Movement 1: Ruhig bewegt
Movement 2: Sehr lebhaft
Movement 3: Mässig schnell
Movement 4: Fuge: Lebhaft
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