Saturday, May 01, 2010

Hindemith and von Einem

I'd never been much of a fan of the Hindemith's music, but his Symphonic Metamorphosis on themes by Carl Maria von Weber has been playing on my CD for some weeks now, and I just love it. At the moment the fourth movement, the March is on, and it's a wonderfully boisterous piece with moments of quiet between all the energetic stuff. The third movement is an Andantino which uses a lovely theme and works at it until it gets into your soul.
The first movement has a somewhat involved theme that is taken at a lickety-split pace and rolls along gathering up everything in its stride. The second movement took a bit of getting to enjoy: it begins very quietly, sneaking up on you with just the flute playing and then another wind instrument repeating the phrases, then the flute, and then the same instruments repeating again, and gradually the whole thing builds up into this rollicking and partly monstrous (I mean like a giant clumping over the land and stomping on houses that happen to get in the way) fugal thing that takes in the whole orchestra going hell for leather. When I say the whole orchestra I mean even the double basses sound like they're working harder than they've worked in a long while.
At the moment I could play this CD over and over for several months.
It also has Hindemith's Pittsburgh Symphony on it. The third movement, Ostinato has a brash feel about it and is pretty much in your face, but it also has a kind of humour I'd never really associated with Hindemith.
Another symphony, The Philadelphia Symphony by Gottfried von Einem, a composer I've never heard of before, rounds out the disk. His opening movement is fanfare like (though using wind and strings rather than brass), the second movement is sweet, without the 'bigness' of the Hindemith movements, and the last is a bouncy number that zips back and forth between various solo instruments. This symphony seems smaller in scale than either of the Hindemiths, but is a worthy companion to them, nevertheless. An Austrian, von Einem is primarily known for his operatic works.
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