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Hyperion Records

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Trapeze Artists in Blue (1914) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA68014
Recording details: November 2012
Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: November 2013
Total duration: 18 minutes 23 seconds

'The finale of the D major sonata is a real treat, especially in Tanja Becker-Bender's superb account … the final C major is one of the jewels in Hindemith's sonata crown and draws superb playing from Becker-Bender and Nagy. Indeed, they are superb throughout' (Gramophone) » More

'The E flat Sonata opens with arresting gestures designed to let the performers show off, which Tanja Becker-Bender and Péter Nagy seize with relish. They give generally spacious readings of all four Sonatas … Hyperion’s team is rewarding in the large-scale challenges of the D major Sonata, and attuned to the sonatina-like scale of the E major work. A transcription of the Meditation from Hindemith’s ballet Nobilissima visione bears testimony to the composer’s pacifism' (BBC Music Magazine) » More

'These new performances prove to be everything that one would wish for in these taxing and often elusive works … a valuable release' (International Record Review) » More

'Tanja Becker-Bender and Péter Nagy are well matched and give thoroughly forthright performances of real integrity, vitality and intelligence. The sound engineers have excelled themselves providing satisfyingly clear and well balanced sonics. For those looking for something away from the mainstream but accessible and of high quality this set of Hindemith violin sonatas fits the bill' (MusicWeb International)

'Overall these are insightful and communicative performances, flouting the notion that Hindemith’s music lacks emotion or energy. In fact, the opposite is altogether truer! These readings are complemented by an extremely informative booklet note from Malcolm MacDonald that helpfully places the music in a political context—which with Hindemith is doubly important' (

'Eine der schönsten Platten, die anlässlich des 50. Todestag von Hindemith den Weg in meinen CD-Player gefunden haben' (, Germany) » More

Violin Sonata in D major, Op 11 No 2
1918; first performed on 10 April 1920 by Max Strub and Eduard Zuckmayer

Lebhaft  [5'55]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Immediately contemporary with the E flat major Sonata, but on a considerably larger scale, is the Violin Sonata in D major, Op 11 No 2, which was premiered on 10 April 1920 by the violinist Max Strub and the pianist Eduard Zuckmayer. Here we have a full three-movement layout, and the piece as a whole is perhaps more closely connected to the Romantic tradition and its late manifestations in the music of Max Reger and in Debussian Impressionism. The lively opening movement, which is mostly in D minor, has the strange, almost Schumannesque expressive marking ‘Mit starrem Trotz‘ (‘with stiff defiance’). The voluble, combative opening theme, first heard in trenchant unison on both instruments, is contrasted with a gentler, more elegant, and perhaps indeed Debussian second subject. The development allows a whiff of popular dance music before turning decidedly stormy, and the coda is still defiant and hard-bitten.

The slow movement is, by contrast, a calm and lyrical utterance, at least at the outset, though it turns more agitated and passionate as it proceeds, with expansive violin and piano writing redolent of Hindemith’s Romantic forebears. It is, however, a shapely and impressive movement, displaying the young Hindemith’s gift for expressive melody.

The finale, marked to be played ‘in the tempo and character of a fast dance’, is a cheerful, robustly tuneful affair which could be compared to the near-contemporary music for Much Ado About Nothing by Hindemith’s young rival Erich Wolfgang Korngold, especially when it lapses into a luscious contrasting subject. Here Hindemith evokes Baroque dance-forms in a wholly updated way, providing a jovial conclusion to a remarkably appealing work.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2013

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