Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hindemith by the Los Angeles Wind Quintet

Good things come in small packages, goes the old cliché, and it's certainly true in this case.  Hindemith's delightful wind quintet, "Kleine Kammermusik" - the second part of an opus that also includes the first of his seven chamber concertos under the collective title of "Kammermusik" - may be small in size but it's big in entertainment value.  It's played here by a quintet of Hollywood studio musicians consisting of Haakon Bergh, flute; Gordon Pope, oboe; D. H. McKenney, clarinet; Don Christlieb, bassoon; and Jack Cave, horn.  The two players whose dates I have been able to trace online (Bergh and Christlieb) were both young men in their twenties when this recording was made, and I imagine the others were similarly young, for they are fully in sympathy with Hindemith's idiom:

Hindemith: Kleine Kammermusik, Op. 24, No. 2
The Los Angeles Wind Quintet
Recorded c. 1939
Columbia Masterworks set MX-149, two 10-inch 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 32.88 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 22.40 MB)

Incredibly, this is not the first recording of the piece; an earlier one was made acoustically by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Wind Quintet for Deutsche Grammophon-Polydor.  This, I expect, is ultra rare, and I hope to hear it someday before I die, although I cannot imagine it would be as fine as this Los Angeles performance.


  1. Thank you! I look forward to hearing this. Yes, I fear that Leipzig set is rare as hen's teeth. On a cursory search, the only library that seems to have it is the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris - and then only the first disc! Very best wishes, Nick

  2. This is almost like having a score in hand. It retains great musicality despite its ultra-clarity. This turns out to be my favorite performance
    because it boasts {yea, even exudes} idiomatic Hindemith performance practice as if to the manner born. As a result, it possesses a deep authenticity.