for brass and strings, Op 50, was commissioned to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. It is the final piece in a triptych of similarly titled works from 1929–30, which offer perspicuity while preserving harmonic and structural sophistication. Like the earlier Kammermusik
, they recall the concertino and ripieno groups of the Baroque concerto grosso, here applied to two departments of the orchestra. In the first part—itself comprising two sections—the brass states a bold chorale-like theme against energetic string counterpoint. Hindemith continues to make a virtue of the timbral differences between the two instrumental groups, not least in the fugue that dominates the second part of the work. The busy chatter of the exposition is the strings’ domain, while the brass provides three-chord punctuation. The viola, Hindemith’s instrument, leads the middle section, as yearning as the fugue was determined, before the counterpoint kicks in once more.
from notes by Gavin Plumley © 2013