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Hindemith: Nobilissima Visione; Five Pieces for String Orchestra / Ko-ichiro Yamamoto, trombone; Emma McGrath, violin; Seattle Sym., Schwarz

Album Summary

>Hindemith, Paul : Nobilissima visione, dance legend in 6 scenes
>Hindemith, Paul : School Work for Instrumental Ensemble Playing, "music for use" for instruments, Op. 44
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Sunday Times, 27th July 2014
It's vintage Hindemith, very much in the spiritual vein of his opera Mathis der Maler, but as ever displaying his mastery of instrumentation, texture and orchestral drama. Schwarz's Seattle players will delight Hindemithians.

BBC Music Magazine, October 2014
Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony prove ideal exponents, capturing the essence of the music in a searing performance, and making the Five Pieces - despite their pedagogical origin - more than a mere filler.

Gramophone Magazine, October 2014
What appeals here is that Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony play it as a theatre score, so the familiar episodes from the concert suite...sound quite different played by a smaller band in context...overall one is surprised by how much invention is in the music Hindemith left out of the suite.

American Record Guide, November/December 2014
This a recording of Paul Hindemith's complete ballet, Nobillissima Visione from 1938. Naxos claims it is the first recording of the ballet. The last and most difficult of the set is Five Pieces in the First Position for String Orchestra (1927). The pieces alternate Hindemith's mellow slow movements with faster "sewing machine" passages, typical of the composer and better music than that term suggests.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall-Benaroya Hall, Seat (05/2011).


A beautiful recording
The 1936 ballet "Nobilissima Visione" is the story of St. Francis. Hindemith crafted the music from folk songs, and combined them with the same rich spiritual language he used for his opera "Mathus der Maler" (completed just a year before). "Nobilissima Visione" paints each scene in vivid orchestral colors, and Hindemith effectively conjures up a quasi-medieval world with a distinctively modern orchestra.

Also included is the instructional work "Five Pieces for String Orchestra, Op. 44, No. 4" Hindemith wrote it for beginning and intermediate string players, but one would never know it just by listening to the work. While keeping the technical demands simple, Hindemith creates a varied collection of movements of truly substantial music.

The Seattle Symphony is in fine form on this album. Directed by Gerard Schwarz, the orchestra seems to relish the finely-wrought textures of the scores, sometimes seeming to linger over especially luscious passages. The ensemble is tight throughout both works, and the string sound is gorgeously expansive, especially in the "Five Pieces." If you like Hindemith's "Mathus der Maler" symphony, or "The Four Temperaments," you'll find much to enjoy in this release.
Submitted on 07/31/14 by RGraves321 
A Dramatic Choreographic Interpretation?
The 3 movement suite from Nobilissima Visione is unquestionably a concert staple and has been well represented on disc. We are now confronted with a recording of the complete ballet from which the suite is drawn, nearly 45 minutes worth of material comprising 11 numbers. This is billed as the premiere recording of the complete ballet. In fact, there was a recording with the Bamberg Symphony conducted by Karl Anton Von Rickenbacher released in the mid 1990’s on the Koch/Schwann label, presently deleted. You may well ask if the balance of this score has languished in obscurity for good reason. Is the material in any way substandard or simply uninspired? The answer is hardly. The music is well constructed, colorfully orchestrated and always engaging. Hindemith utilizes the 13th century French song, “Ce fut en mai” (It was in May) as an effective unifying device in a score exhibiting much variety in the manner of mood, form and texture. Massine, the famous ballet impresario, once posited that this work was not really a ballet at all, but in fact a “dramatic choreographic interpretation”. However you choose to describe the piece, we should be extremely grateful to Maestro Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony for making possible this major addition to the Hindemith literature. Opus 44 has been recorded several times previously. Its original intent was to methodically expose young string players to increasingly difficult material. The five movements do just that but in the process they transcend their didactic origin in terms of motivic and rhythmic ideas. As expected, they are expertly rendered as well. The sound is quite open and life-like throughout. Excellent liner notes top off this important release.

Submitted on 09/19/14 by Allen Cohen 
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Works Details

>Hindemith, Paul : Nobilissima visione, dance legend in 6 scenes
  • Performer: Ko-ichiro Yamamoto (Trombone)
  • Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
  • Ensemble: Seattle Symphony
  • Notes: Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall-Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Washington, USA (2011-05-04&2011-05-05&2011-)
  • Running Time: 41 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1938

>Hindemith, Paul : School Work for Instrumental Ensemble Playing, "music for use" for instruments, Op. 44
  • Performer: Emma McGrath (Violin)
  • Conductor: Gerard Schwarz
  • Ensemble: Seattle Symphony
  • Running Time: 3 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1927