David Theodor Schmidt and the art of transcription

For his fourth CD recorded on a C. Bechstein concert grand piano (Profil – Günter Hänssler PH14005), David Theodor Schmidt chose mainly transcriptions by Ferruccio Busoni of works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Johannes Brahms. While the Bach transcriptions are quite famous (Chaconne, Toccata, Adagio, Fugue BWV 564 and five choral preludes: Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme; Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland; Nun freut euch, lieben Christen gmein; Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ; In Dir ist Freude), those of works by Brahms are true discoveries. As a result, Schmidt’s new CD is a jewel of piano music.

This recording is an homage to Busoni, who died ninety years ago on 27 July 1924. The fact that Schmidt chose a C. Bechstein concert grand piano is easy to understand, as the great Italian musician already had an instrument of this renowned brand in his Berlin music room. Brahms, who performed during the inaugural concert given at Berlin’s Bechstein Hall in 1892, also favoured Bechstein pianos.

Unlike the many pianists with short-lived success that are constantly arriving on the music scene, David Theodor Schmidt pursues a quiet career and demonstrates his talent with every new recording. He excels in respecting the original while interpreting it with a personal touch. In the best German tradition of piano playing, Schmidt interprets transcriptions without trying to achieve virtuosity, but with much finesse, great sensibility and an analytical approach.

It is interesting to note that Bach’s aria Schafe können sicher weiden, which Schmidt recorded on his new CD after a transcription by Egon Petri (a pupil of Busoni), also exists in a transcription by Dinu Lipatti that Luiza Borac recorded… also on a C. Bechstein grand piano!

David Theodor Schmidt recorded this CD in December 2013 on the C. Bechstein D 282 grand at the Berlin-Britz manor. Concert technician Torben Garlin prepared this wonderful instrument, while Holger Siedler was entrusted with sound engineering.

Talking about this CD, Jürgen Seeger stated on BR Klassik: “It truly reveals a great, mature pianist who, without any swaggering, excels in getting all the depth and beauty from his instrument. Busoni’s transcriptions have found an ideal interpreter with David Theodor Schmidt."