Movement 1: Lebhafte Halbe
Movement 2: Langsame Viertel – Lebhaft – Wieder wie früher
Movement 3: Mässig schnelle Viertel
Despite the anxious times in which it was composed, this sonata is in fact the most direct and lyrical of the series, and its three movements (with central hints of a fourth and fifth) provide the most balanced formal design. Nevertheless a virtuosity rooted in Hindemith’s profound knowledge of the instrument is everywhere apparent, as in the alternately pugnacious and tender opening movement. In the central movement, meditative and deeply philosophical polyphony encloses a vigorous scherzo section which flows into a capricious episode of strumming pizzicato, a complete contrast in sonority and texture before the slow music returns. The finale, in moderate tempo, contrasts serious and formally grave music, almost like impassioned oratory, with a quieter, more reflective central episode. The music rises to a peak of eloquence just before the laconic close.
from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2010