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The Complete Hindemith Viola Music, Vol. 1: Viola Sonatas

Album Summary

>Hindemith, Paul : Sonata for viola & piano in C major
>Hindemith, Paul : Sonata for Viola and Piano in F major, Op. 11 no 4
>Hindemith, Paul : Sonata for viola & piano, Op. 25/4
>Hindemith, Paul : Nobilissima visione, ballet suite for orchestra
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

British violist Lawrence Power turns his attention to an incalculably important body of work for the instrument: a complete survey of Hindemith's music for viola. Volume one features the Sonata in F major Opus 11 No.4, a graceful and charming work that may surprise those who are only aware of Hindemith's place in the European avant-garde. The Sonata Opus 25 No.4, written only three years later, shows the rapid development of Hindemith's style. It is a lean, rhythmically driven work in which the piano plays an unusually prominent role. Also included on the disc are two later works, the Sonata of 1939 and the Meditation from Nobilissima visione from 1938.

'Not since the days of William Primrose have I heard Hindemith's viola music played with such warmth and conviction' (Gramophone)

'Some of Hindemith's most haunting tunes went into his viola music ... This is the first volume of a projected and very welcome series devoted to the viola works of a composer who played the instrument himself and wrote prolifically for it ... [Sonata no 4] gives Power a chance to show off the gorgeously smooth tone of his 400-year-old instrument ... Power's acute sense of phrasing makes for an eloquent and elegiac 'Meditation' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Both players have the measure of this music, both technically and musically. They offer more verve and variety of both tone and musical approach than Kim Kashkashian and Robert Levin for ECM ... All in all, these are excellent, well-recorded performances of these fine works, brooding and turbulent in the best traditions of the early twentieth century' (International Record Review)

'Power plays with his piercing intelligence of tone; Crawford-Phillips' pianism is quick with life' (The Sunday Times)

'All the performances are superb, with Lawrence Power lavishing all the richness of his velvety tone and generous phrasing on some of the most striking melodic ideas that Hindemith ever produced' (The Guardian)

'Power and Crawford-Phillips discover more in the music than has been revealed to us in the past... vital performances' (Fanfare, USA)

BBC Music Magazine
The 1939 Sonata that opens this disc... receives a decisive performance from Lawrence Power and Simon Crawford-Phillips. The Sonata Op. 11 No. 4, dating from 1919, is written in Hindemith's early, Brahms-with-chromatic-twists style; it gives Power a chance to show off the gorgeously smooth tone of his 400-year-old instrument. ...the Sonata Op. 25 No. 4 features an uncharacteristically Bartókian finale and a big piano part that Crawford-Phillips... seizes gratefully. Power's acute sense of phrasing makes for an eloquent and elegiac Meditation...

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Paul Hindemith isn't exactly the first composer you think of when the term 'hit tune' is mentioned but the opening Fantasie of his F major Viola Sonata (Op 11 No 4) of 1919 comes pretty close to providing one, especially as 'sung' by viola-player Lawrence Power. 'Might almost be by Brahms... ' says Malcolm MacDonald in a typically persuasive and informative booklet note, which is surely true. The finale is a fairly assertive mood-breaker, pianist Simon Crawford- Phillips marking a dramatic contrast in tempo and colour (now this really does sound like 'updated' Brahms). The grittier Sonata of 1939 also includes a Phantasie, placed third in the structure rather than first. This is the Hindemith of the Mathis der Maler Symphony, purposeful music, square-jawed, angular, confident and assertive, though with more fanciful elements too - especially in the finale, which at times is both playful and delicate.

Macdonald notes the possible influence of Bartók on the Sonata Op 25 No 4 (1922), which seems a justified claim. This is another strong piece, more percussive than the 1939 Sonata, with a desolate but heart-rending slow movement that is savagely interrupted by the finale's aggressive arrival. The CD (Vol 1 of 'The Complete Hindemith Viola Music' is what it's called), which is superbly recorded, is completed with a sensitive performance of the serene Meditation from Nobilissima visione in Hindemith's own arrangement for viola and piano. As to the performances, not since the days of William Primrose has Hindemith's viola music been played with such warmth and conviction. A 100 per cent success story.



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Works Details

>Hindemith, Paul : Sonata for viola & piano in C major
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (04/25/2008-04/27/2008)
  • Running Time: 22 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1939

>Hindemith, Paul : Sonata for Viola and Piano in F major, Op. 11 no 4
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (04/25/2008-04/27/2008)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1919

>Hindemith, Paul : Sonata for viola & piano, Op. 25/4
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (04/25/2008-04/27/2008)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1922

>Hindemith, Paul : Nobilissima visione, ballet suite for orchestra :: Meditation (sehr langsam)
  • Performers: Simon Crawford-Phillips (Piano); Lawrence Power (Viola)
  • Notes: Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth (04/25/2008-04/27/2008)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1939