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Cat. No. CHAN 9903 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9903 - Hindemith: Violin Concerto
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Available From: 17 April 2001
Throughout the 1920s Paul Hindemith was associated with an aggressively unsentimental variety of neoclassicism, one that returned to the baroque idea of music as a craft, supplied for practical purposes. In the following decade, however, Hindemith felt the urge to compose music of strong expressive content, reasserting traditional humane values in an age increasingly dominated by totalitarianism. The three works recorded here exemplify this change of stance. Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Op. 50, commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky for the fiftieth anniversary season of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was completed in Berlin on 27 December 1930. It concludes the group of works which Hindemith called Konzertmusik (Concert Music), reflecting his mid-1920s preference for austere, abstract, utilitarian-sounding designations. By the time Hindemith came to compose his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in late 1939 he was an exile from Nazi Germany, living in Switzerland. This is one of the most directly emotional, indeed frankly passionate, of Hindemith’s later compositions. We may easily relate it to the period of its composition: one of personal upheaval for the composer, in the opening months of a new World War. Although intended for a German premiere the first performance was eventually given in Amsterdam on 14 March 1940. While composing this concerto Hindemith was discussing ballet projects with the choreographer Leonid Massine, one of which was to be based on the music of Carl Maria von Weber. In April 1940 Massine brought his ballet troupe to Cornell University where Hindemith was now a visiting professor; but choreographer and composer quarreled over the proposed music and décor and the scheme was shelved. Hindemith decided to use his drafts for the Weber ballet as the basis of a four-movement orchestral piece instead, and the result was the Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber, completed in August 1943.
Reviews

‘…staunch Hindemithian Yan Pascal Tortelier gives such an excellent performance of the piece.
’Gramophone on CHAN 9811 (Kodály)

‘Leonidis Kavakos is the most virtuosic of soloists in the Violin Concerto.’
American Record Guide

‘Yan Pascal Tortelier and the BBC Philharmonic are matchless in this music. Very highly recommended indeed.’
The Guardian on CHAN 9758 (Lalo)

The soloist in the new version, Leonidis Kavakos, is recorded at a natural distance, and once you’ve adjusted to that his performance appears extraordinarily good, more delicate in its rhythmic élan than Oistrakh.’
Best available version – Violin Concerto BBC Music Magazine

‘Leonidas Kavakos’s assured technique, effortless virtuosity and ravishing sound bring panache, brilliance and expressive warmth to this account of Hindemith’s 1939 Violin Concerto’.
The Strad

‘For my money, Kavakos and Tortelier are now the market leader… Thoroughly recommended’.
Gramophone

‘…it is hard to imagine how Tortelier’s devoted and intuitive conducting could be bettered.’
BBC Music Magazine on CHAN 9745 (Boulanger)

 

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