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Hindemith: Complete Viola Works, Vol. 1 / Zimmermann, Graf, Deutsches Symphony Orchestra Berlin

Hindemith / Zimmermann / Deutsches Sym Orch Berlin
Release Date: 07/09/2013 
Label:  Myrios Classics   Catalog #: 10   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Tabea Zimmermann
Conductor:  Hans Graf
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 1 Hours 20 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



HINDEMITH Der Schwanendreher. Trauermusik. Kammermusik No. 5 for Solo Viola and Large Chamber Orchestra. Concert Music for Solo Viola and Large Chamber Orchestra (early version) Tabea Zimmermann (va); Hans Graf, cond; Deutsches SO Berlin MYRIOS 010 (SACD: 79:59)


As all Hindemithians know, the viola was the composer’s very own instrument of choice, even though he learned to play all the Read more others in the modern orchestra. And during the 1920s and 1930s he often appeared as either soloist and/or conductor, performing the three large-scale concertante works he wrote for his favorite instrument, as well as his various sonatas for it. This brilliant young woman musician, Tabea Zimmermann, has been recording all of this music for the first-class new German label, Myrios Classics. The major discographical interest of this release comes in the form of a premiere recording of Hindemith’s original six-movement version of the 1939 Concert Music , reconstructed from manuscripts and performance editions which the composer had apparently revised and rejected in the interest of making the piece both shorter and practicable.


Here, for the first time, we get a chance to hear two movements of the initial six—a relatively brief but lovely slow fourth movement containing a ravishing oboe solo theme, and an altogether different Finale that is more substantial and distinctive than the shorter and rather throwaway movement heard in all previous recordings. However, in the revised version it is interesting to notice how every movement is permeated by the insistently busy, bustling, motto-theme heard at the very opening of the score, while this initial attempt has more thematic diversity and less of an organic integration. Perhaps Hindemith could have made the suite-like Concert Music even longer by inserting the variations somewhere between earlier movements, since it seems he remained forever undecided about the over-all form of the work, having originally conceived of it as consisting of two separate sections of either two or three movements each. In any case, this is a recording of a work poised on the cusp of the composer’s gradual evolution from the precedent-shattering, nose-thumbing defiance of the 1920s Kammermusik set—whose prickly concerto grosso incarnation for viola is superbly realized here—to the somewhat mellower, more magisterial yet genially neo-Baroque manner of his later years.


This program opens with perhaps one of the most perceptively precise and idiomatic recording of Hindemith’s popular Schwanendreher Concerto, in which the composer discovered and exploited the down-to-earth idiom of the German medieval folk universe. One would have to go back to the old Primrose recording to find an equal to this rendition.


Also included here is the ethereal Trauermusik for viola and string orchestra, composed at the last minute in memory of King George V—a work which Hindemith is quoted in the booklet as describing as a “minor effort”—hardly an accurate evaluation, to say the least. The booklet also offers a number of deliciously evocative photos of Hindemith and the dedicatees of the Schwanendreher , Darius and Madeleine Milhaud, as well as other illustrious musicians of the era.


Conductor Hans Graf and his musicians have these scores in their bloodstreams and, as for Ms. Zimmermann and the Myrios engineering team, words of praise fail me. In short, this CD belongs on everybody’s shelf.


FANFARE: Paul A. Snook
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Works on This Recording

1. Der Schwanendreher by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Tabea Zimmermann (Viola)
Conductor:  Hans Graf
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; Germany 
Date of Recording: 08/2012 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche Berlin-Dahlem 
Length: 26 Minutes 7 Secs. 
2. Trauermusik for Viola and Strings by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Tabea Zimmermann (Viola)
Conductor:  Hans Graf
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Date of Recording: 08/2012 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche Berlin-Dahlem 
Length: 7 Minutes 39 Secs. 
3. Kammermusik no 5 for Viola and Orchestra, Op. 36 no 4 by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Tabea Zimmermann (Viola)
Conductor:  Hans Graf
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Germany 
Date of Recording: 08/2012 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche Berlin-Dahlem 
Length: 19 Minutes 21 Secs. 
4. Konzertmusik, for viola & chamber orchestra, Op. 48a by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Tabea Zimmermann (Viola)
Conductor:  Hans Graf
Period: Modern 
Written: 1930 
Date of Recording: 08/2012 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche Berlin-Dahlem 
Length: 25 Minutes 24 Secs. 

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