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Hindemith: The Chamber Concertos / Stenz, Ensemble Modern


Release Date: 10/10/1995 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 61730   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Ueli WigetMichael StirlingPeter RundelWerner Dickel,   ... 
Conductor:  Markus Stenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 7 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Sand, see Sugar. Sugar, see Grocer. Grocer, see Hindemith." Such run Tovey's whimsical indexentries in Essays in Musical Analysis (London: 1935/9), inspired by Hindemith's Kammermusik No. 1 and its instrumental exotica. "I like Hindemith and ... he does not bore me" was his judgement, in contrast to Constant Lambert who, in Music Ho! (London: 1934), vented his spleen on the German composer at great and repeated length, calling him "everything in fact but an artist" and "the journalist of modern music", finding his "view of music ... almost excretory". Of his concertos — primarily the early Kammermusik ones of the mid 1920s — Lambert felt that they had "the family resemblance of shape Read more and texture that one edition of a newspaper bears to another". Well, unsurprisingly for a set of works written in the short spell of five years, there are commonalities of style and form, but these are more than made up for by the sheer exuberance of the music, which is what Tovey appreciated.

Whatever your view of the Kammermusiken, the yardstick for recordings of them was defined by Riccardo Chailly and the Concertgebouw in their 1993 Gramophone Award-winning release. This new RCA set is the first challenger but, fine as it is, it cannot dislodge the Decca version. There is not much to choose between the performances and interpretations: Stenz is generally quicker in the early concertos, Chailly in the later ones; the Ensemble Modern produce a rather more hardedged sound than the Concertgebouw, abetted by the RCA recording, though I am not convinced it is quite what Hindemith had in mind, at least for the later instalments in the series (though I doubt if he would have minded overmuch). More importantly, inequalities of balance on the RCA set arise, particularly affecting the stringed instruments, both the soloists in Nos. 3-6 and the quintet in No. I. The Ensemble Modern's accordion in the last-named is barely audible compared to that in the Dutch orchestra, whose siren, incidentally, is in better health (I cannot vouch for the canister of sand). Chailly has the clear edge then in Nos. 1 and 4-6 (for violin, viola and viola d'amore, respectively). In No. 2 (for piano), Stenz and Wiget just shade the decision, but No. 3 (for cello) is a dead heat. I also prefer the RCA version of No. 7, the organ concerto, which was recorded at Hindemith's old music school, the Hoch Conservatoire in Frankfurt: its instrument produces a cleaner, crisper sound. Decca have the advantage secured still further by their inclusion of No. l's companion piece, the Kleine Kammermusik for wind quintet, which RCA parsimoniously omit. If you already have that work, though, and like a brittle tang to your Hindemith, then the Ensemble Modern and Stenz will not disappoint.

-- Gramophone [1/1996]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Kammermusik no 1 for Orchestra, Op. 24 no 1 by Paul Hindemith
Conductor:  Markus Stenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; Germany 
Venue:  Concert Hall, Deutschen Bank, Frankfurt 
Length: 15 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Notes: Selection recorded January 31 and February 1, 1993. 
2.
Kammermusik no 2 for Piano and 12 Instruments, Op. 36 no 1 by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Ueli Wiget (Piano)
Conductor:  Markus Stenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: Selection recorded February 26 and Febraury 28-March 1, 1994 in the Orchestral Rehearsal Room of the Opera House in Frankfurt. 
3.
Kammermusik no 3 for Cello and 10 Instruments, Op. 36 no 2 by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Michael Stirling (Cello)
Conductor:  Markus Stenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Length: 17 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Selection recorded in the Orchestral Rehearsal Room of the Opera House in Frankfurt. 
4.
Kammermusik no 4 for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 36 no 3 by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Peter Rundel (Violin)
Conductor:  Markus Stenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Length: 20 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Selection recorded in the Orchestral Rehearsal Room of the Opera House in Frankfurt. 
5.
Kammermusik no 5 for Viola and Orchestra, Op. 36 no 4 by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Werner Dickel (Viola)
Conductor:  Markus Stenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1993 
Length: 18 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: Selection recorded in the Orchestral Rehearsal Room of the Opera House in Frankfurt. 
6.
Kammermusik no 6 for Viola d'Amore and Orchestra, Op. 46 no 1 by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Wolfram Just (Viola d'amore)
Conductor:  Markus Stenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Germany 
Length: 19 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: Selection recorded February 26 and February 28-March 1, 1994 in the Orchestral Rehearsal Room of the Opera House in Frankfurt. 
7.
Kammermusik no 7 for Organ and Chamber Orchestra, Op. 46 no 2 by Paul Hindemith
Performer:  Martin Lücker (Organ)
Conductor:  Markus Stenz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble Modern
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Germany 
Date of Recording: 02/1993 
Venue:  Dr. Hochs Konservatorium, Frankfurt 
Length: 18 Minutes 20 Secs. 

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