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

'Hindemith: Violin Sonatas' (CDA68014)
Hindemith: Violin Sonatas
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Movement 1: Lebhaft
Movement 2: Ruhig und gemessen
Movement 3: Im Zeitmass und Charakter eines geschwinden Tanzes

Violin Sonata in D major, Op 11 No 2
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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