HumanitiesWeb.org - Gebrauchsmusik - The Useful Music of Paul Hindemith [Recommended Recordings]
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26 June, 2013

Paul Hindemith
Recommended Recordings



"Tonality is a natural force, like gravity."

Hindemith: Complete Orchestral Works
(Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, et al; Werner Andreas Albert, conductor)
Hindemith was the greatest German composer of the post-War period, and the last in that great line that began with Bach and extended through the Classical and Romantic periods. His orchestral music is varied and generally extremely approachable, and the percentage of major works is very high. Nobilissima visione, Symphonic Metamorphoses, Mathis der Maler, Symphony in E-flat, and Concert Music for Strings and Brass are all popular masterpieces, while works such as the Symphonic Dances, Symphonia Serena, and Harmony of the World Symphony deserve the same accolades. This set, excellently performed and recorded by a selection of fine Australian orchestras, really deserves the widest circulation among fans of listenable contemporary classical music. (review by David Hurwitz)

Hindemith: Complete Orchestral Works Vol 2
(Siegfried Mouser, David Geringas; Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra Members, et al; Werner Andreas Albert, conductor )
For the last decade or so, CPO has been the only label of note to advocate the music of Paul Hindemith (1885-1963). Not only have they gone about this advocacy with great enthusiasm, they've also sought out some of Hindemith's lesser-known works. And while Volume I contains Hindemith's clear masterpieces, Volume II shines with its own gems. Most notable among the major works in this set are The Four Temperaments (1940) and the Piano Concerto (1945), both clear Romantic masterpieces and both excellently performed. Of the lesser-known works, the best are the suites from the ballets, Der Damon (1922) and Herodiade (1944). Also in Volume II are the complete cello concertos, which contain some of Hindemith's moodiest writing. The sound quality in all five discs is warm and focused with the exception of disc two, which contains somewhat muted recordings of Kammermusik No. 2 and Konzertmusik. This is a minor complaint, however. Hindemith fans will want this collection if they don't already have any of these five previously released discs. (review by Paul Cook)

Hindemith: Complete String Quartets
(Kocian String Quartet)


Hindemith: Sonatas for Viola
(Kim Kashkashian, Robert Levin)
The viola was Hindemith's instrument (though he could play almost any), and he wrote some of his most expressive chamber music for it. This two-disc set includes all four of Hindemith's sonatas for solo violin and the three for viola and piano. I prefer the wildness of Hindemith's earlier music to the sometimes arid calm of his later music, so listeners like myself who like Hindemith can have a feast here as most of these are early works. They are played with energy and passion by an outstanding violist and a fine pianist. (review by Leslie Gerber)

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