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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: 16 minutes 44 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 31 No 4
1923; first performed by Hindemith in Donaueschingen on 18 May 1924

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Hindemith’s Sonata for unaccompanied viola Op 31 No 4, composed during 1923 but not performed until the following year, confirmed the severity of his new style, but already presages greater freedom. The first of the three movements is a remarkable test of virtuosity in the manner of a vigorous moto perpetuo, with flashes of wit and pounding, obsessive folk dance rhythms. The slow movement, headed ‘Lied’, is song-like: a gracious and intricate lyric interlude. Like Op 11 No 5, this sonata ends with a massive finale, lasting longer than the other movements combined. Here it is a set of variations on a rather rustic, even quasi-medieval theme propounded at the outset. The sequence of variations is divided into three large spans, at first increasingly virtuosic, then slow and inwardly expressive, and finally working up to an earnest and grandiloquent conclusion. Hindemith gave the premiere of this sonata in Donaueschingen on 18 May 1924.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2010

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