soaring. His golden tone, immaculate intonation, faultless technique and total identification with this magical score are truly things of wonder.

The acrobatics of the finale hold no terrors for Schmid, who bestrides all hurdles with the nonchalance of a youthful Errol Flynn. Ozawa and the Vienna Philharmonic follow him every inch of the way with playing of enormous excitement and ravishing tonal splendour, and the engineering is both sumptuous and full-bodied to match. A violin classic.”


The Gramophone Magazine, July 2006:

Austrian virtuoso Benjamin Schmid has been winning golden plaudits, especially on the continent, and this terrific live Salzburg Festival performance of   Korngold`s  Violin Concerto demonstrates why. Not only does he generate a spine-tingling rapport with Seiji Ozawa and the Vienna Philharmonic but his playing, brimful of elegance, affectionate warmth and temperament, betokens a very real empathy with this gorgeous score.

One readily forgives any tiny slips along the way, given the big-hearted dedication, spontaneity and palpable sense of occasion that leap out of the speakers. The audience were understandably enthralled, too- so much so that their enthusiastic applause at the end of the first movement seems to take Schmid by surprise (he takes a few bars to settle at the start of the slow movement). Otherwise, it´s a genuine `tingle fest` from start to finish: the opening Moderato nobile is ideally glowing and heartfelt, the slow movement has exactly the right blend of innocence, intimacy and tenderness, while the boisterous finale is imbued with a wicked sense of fun. In all of this, I should reiterate, Ozawa and the VPO play their full part; indeed, I´m  not sure I´ve encountered a more sheerly enjoyable account of the work since the great Jascha Heifetz´s, which is certainly saying something.


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 8.3.2006:

 Umso verdienstvoller ist dieses Portrait des unbekannten Korngold von den Salzburger Festspielen 2004, und am beeindruckensten gerät das Violinkonzert:

Mit seinem nervös-schlanken Ton fächert der Salzburger Benjamin Schmid auf so aufreizende wie bestechende Weise die schwere Süsse einer bis zum Zerreissen gespannten Spätromantik auf, in  der Schönbergs Lösung  als Möglichkeit sehr wohl mitschwingt, jedoch gerade noch diesseits der atonalen Grenze bleibt.


 „Die Wr. Philharmoniker, Schmid und Ozawa eröffneten die Festspiele mit einer Ehrenrettung E. W. Korngolds“.

(Die Presse, W. Sinkovicz)


„Gediegener kann man das Korngold-Konzert nicht spielen. Nícht klangschöner, nicht (auf)reizender, aber auch nicht vielsagender in der Solostimme“.

(OÖ Nachrichten)


„Bis ins Letzte kontrolliert das Violinkonzert von E. W. Korngold, bei dem der Geiger Benjamin Schmid zu verstehen gab, daß er das Zeug zu einer großen Laufbahn hat“

(Neue Zürcher Zeitung, P. Hagmann)


„Schmid bestand sein Philharmoniker-Debut mehr als bravourös: keine Schikane ist ihm zu schwer, keine Phrase zu leicht, um sie nicht mit seinem ungemein variantenreichen Ton zu veredeln“

(Salzburger Nachrichten, K. Harb)


 „Schmid, traf mit feinem Ton den zart-melancholischen Charakter der Romanze mit ihren Piano-Schattierungen überzeugend“

(Münchner Merkur, G. Luster)


 „Schmid zeigte sich auf lichter Höhe: Bombensicher auf dem schmalen Grat zwischen triefender Sentimentalität und echter Gefühlsmusik unterwegs, traf er

den überzeugenden Tonfall, der die Kunst von der Kunstfertigkeit unterscheidet“

(Salzburger Volkszeitung, E. Strobl)


„Wir begrüssen ihn als Könner in der Liga der führenden Geiger seiner Generation“

(Der Standard,  P. Cossé)


„Schmid musizierte ausgewogen, anmutig, mit Eleganz und Leichtigkeit“

(Kronen Zeitung, K. Roschitz)