A Luxurious Set of Hindemith Orchestral Works
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For some reason recent years have found Paul Hindemith's important orchestral works appearing less frequently on the concert repertoire. While the interest in the symphonies of Mahler, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and the other composers of 'big sounds' continues to grow, Hindemith seems to have fallen out of grace. Even surveying the recorded library finds only the chamber music by this gifted composer well represented. So it is with great pleasure that this 1995 recording by Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic is as fine as any available recordings of the three large symphonic works.
Abbado appears to have an affinity for these works. His conducting pays strict attention to all of the intricacies of the inner voices of the orchestra while never allowing these vividly drawn details to wander away from the overall architecture of the works. 'Symphony, Mathis der Maler' was Hindemith's own compilation of the orchestral interludes from his opera by the same name. This is romanticism at its highest level - passion, heavenly illusions/delusions, big brass choirs crowning lush massed strings, arching singing lines that reach organ-like climaxes. It is majestic!
'Noblissima Visione' was written as ballet but it works extremely well as a symphonic tone poem. The work is one of the least performed of Hindemith's: here Abbado makes a staggering case for the powerful range of expression it holds. And finally the 'Symphonische Metamorphosen' is given the concerto for orchestra treatment it deserves. Each of the sections of the Berlin orchestra demonstrates why their sound remains at the top of the lists for the world's great orchestras. The work is complex in construction, and yet as with all of Hindemith's works, the complexities when performed to perfection as here with Abbado at the helm make the work seem light and simple.
The recorded sound is rich and full. This is a generous CD and for those looking for the penultimate Hindemith recording of these three masterpieces, there is at present none better. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, July 05"