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Hindemith: Cello Concerto, Four Temperaments / Tortelier


Release Date: 03/15/1993 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 9124   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Raphael WallfischHoward Shelley
Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Hindemith was rather fond of the theme and variations format, but the Four Temperaments must be one of his finest. It is scored for piano and strings, so you won't find the colourful and rhetorical mood contrasts of Nielsen's treatment of the same subject in his Second Symphony. Hindemith's portraiture takes longer to make its mark, but when it does, it reveals characterization of considerable depth and dimension. And, in answer to the old joke that Hindemith's variations should have been called the ''Four Equal Temperaments'', one could argue that all temperaments, whatever the dominant disposition, are closely related.

Tortelier has done nothing better. What responsive strings the BBC Philharmonic possesses here: there's
Read more plenty of balletic grace and shape (the piece was originally planned as a ballet), clarity of inner lines, and, when required, vehemence and strength—most certainly their 'blood is up' as they launch (at 2'20'') into the second part of the ''Sanguine'' temperament. And the work is so well paced: DePreist (Delos) couldn't resist beautifying the opening theme at a very slow tempo, and livening up the ''Phlegmatic'' temperament with some unmarked variations of tempo—Tortelier shows the score needs no such props. Howard Shelley is quite as fine as his rivals; more so, in the final ''Choleric'' temperament, where the declamatory writing has a thrilling range and power, and ensemble here is superb. The sound has depth, a natural spread, openness and presence.

Technique and inspiration in Hindemith's contemporary (1940) Cello Concerto are comparatively 'off the peg'. There's a great deal of virtuoso solo and orchestral writing here, but little in the way of genuine expressive reward, though Walton was to put the second movement's lovely melody to use in his own Variations on a theme by Hindemith. Tempos here are slower than marked in the first two movements, and Raphael Wallfisch is far more accurate than Tibor de Machula. I rather like the latter's gritty determination, and Kondrashin's more characterful shaping and purpose but Etcetera's live radio recording has hard tone, a few dropouts and tape hiss. No match for the enormous range of the Chandos, though they could have moved in a little more.

-- John Steane, Gramophone [3/1993]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Cello by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Raphael Wallfisch (Cello)
Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1992 
Venue:  Concert Hall, New Brdcst Hse, Manchester 
Length: 24 Minutes 18 Secs. 
2.
Theme and Variations for Piano and Strings "The Four Temperaments" by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Howard Shelley (Piano)
Conductor:  Yan Pascal Tortelier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
Date of Recording: 07/1992 
Venue:  Concert Hall, New Brdcst Hse, Manchester 
Length: 27 Minutes 37 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Cello Concerto: I. Massig schnell
Cello Concerto: II. Ruhig bewegt - Sehr lebhaft - Im fruheren langsamen Zeitmass
Cello Concerto: III. Marsch: Lebhaft - Trio [nach einem alten marsch] - Lebhafter
Theme and Variations, "The 4 Temperaments": Theme
Theme and Variations, "The 4 Temperaments": Variation 1. Melancholisch
Theme and Variations, "The 4 Temperaments": Variation 2. Sanguinisch
Theme and Variations, "The 4 Temperaments": Variation 3. Phlegmatisch
Theme and Variations, "The 4 Temperaments": Variation 4. Cholerisch

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