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Hyperion Records

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Broken Forms by Franz Marc (1880-1916)
Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67774
Recording details: April 2010
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: January 2011
Total duration: 7 minutes 46 seconds

'Power's affinity with Hindemith's music is as evident in these new recordings as in previous instalments, his tone perfectly balanced between strength and delicacy … Hyperion's beautifully natural recording is the best yet but it is the partnership with Atherton and the BBC Scottish that makes this such a rewarding listen … the new market leader, strongly recommended. Now, how about the viola d'amore works on Volume 4?' (Gramophone)

'Now on the third instalment of his Hindemith survey for Hyperion, Lawrence Power tackles the works with orchestra, and once again he projects a splendidly warm and rounded tone, bringing compelling focus to these performances' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Real musicality shines through … Lawrence Power lends poignancy to the slow movements and tremendous drive to the fast ones, and the BBC SSO under Atherton gives those machine rhythms real relish' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Trauermusik is a particularly striking three-movement elegy, with David Atherton ensuring that the BBC Scottish Symphony's string textures perfectly cushion the viola's lament' (The Guardian)

'Given David Atherton's proven expertise with Weill, I am not surprised to hear him so comfortable with Hindemith, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra plays with precision and wide-eyed clarity. Hyperion's engineering is first-class in every way' (International Record Review)

'This disk featuring Britain's star viola player throbs with lyricism and insouciant larks … sparks keep flying from Power's viola, and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Atherton, is always neat and clean' (The Times)

'L'accompagnement à la fois incisif, brillant mais aussi chaleureux de David Atherton contribue grandement à faire de ce troisième volume le meilleur de la série; le tissu orchestral qui enveloppe l'alto dans le concerto permet à Lawrence Power d'épanouir son chant avec plénitude, tandis que les réponses ironiques à ses interventions séduisent dans les Musiken qui secouent l'auditeur' (Diapason, France)

1936; Langsam – Ruhig bewegt – Lebhaft – Choral 'Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit'; composed on 21 January 1936 to mark the death that day of King George V and first performed by the composer with the BBC Orchestra under Adrian Boult the following day

Trauermusik  [7'46]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
On 21 January 1936, while Hindemith was in London preparing to give Der Schwanendreher its UK premiere in a BBC concert the following day, King George V died. Protocol demanded that the BBC’s programme should be replaced by appropriate funeral music. Nevertheless the BBC authorities—especially the music director Edward Clark and Adrian Boult, who was to conduct the concert—were keen that Hindemith should still be allowed to take part. It was decided that he should write and perform a memorial piece, specially written for the occasion. For six hours Hindemith engaged in what he later described as some fairly heavy mourning, with a team of copyists to transcribe the music that resulted. Thus was born Trauermusik (Music of Mourning) for viola and string orchestra, which Hindemith duly premiered in the national broadcast with the BBC Orchestra under Boult.

Despite the circumstances, Trauermusik has justly become one of Hindemith’s most celebrated works, for it is a shining example of an ‘occasional composition’ that far transcends its occasion and makes a distinct contribution to the general repertoire. Closely allied in tone to the more reflective portions of the opera Mathis der Maler, it is a grave, shapely and eloquent lament, with a special quality of intimacy. The single movement falls into four sections, the first closely modelled (though without quotation) on the ‘Entombment’ music from Mathis. A second section, in a serene 12/8 pulse, seems to evoke old folksong melodies, either English or German. A livelier, more determined section follows, but its energy soon dissipates into renewed expressions of lamentation. The work ends with a free elegiac invention on J S Bach’s chorale Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit (Herewith I step before thy throne), well known in English churches as the Psalm tune ‘The Old Hundredth’. Hindemith considered that Bach’s text was a very suitable one for music about kings, but these final bars, appropriate for any obsequy, are among the most moving music he ever wrote.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2011

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