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Hindemith: The Complete Piano Concertos / Idil Biret, piano

Album Summary

>Hindemith, Paul : Konzertmusik for piano, 10 brass instruments & 2 harps, Op. 49
>Hindemith, Paul : Theme with Four Variations. The Four Temperaments, ballet for piano & strings
>Hindemith, Paul : Concerto for Piano for the Left Hand, Op. 29
>Hindemith, Paul : Kammermusik no 2, for piano & 12 instruments, Op. 36/1
>Hindemith, Paul : Piano Concerto
Performers Conductor Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Hindemith wrote much varied music for the piano with orchestral accompaniment. He intended his Theme with Four Variations (The Four Temperaments) as an experimental ballet, and it was first performed in this way in 1946 with choreography by George Balanchine. The manuscript of the Piano Music with Orchestra was found amongst pianist Paul Wittgenstein's papers after his wife's death in 2001. The Concerto for Piano and Orchestra is astutely conceived, whilst the Concert Music for Piano, Brass and Two Harps reveals Hindemith's constant search for varied sound color in his instrumentation.

American Record Guide, March/April 2014
The orchestral sound is nuanced, the brass playing is particularly striking. Idil Biret's playing is incisive and confident, generally exceptionally secure. In fact, it felt appropriate to the musical character at those moments, and may well have been an artistic decision. The earlier entries here testify to the exuberant musical spirit of the younger Hindemith: a lively, almost frantic, circus quality often reigns. Intimate, elegiac, lyrical moments are also to be found (of particular note are III of the Piano Music with Orchestra, and II of the Chamber Music No. 2). The later works demonstrate a more sophisticated harmonic and contrapuntal language and a more taut, concise approach to musical form. Recorded at Yale's Woolsey Hall, the sound is warm and resonant, the recording quality quite high.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Woolsey Hall of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (2012-02-??&2012-12-??&2013-).



Reviews

Uneasy but emotionally thought provoking music
The music of Paul Hindemith is always a bit of an adventure for me. As a contemporary composer, his works are typically not as pleasantly melodic as I tend to gravitate toward, although I always find something interesting about that sits in the back of my head with a “you’ve really got to figure this out…” tag associated with it.

This 2 disc recording of Hindemith’s complete piano concertos, featuring Idil Biret (pf) and the Yale Symphony Orchestra, is no exception. The music is of varying contrasting styles, and easily changes from the more traditional melodic to the slightly diatonic and uneasily contrasting, then back again. Interesting (albeit strange to listen to without a little background) is the “Piano Music with Orchestra for Piano Left Hand, Op. 29”, composed in 1923 for a commission for a pianist that had lost his right arm in war time. I frequently felt that the pieces had a Shostakovich-like sarcastic quality mixed with gentle melodies and compositional technical experiments that would be of interest to the professional music student but not necessarily to the traditional music listener.

That being said, this set will take me more than a few hearings to come to terms with how I really feel about it. Ms. Biret does her usual thorough good job performing difficult repertoire, and Toshiyuki Shimada does a fine job conducting the Yale Symphony Orchestra. However, the pieces themselves left this listener with a sense of emotional unease, as if something is painfully not finished although it has indeed ended – which may, in fact, be the point in some cases. In any event, this is a well produced recording of these not often heard works and certainly belongs in the catalog of either the Hindemith fan or the contemporary music aficionado.

Submitted on 01/01/14 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Hindemith, Paul : Konzertmusik for piano, 10 brass instruments & 2 harps, Op. 49
  • Performers: Olivia Coates (Harp); Chelsea Lane (Harp); Idil Biret (Piano)
  • Conductor: Toshiyuki Shimada
  • Ensemble: Yale Symphony Orchestra
  • Notes: Woolsey Hall of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA (2012-02-??&2012-12-??&2013-)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1930

>Hindemith, Paul : Theme with Four Variations. The Four Temperaments, ballet for piano & strings
  • Performer: Idil Biret (Piano)
  • Conductor: Toshiyuki Shimada
  • Notes: Woolsey Hall of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA (2012-02-??&2012-12-??&2013-)
  • Running Time: 30 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1940

>Hindemith, Paul : Concerto for Piano for the Left Hand, Op. 29
  • Performer: Idil Biret (Piano)
  • Conductor: Toshiyuki Shimada
  • Notes: Woolsey Hall of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA (2012-02-??&2012-12-??&2013-)
  • Running Time: 19 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1923

>Hindemith, Paul : Kammermusik no 2, for piano & 12 instruments, Op. 36/1
  • Performer: Idil Biret (Piano)
  • Conductor: Toshiyuki Shimada
  • Notes: Woolsey Hall of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA (2012-02-??&2012-12-??&2013-)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1924

>Hindemith, Paul : Piano Concerto
  • Performer: Idil Biret (Piano)
  • Conductor: Toshiyuki Shimada
  • Notes: Woolsey Hall of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA (2012-02-??&2012-12-??&2013-)
  • Running Time: 32 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1945