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Hyperion Records

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Lightning across glass building by Lincoln Seligman (b1950)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67769
Recording details: April 2009
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: February 2010
Total duration: 15 minutes 12 seconds

'Power's warmly rounded tone and searching interpretations cast the most favourable possible light on this wonderful if sometimes astringent music … though such fine players as Nobuko Imai and Kim Kashkashian have made important Hindemith discs, Power's series—soon to progress into a third and final volume with the works for viola and orchestra—is the most comprehensive and satisfying' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Power's performances—characterised by his trademark tonal richness and easy, almost nonchalant technical brilliance—leave no doubt about the weighty seriousness of the music, and its significance for Hindemith' (The Guardian)

'Aided and abetted by Hyperion's close, lifelike recording quality, Power gives an absolutely stunning demonstration of viola playing, with no concessions to Hindemith's daunting demands' (The Strad)

'Paul Hindemith, himself a major viola player, left one of the most important of 20th-century legacies for his own instrument, including the four solo sonatas recorded here. They make a protean collection … Op 25 No 1, written in 1922 when Hindemith was at his most radical, includes a movement marked 'Wild. Tonal beauty is of minor importance.' Lawrence Power easily encompasses the many moods. He has a giant sound at his command – he can make the instrument sound as if it’s being played by a man striding with seven league boots—and he makes every moment gripping' (The Irish Times)

'L'équilibre trouvé par l'altiste Lawrence Power … est tout simplement parfait. Paul Hindemith gagne beaucoup à être fréquenté par de tels talents' (Classica, France)

Sonata for solo viola, Op 25 No 1
1922; first performed by Hindemith in Cologne on 18 March 1922

Breit Viertel  [1'46]
Sehr langsam  [5'40]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Hindemith presented his second Sonata for unaccompanied viola Op 25 No 1 at a concert in Cologne on 18 March 1922. Since 1919 he had leapt to prominence as Germany’s leading young composer, passed swiftly through a stage as an Expressionist enfant terrible and emerged—with his Kammermusik series—as the leader of a neo-Baroque tendency, busily neoclassical, less concerned with beauty and eloquence than the efficient and vigorous presentation of pure musical ideas: the so-called ‘New Objectivity’ (Neue Sachlichkeit). This tendency is immediately apparent in Op 25 No 1, which opens with an introductory movement that juxtaposes an aggressive chordal sequence against material of a more pleading character and quickly passes into a ‘very fresh and taut’ (Sehr frisch und straff) quicker movement. Aesthetic relief is afforded by the two fairly substantial, and musically related, lyrical slow movements—especially the moving and elegiac one with which the sonata closes. But between them comes the fourth movement, a furious outburst that carries the extraordinary marking ‘Raging tempo. Wild. Beauty of tone is of a secondary consideration’ (Rasendes Zeitmass. Wild. Tonschönheit ist Nebensache). From the initial hornet buzz of a repeated low C, this movement consists entirely of single crochets played at breakneck speed but organized according to constantly changing time-signatures: a machine-age scherzo indeed.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2010

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