Notes and Editorial Reviews
Paul Hindemith, considered the foremost German composer of his generation, believed in a strong link between music and social needs, and regarded the composer as a craftsman; someone who could provide for those needs.
His chamber music is renowned for being unconventional and eclectic; the composer often experimented with a variety of styles and combinations of instruments. The Trio Op.47 uses the heckelphone, a baritone oboe used in several of the works of Richard Strauss. Op.47 is particularly notable for the atmospheric Arioso for this rare instrument. Unusual instrumentation is also found in the Clarinet Quintet, thanks to the appearance of the E flat clarinet in the central movement, leading the ensemble through a series
of waltzes and a fugue of considerable length. The Kleinerkammermusik Op.24 No.2 is one of the composer's best-loved works, showcasing his humorous side through the use of playful dissonance. Our collection ends with the lyrical beauty of his famous Sonata for Trumpet and Piano.
The Valerius Ensemble enjoys a successful calendar of performances in concert halls and for radio and television, having toured throughout the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil. With a special interest in contemporary music, the ensemble has had several works written especially for it, by composers such as Carlos Míchans and Leo Samama.
- In celebration of the Hindemith-year 2013 (50 years after his death in 1963) this recording presents a generous selection of his chamber music output. Written for a wide variety of instruments (heckelphone, flute, horn, clarinet, oboe, trumpet, violin, viola, piano) it represents Hindemith's eclectic, witty and vibrant style, in which neo-classical, expressionistic and jazzy elements fuse together in a very personal way.
- High calibre performances by Netherland's best instrumentalists, evidently enjoying this fascinating and intriguing music.
- Booklet contains extensive liner notes on works and artists.
R E V I E W:
. Clarinet Quintet. Heckelphone Trio
, op. 47
. Trumpet Sonata
BRILLIANT 944 (62: 32)
This is a wild, fanciful performance of Hindemith’s
, one of the great wind quintets (along with the Nielsen and the Ligeti
). The piece usually receives deadly accurate, buttoned-down performances—which suit it perfectly—but these five virtuosos (Sabine de Groote, flute; Ernest Rombout, oboe; André Kerver, clarinet; Otis Klöber, bassoon; Jan Harshagen, horn) play with it, varying the tempos and spotlighting individual lines. It’s lots of fun and a refreshing alternative, but there are losses, too: there is so little sense of ensemble that one is barely aware that this is a wind quintet, so the comparatively serious Finale, which is more ensemble- than solo-oriented, fails to come off.
Late in life, Hindemith revised several of his early works; the originals, with their youthful energy and vivid imagination, are generally preferable to the conservative revisions. The opera
is the clearest case; its revision drains all the excitement from the drama. For this 1954 version of the 1923 Clarinet Quintet, the notes say “a thorough revision, its original sharp edges softened.” But the young radical of 1923 was more interesting than the mature master of 1954; that he wrote no new music that year, merely revisions, suggests a falling off of inspiration. Each movement has been recast; the second movement,
(still, quiet, calm) has been tightened up and now opens with a lovely cello solo, but the ethereal beauty of what was a long, meandering movement has been lost. The wild central
has been tamed, for better or for worse. Kerver’s colorful clarinet is smooth as silk, and his Valerius cohorts play well; a Nonesuch recording is more vivid, but its Arioso movement is not as lovely. Both versions of the Quintet are worth knowing; Ulf Rodenhäuser plays the original with Ensemble Villa Musica on MDG 304 0447-2.
The heckelphone is a bass oboe (here described as baritone) developed for Wagner and employed by Strauss in
its colors darker than those of an English horn. Its powerful tones make it a fine match for a piano, and Hindemith wrote a gem of a trio for them, with the reticent viola tagging along. Oboist Rombout has mastered the heckelphone, and this aggressive yet subtle, always well-balanced performance is stunning. Inge Luofs is the superb pianist.
The trumpet has always been a celebratory instrument, but Hindemith wrote a very serious Sonata, its
Finale is longer than the previous two movements together. This has not kept it from becoming an oft-played favorite of the trumpet repertoire. Ido Jan Stalman is the ideal trumpeter, and Luofs again sparkles at the piano.
These recordings were made a decade ago in the Netherlands; they are clear and natural, full without excess reverberance. The disc is heartily recommended for fine performances of some of Hindemith’s most intoxicating chamber music, but you must have a tighter performance of the
, preferably Chailly and the Concertgebouw’s spectacular two-CD Decca set of the seven
FANFARE: James H. North
Works on This Recording
Kleine Kammermusik for Wind Quintet, Op. 24 no 2 by Paul Hindemith
Jan Harshagen (French Horn),
Otis Klöber (Bassoon),
Sabine de Groote (Flute),
André Kerver (Clarinet),
Ernest Rombout (Oboe)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1922; Germany
Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, Op. 30 by Paul Hindemith
Michele Sidener (Viola),
René Geesing (Cello),
Joan Dillon (Violin),
Robert Windak (Violin),
André Kerver (Clarinet)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1923; Germany
Trio for Piano, Viola and Heckelphone, Op. 47 by Paul Hindemith
Sven-Arne Tepl (Viola),
Ernest Rombout (Heckelphone),
Inge Lulofs (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1928; Germany
Sonata for Trumpet and Piano by Paul Hindemith
Inge Lulofs (Piano),
Ido Jan Stalman (Trumpet)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1939; Switzerland
Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2: I. Lustig: Massig schnelle Viertel
Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2: II. Walzer: Durchweg sehr leise
Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2: III. Ruhig und einfach. Achtel
Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2: IV. Schnelle Viertel
Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2: V. Sehr lebhaft
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 30 (1954 version): I. Sehr lebhaft
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 30 (1954 version): II. Ruhig
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 30 (1954 version): III. Schneller Landler
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 30 (1954 version): IV. Arioso
Clarinet Quintet, Op. 30 (1954 version): V. Sehr lebhaft
Trio, Op. 47: Part I: Sehr lebhaft, sturmisch - Arioso - Duet
Trio, Op. 47: Part II: Potpourri
Trumpet Sonata: I. Mit kraft
Trumpet Sonata: II. Massig bewegt
Trumpet Sonata: III. Trauermusik. Sehr langsam
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