Author Topic: Hindemith's Harmonie  (Read 49026 times)

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Greta

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Hindemith's Harmonie
« on: March 21, 2008, 08:38:29 PM »
Well, I went looking for a thread like this and found there wasn't one, so hence!

The requisite bio (with a funny picture): http://www.naxos.com/composerinfo/bio23323.htm

The very excellent official Hindemith site: http://www.hindemith.org/E/summary.htm

The great 20th century German composer, Paul Hindemith (1963), other fans? What are your favorite works?

I never knew his work that well, despite liking what I had heard, until the last year. One of my favorite music professors once named Hindemith as his very favorite composer, which made me curious to explore his music, and I have found that I really love most everything I've gotten to know so far.

For some reason, I identify strongly with his writing and find it harmonically fascinating, it strikes me as having a nobility and fluidity that seems to be quite particular to him.

Favorite Pieces:

The Four Temperaments, Mathis Der Maler Symphony, Symphony in Bb for band, Konzertmusik for brass and strings


I am getting into the Symphonic Metamorphosis too recently, it took a few listens but I am liking it more and more. The Turandot movement is wild!

And the String Quartets, they are amazing.  :D

Recommendations of other works to hear? His output is huge...

Offline The new erato

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2008, 12:44:35 AM »
Well here's a long time fan. I agree on your selected works and think the String Quartets in particular are very valuable (especially no 4 ) .

Add the wonderful set of "Kammermusiken" (Chailly) and the operas (Cardillac on DVD with Nagano is superb, though I love his one act operas as well) and you're set to go.

BTW don't miss the piano set Ludus Tonalis, and MDG has a wonderful set of his small scale sonatas for a relly assorted set of instruments (8 CDs worth  of it).

Go girl!


Offline Norbeone

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2008, 07:18:06 AM »
I've really liked everything i've heard of him, though it's not much. His Piano Sonatas No.2 and 3 are great, as are some of hiss brass sonatas, though I can't remember which ones I liked so much. There's also a great piece for string orchestra I heard live, though I can't even remember that title either lol. Great help, aren't I?   ;)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2008, 08:02:28 AM »
Hindemith is one of my favourite composers and I think that I have virtually everything he wrote for the orchestra on disc. To the extent that one can obtain his music on CD he has been most fortunate but his music is grievously underplayed in the concert hall. He is one of those composers whose star went into eclipse after his death in 1963. Nor was he helped by the fact that German music post war tended to put more emphasis on the avant-garde. Hindemith's music by the late 1950s and 1960s was regarded as ultra-conservative.

The German record label CPO did a wonderful job in putting most of Hindemith's music on disc with different Australian and German radio orchestras conducted by the enterprising Werner Andreas Albert. Individually there are greater interpretations/performances of individual pieces but the CPO box sets are a convenient way to assemble a Hindemith collection!

"nobility and fluidity"(Greta) is an excellent description of so much of Hindemith's music. He wrote a lot and some people have accused him of a lack of development over time. I suspect however that the trouble is that they don't actually take the time to listen to music which increasingly rewards with repeated listenings.

In addition to the works mentioned I would instance-

the other Symphonies-Symphony "Harmonie der Welt", Symphony in E flat, Sinfonia Serena and the Pittsburgh Symphony-each of which is an immensely rewarding work.

the extremely attractive and beautiful concertos-for Violin, Cello, Piano and Horn

the delightful Symphonic Dances

and the moving Requiem "Where Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd"

There is a lot of Hindemith to discover but huge amounts of pleasure to be obtained in the journey!

Offline The new erato

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2008, 08:10:51 AM »


and the moving Requiem "Where Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd"
How could I forget that!   >:(

On Whitman texts for the burial of Lincoln, written for Roosevelts burial IIRC. A most moving Requiem.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2008, 08:30:57 AM »
How could I forget that!   >:(

On Whitman texts for the burial of Lincoln, written for Roosevelts burial IIRC. A most moving Requiem.

The Requiem was dedicated to the memory of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was commissioned by Robert Shaw and the Collegiate Chorale three weeks after Roosevelt's death in April 1945. Hindemith did not actually start work on the Requiem until February 1946. The first performance was on May 14, 1946 in New York with Robert Shaw conducting. The version I have is the Telarc recording made 40 years later again with Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Roger Sessions set the same Whitman poem in his cantata of 1971.

Mark G. Simon

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2008, 08:40:46 AM »
Hindemith's music often lacks the "sex appeal" of other 20th century composers. It doesn't have the color of Stravinsky or Prokofiev, or the neuroses of Schoenberg and Berg, or the esoteric fascination of Webern. It doesn't go for extremes. But when you take it on its own terms it so often proves extremely satisfying.

I always thought "who the heck would want to write a concerto for trumpet and bassoon?", but I heard a performance of Hindemith's concerto for these two instruments a couple years ago, and it was wonderfully imaginative, complex and very fascinating music. Bravo Hindemith, and Bravo the orchestra that did such a fine job of playing it (the  Cayuga Chamber Orchestra in Ithaca, New York)

Offline The new erato

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2008, 08:41:49 AM »


Roger Sessions set the same Whitman poem in his cantata of 1971.
I've always wondered about this work. Anybody heard it?

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2008, 08:54:34 AM »
I've always wondered about this work. Anybody heard it?

I am listening to it again now! New World Records-Boston Symphony Orchestra/Seji Ozawa(1977).

Often quoted as one of Sessions's finest works and, no doubt, an imaginative setting of Whitman's verse but, I am afraid, that the composer's idiom is really not to my taste. I can recognise individual moments of beauty but the overall impression remains just too 'tough' for my ears.

Others will undoubtedly respond better to the music!

karlhenning

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2008, 09:53:04 AM »
Favorite Pieces:

The Four Temperaments, Mathis Der Maler Symphony, Symphony in Bb for band, Konzertmusik for brass and strings


I am getting into the Symphonic Metamorphosis too recently, it took a few listens but I am liking it more and more. The Turandot movement is wild!

And the String Quartets, they are amazing.  :D

Recommendations of other works to hear? His output is huge...

erato has already recommended the Chailly set of the Kammermusiken.  I've always really liked Der Schwanendreher, which is a viola concerto in all but name.  It was many years before I chased down a recording of it, but I also very much like the brass-harps-&-solo-piano Konzertmusik.

Offline Guido

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2008, 11:50:37 AM »
Concert Music for Brass and Strings, The Four Temperaments and the cello concerto of 1940 are three of my all time favourite pieces of music. It was in fact playing his Kleine Sonata for cello and piano that made me truly love music. His neglect in the concert hall is utterly criminal especially when there are so many works by him that are absolutely brillaint and would have very widespread appeal if they were given half the chance (notably the three mentioned above). The Kammermusik series is also brilliant, I obviously know the cello one best, but they are all terrific works.
Geologist.

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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2008, 12:48:24 PM »
Don't know how I could have forgotten that lovely piece the Ballet Suite 'Nobilissima Visione'-a quite superb work of real visionary grandeur!

Doubtless Hindemith was not an innovative pioneer of the class of Bartok or Stravinsky, nor is his music of such immediate colour of, say, Prokofiev but I would certainly set him above, say, Martinu as a composer who continued to use a tonal base to construct music of sincerity and integrity. His music repays study. It is-in my opinion-an impressive body of work which gives much pleasure and deserves more exposure.

Greta

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2008, 11:24:37 PM »
I've really liked everything i've heard of him, though it's not much. His Piano Sonatas No.2 and 3 are great, as are some of hiss brass sonatas, though I can't remember which ones I liked so much. There's also a great piece for string orchestra I heard live, though I can't even remember that title either lol. Great help, aren't I?   ;)

I forgot about the piano sonatas! Those I do have with Gould, I haven't ever really dug into them yet though.

I have heard his Trumpet Sonata live before at a recital, it is a lovely and interesting piece. Another fun piece to look up sometime is his Konzertstuck for two alto saxophones, excellent. The two players are very equal in the writing and is great the way the lines play off each other. I always wanted to perform it but it never worked out, both parts are not easy!


Quote from: guido
Concert Music for Brass and Strings, The Four Temperaments and the cello concerto of 1940 are three of my all time favourite pieces of music.

I have not heard the Cello Concerto yet!  :D I think The Four Temperaments and Mathis der Maler have got to be two of my favorite discoveries this year, the more I listen to them the more I have found to like!  For some reason, the "Sanguine" waltz movement has become probably my favorite bit of Hindemith of all right now.

Quote from: Dundonnell
His music repays study. It is-in my opinion-an impressive body of work which gives much pleasure and deserves more exposure.

Absolutely. His music sounds rather straightforward, even simple on first ear - but with more listens and study it reveals itself to be full of subtleties that make the music extremely rewarding to delve into.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2008, 06:28:22 AM »
Looking through the list of compositions on the Hindemith website I discovered his big Oratorio "Das Unaufhorliche"(1931).

I had never heard of this work before but, apparently, it has been recorded by Lothar Zagrosek on Wergo. Anyone ever heard it-or, indeed, heard of it??

Offline The new erato

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2008, 06:36:41 AM »
Looking through the list of compositions on the Hindemith website I discovered his big Oratorio "Das Unaufhorliche"(1931).

I had never heard of this work before but, apparently, it has been recorded by Lothar Zagrosek on Wergo. Anyone ever heard it-or, indeed, heard of it??
It was performed IIRC correctly in Norway (somewhere) last year, probably Oslo. So, I've heard OF it. Reputedly massive stuff.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2008, 06:42:43 AM »
It was performed IIRC correctly in Norway (somewhere) last year, probably Oslo. So, I've heard OF it. Reputedly massive stuff.

I am very tempted to order the 2 CD set to find out! (Who am I kidding? of course I will!!!)

Offline The new erato

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2008, 06:52:09 AM »
Could you please provide a link to the Hindemith website?

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2008, 07:01:18 AM »
Could you please provide a link to the Hindemith website?

http://www.hindemith.org/

Offline The new erato

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2008, 07:12:35 AM »

Offline drogulus

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Re: Hindemith's Harmonie
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2008, 07:13:22 AM »
   The Trauermusik was composed in a few hours for the funeral of George VI.

    It's available with the Mathis der Maler symphony on the excellent Blomstedt/SFSO disc.

    Since this isn't a Youtube thread, I'll just link to these:

    Hindemith conducting Concert Music for Strings and Brass

    Trauermusik
« Last Edit: March 23, 2008, 07:22:12 AM by drogulus »
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