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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Red Elisabeth Riverbank, Berlin (1912) by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938)
Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen , Alte Pinakotek, Munich / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67977
Recording details: December 2012
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Jeremy Hayes
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: November 2013
Total duration: 17 minutes 21 seconds

'Becker commands the structure of each work, and … is very impressive in the virtuosity of the Third. The new release also offers a set of Variations, discarded from the First Sonata: along with everything else here, this profoundly rewarding music—like Becker's playing itself—repays the deeper acquaintance of repeated listening' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Markus Becker draws out the First Sonata's exuberance and assertive power. The much shorter Second Sonata is also more immediately endearing, the Third confirming Hindemith’s stature as a supreme craftsman with a sure dramatic touch' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Markus Becker has clearly immersed himself in these pieces, instinctively knowing how and when to let Hindemith’s often-complex counterpoint breathe, and how to emphasise the attractive melodies. With excellent recorded sound and an enlightening booklet notes from Malcolm MacDonald, Hyperion has produced a noteworthy release with which to celebrate the music of Paul Hindemith' (

‘Bei Markus Becker … klingt Hindemiths Musik jedenfalls ganz und gar nicht hausbacken. Becker … weiß nur zu gut, wie man dieser Art von Musik zu Leibe rückt: mit Mut zum Risiko und ohne akademische Tüfteleien' (Piano, Germany)

Piano Sonata No 3 in B flat major
July to 20 August 1936; first performed in Washington by Jesús María Sanromá in April 1937

Ruhig bewegt  [4'26]
Sehr lebhaft  [3'00]
Mässig schnell  [5'18]
Fuge: Lebhaft  [4'37]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Piano Sonata No 3 in B flat major was composed immediately after the other two (from July to 20 August); it is on a larger scale than No 2, though structurally extremely taut, with nothing of No 1’s poetic expansiveness. Like No 1, though, it is an ambitious work, obviously written with a virtuoso performer in mind. Of Hindemith’s three sonatas No 3 approximates most closely to the classical sonata ideal—indeed to the Beethovenian four-movement archetype which had inspired generations of composers throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries—and its material is perhaps the most distinctive and resourcefully developed.

Yet again, however, Hindemith avoids a strenuous opening movement with competing themes in sonata style. The third sonata opens instead with a lyrical, calmly flowing movement of almost pastoral character—which incidentally looks forward towards the serenely exalted idiom of Nobilissima visione, the ballet on the life of St Francis of Assisi which he was to compose in 1937. There follows an energetic scherzo and trio, and then a movement in moderate tempo which, after a quietly tramping introduction, develops into a lithe, conversational fugato. This fugal writing foreshadows the finale, which crowns the sonata with a granitic and determined double fugue. The first subject is wiry and athletic; the second is derived by variation from the fugato subject in the previous movement. At the climax both themes are combined, and the sonata ends in a mood of hard-won triumph, the final bars a monumental confirmation of the home key. The pianist Walter Gieseking, who saw each sonata in manuscript as soon as it was written, considered this sonata the finest of the three.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2013

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