Sunday, November 13, 2016

Happy Birthday, Paul Hindemith!

Paul Hindemith, 1923
This is a recording that I had meant to upload last year for Hindemith's 120th birthday (he was born November 16, 1895), but I got rather busy and in the end, the only composer anniversary I celebrated last autumn was Sibelius' 150th. Well, what's a year between friends? And so, for Hindemith's 121st birthday on Wednesday, here is his fellow viola player, the incomparable William Primrose, in his first sonata for the instrument:

Hindemith: Sonata in F Major, Op. 11, No. 4
William Primrose, viola; Jesús Maria Sanromá, piano
Recorded November 18, 1938
Victor Musical Masterpiece Set M-547, two 78-rpm records
Link (FLAC file, 38.48 MB)
Link (MP3 file, 26.42 MB)

Hindemith's Opus 11 consists of no less than six sonatas, all written in 1918-19, for various stringed instruments with and without piano.  The first two are violin sonatas with piano, the third a sonata for cello and piano, the fourth for viola and piano, the fifth for viola unaccompanied, and the sixth (unpublished during his lifetime) for violin unaccompanied. He was to add further examples of each combination to his oeuvre, the viola being particularly favored with three accompanied and four unaccompanied sonatas in total.

This is the first of three recordings pianist Sanromá would make of Hindemith's music for Victor during the late 1930s; in the spring of 1939 he would join the composer for recordings of a sonata for piano duet and of the third accompanied viola sonata.


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  2. Thanks Bryan for this rare and historical recording. As well as for this Hindemith commemoration: for sure, he remains a neglected composer.

  3. And thank you from me, too! Best wishes, Nick