The two Szell performances (Walton's variations and the Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphosis) belong among the great recordings. With playing that defines virtuosity, and interpretations that don't miss a trick, they belong in every collection. Szell was selective in his promotion of 20th century music, but his taste level was beyond reproach; and when he took on a new work, watch out! Walton's Hindemith Variations bid fair to be considered his orchestral masterpiece, and in Szell's hands you'd never doubt it.
Ormandy also was a lifelong and sympathetic exponent of Hindemith; his late recordings of the Symphonic Metamorphosis and the Concert Music for Strings and Brass are truly great ones. This performance of Mathis der MalerRead more isn't quite so fine, being a touch soft-edged in the finale (and the loud cymbal roll on the last chord of the first movement isn't an improvement on what Hindemith actually wrote), but certainly there's little else to quibble about. Sonically the Cleveland items get more natural, better balanced engineering. A classic, available "on-demand" from Arkivmusic.com.
Symphony "Mathis der Maler"by Paul Hindemith Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Date of Recording: 01/17/1962 Venue: Town Hall, Philadelphia Length: 26 Minutes 38 Secs.
Variations on a Theme by Hindemithby Sir William Walton Conductor:
Period: 20th Century Written: 1962-1963; England Date of Recording: 10/09/1964 Venue: Severance Hall, Cleveland Length: 22 Minutes 45 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
MY FAVORITE HINDEMITH!!!September 11, 2014By Zita Carno (Tampa, FL)See All My Reviews"If I could take with me to a desert island a CD player, a supply of batteries, and one CD, it would be this one. I found it in, of all places, a Barnes and Noble bookshop that had a record section, and it grabbed me instantly. In fact, the other day I was listening, as usual, to the Classical Masterpieces channel on my TV, and they played the "Symphonic Metamorphosis" track from this CD---I had been in a sour mood, battling the flu, and this cheered me up! The whole album is a joy, not only to my ears but also to all the senses. Ormandy is in top form with "Mathis"---I don't think I've ever heard a better performance---and Szell, well, what is there to say except that as usual he outdoes himself. What got me was in the "Turandot" scherzo he started out a bit slower,unlike so many other conductors who seem to be in such a rush,and he set it up just right for what followed; the jazz section actually had me beboppng! And as an extra added attraction there's Walton's Variations on a Theme of Hindemith---the theme being from the second movement of Hindemith's 1940 Cello Concerto---and Walton did honor to both composers.He even stuck in a quote from "Mathis". Beautiful...It is now Jan. 2, 2015, and on my favorite TV channel they just played Sir William Walton's Variations on a Theme by Hindemith---first time I've heard it on that station---and I was right. Walton certainly did honor to both composers, and the quote from Mathis was not the only one. What I heard was the best of both of them. I think I'll order a backup copy of this album. :)...Well, I ordered that backup copy, and I was just listening to it on Classical Masterpieces---and I thought back to a concert with the New Jersey Symphony years ago when we played it. We had been having a problem all week with the "Turandot" scherzo; the tuba player had been flubbing his entrance in the fugue section, and the conductor was about ready to scream. Well, it was backstage prior to the concert, and I was hanging around with the players---I was scheduled to play the second half, some Ravel work, and the poor tuba player was at his wit's end, when I suddenly became aware of the problem. I walked over to him and asked to take a look at the part, and what I saw was that whoever the orchestra librarian was who had edited the part had the wrong cue. The guy was supposed to listen for the third trombone just prior to his entrance---but how can you hear the third trombone when you're sitting right next to him? The cue he needed to hear was the first trumpet which had the fugue theme before the tuba entrance! I grabbed a pencil and wrote in the three bars for the first trumpet in the tuba player's part, and I told him to listen for that, because that was what he needed to hear; that was his cue. Came the performance, and in that fugue section the tuba listened for the first trumpet, and when he heard that he got set and came in on cue with no problem. You'd think that orchestra librarians when they're preparing the parts would study the scores more carefully!"Report Abuse
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