DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Searching For The Key To Hindemith

By Norman Lebrecht on November 12, 2021

Paul Hindemith/Rudolf Wilhelm Heinisch, ca. 1950, Öl auf Hardboard, 70 x 90 cm (Creative Commons/Wikipedia)
Paul Hindemith/Rudolf Wilhelm Heinisch, ca. 1950, Öl auf Hardboard, 70 x 90 cm (Creative Commons/Wikipedia)

Paul Hindemith: Nusch-Nuschi-Tänze / Sancta Susanna / Symphony, “Mathis der Maler” (Naxos)

★★★★☆

🎧 Naxos 

Hindemith is a house without a door. The immensity of his output — 11 operas, 5 ballets, a dozen concertos, countless works for orchestra, lots of chamber music — is not just daunting but superficially impenetrable. The consistency is high and the differentiation difficult.

A German who fought in the First War, and was exiled by Hitler, Hindemith concerned himself with performance high and low, writing for major stages and domestic living rooms. When asked, “which Hindemith should I try first?” I’m lost for an answer.

The American conductor Marin Alsop is embracing Hindemith with great enthusiasm with her new symphony orchestra at Vienna Radio. Her first release, recorded last summer, consists of a fizzing Nusch-Nuschi Dance Suite and a devotional Sancta Susanna suite, both from 1921, allied to a 1933 symphony from the opera Mathis der Maler that got Hindemith into serious trouble with the Nazis.

The Sancta Susanna selections were new to me, and intriguing. Alternately sanctimonious and irreverent, there’s a high soprano part tossed off by Ausrine Stundyte that will leave you open-mouthed in wonder that anyone can get up there. Hindemith writes capably for voice without ever achieving the ease of, say, a Strauss or a Weill. His dramatic impact is also a few rungs below explosive.

The Mathis symphony is well known from reference recordings by Furtwängler, Bernstein, Abbado and the composer himself. Alsop brings fresh energy and a few new angles, persuasive rather than overpowering. On hearing the symphony, I always feel grateful to have been saved from an evening of stasis at the opera.

Hindemith: Clarinet Concerto, Clarinet Quartet & Clarinet Sonata (Orfeo)

★★★☆☆

🎧 Apple Music

Sharon Kam blows the 1947 clarinet concerto with far more skill than it requires. Benny Goodman was the commissioning soloist, and Hindemith was less attuned to his style than Stravinsky, Bartok and Copland, who wrote signature pieces. Hindemith takes in all of Goodman’s limitations and none of his character, as if he were writing for a principal clarinet back home in Frankfurt-am-Main (which supplies the orchestra on this recording).

The 20 minutes pass without breathtaking incident. I prefer the two chamber pieces that fill out the album. The key to Hindemith? Maybe it’s the Angel movement of his Mathis symphony, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it.

To read more from Norman Lebrecht, subscribe to Slippedisc.com.

#LUDWIGVAN

Get the daily arts news straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the Ludwig van Daily — classical music and opera in five minutes or less HERE.

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | National Ballet’s The Nutcracker Principal Casting Announced

By Michael Vincent on November 25, 2021

The National Ballet of Canada announced the principal casting for the anticipated return to the stage of The Nutcracker December 10 to December 31, 2021.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

THE SCOOP | Ontario Scammers Looking To Enter Events With Fake Vaccine Passports

By Anya Wassenberg on November 10, 2021

According to recent reports, the pandemic has spawned a new industry: fake vaccine passports.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

THE SCOOP | Canada’s First Opera Hackathon Combines Opera And High Tech

By Anya Wassenberg on November 4, 2021

What happens when you put opera artists, indie gamers, and tech experts together for four days?
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.