A beautiful reading...
J. Anderson | Monterey, CA USA | 06/05/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a beautiful reading of Hindemith's 'Ludus tonalis.' Aldwell's approach is lyrical and meaningful, with figures of sprite and humor. The famous blues sequence at the conclusion of Fuga V is treated with perfect dryness by Aldwell, redeeming with such touches, as he does, a decidedly lyrical reading of a marvelous score. He's clearly a marvelous pianist, and an intelligent one. Hindemith's 'howling in the wilderness,' as his work and career during the period of serialist triumph has been called, is vindicated with performances of this quality attending his music. And that's surely a good thing! What people will intimate about the patina of learnedness that subsumes Hindemith's music is probably true, but there's much to admire in its emotional contact and content. Hindemith's heart beats --perhaps a fugal beat!-- but it's real, and informs his music with a particular caste, almost an ethos, of its own. Aldwell misses nothing of Hindemith's line of offense, but takes it to humanity, like a mediator priest, as a proposition for the good of all; it is easy to accept the proposal. This is a recording of tremendous integrity. Unfortunately, the sonic acoustic is somewhat dull. A dull acoustic could work well with this score if it were an enlightening sonic nonetheless --not the case here. This is alleviated considerably, however, by the superb sound of the Hamburg Steinway Aldwell plays-- magnificent timbre to the instrument, something used to the max by Aldwell, who, like a singer (exactly what Hindemith needs here!), can convey opposites best by rounding a strong middle. Excellent recording of a magnificent piece of music! The Faure nocturnes are well-played, intelligently drawn, making a nice effect after the Hindemith. Aldwell allows his pianism to flower rightly with the Faure, so that it feels wisely peeled off from the Hindemith that has just cleaved all the senses. It's a beautiful and pungent effect. Great CD - fetching version of 'Ludus tonalis' - engineering off the mark!"