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Sonata for solo viola
completed on 21 April 1937 and first performed by Hindemith the same day at rh Chicago Arts Club

'Hindemith: The Complete Viola Music, Vol. 2 – Sonatas for solo viola' (CDA67769)
Hindemith: The Complete Viola Music, Vol. 2 – Sonatas for solo viola
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67769 
Movement 1: Lebhafte Halbe
Movement 2: Langsame Viertel – Lebhaft – Wieder wie früher
Movement 3: Mässig schnelle Viertel

Sonata for solo viola
By April 1937, when Hindemith wrote his final Sonata for unaccompanied viola, he was virtually exiled from Germany by the Nazis and living the life of an itinerant composer-performer, though he had not quite taken the final decision to leave Germany for good: that would happen the following year. The sonata was dashed down on a train journey from New York to Chicago, and finished on 21 April, the day he premiered it at the Chicago Arts Club. By now his language had become more warmly emotional, even romantic again, and in contrast to the chromaticism of the two preceding sonatas there is an emphasis on bright intervals, notably the perfect fourth and fifth.

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

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Details for CDA67769 track 14
Langsame Viertel – Lebhaft – Wieder wie früher
Recording date
24 April 2009
Recording venue
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
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