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Track(s) taken from CDA67769

Sonata for solo viola, Op 31 No 4

1923; first performed by Hindemith in Donaueschingen on 18 May 1924

Lawrence Power (viola)
Recording details: April 2009
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: February 2010
Total duration: 16 minutes 44 seconds

Cover artwork: Lightning across glass building by Lincoln Seligman (b1950)
Private Collection / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Power's warmly rounded tone and searching interpretations cast the most favourable possible light on this wonderful if sometimes astringent music … though such fine players as Nobuko Imai and Kim Kashkashian have made important Hindemith discs, Power's series—soon to progress into a third and final volume with the works for viola and orchestra—is the most comprehensive and satisfying' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Power's performances—characterised by his trademark tonal richness and easy, almost nonchalant technical brilliance—leave no doubt about the weighty seriousness of the music, and its significance for Hindemith' (The Guardian)

'Aided and abetted by Hyperion's close, lifelike recording quality, Power gives an absolutely stunning demonstration of viola playing, with no concessions to Hindemith's daunting demands' (The Strad)

'Paul Hindemith, himself a major viola player, left one of the most important of 20th-century legacies for his own instrument, including the four solo sonatas recorded here. They make a protean collection … Op 25 No 1, written in 1922 when Hindemith was at his most radical, includes a movement marked 'Wild. Tonal beauty is of minor importance.' Lawrence Power easily encompasses the many moods. He has a giant sound at his command – he can make the instrument sound as if it’s being played by a man striding with seven league boots—and he makes every moment gripping' (The Irish Times)

'L'équilibre trouvé par l'altiste Lawrence Power … est tout simplement parfait. Paul Hindemith gagne beaucoup à être fréquenté par de tels talents' (Classica, France)
Hindemith’s Sonata for unaccompanied viola Op 31 No 4, composed during 1923 but not performed until the following year, confirmed the severity of his new style, but already presages greater freedom. The first of the three movements is a remarkable test of virtuosity in the manner of a vigorous moto perpetuo, with flashes of wit and pounding, obsessive folk dance rhythms. The slow movement, headed ‘Lied’, is song-like: a gracious and intricate lyric interlude. Like Op 11 No 5, this sonata ends with a massive finale, lasting longer than the other movements combined. Here it is a set of variations on a rather rustic, even quasi-medieval theme propounded at the outset. The sequence of variations is divided into three large spans, at first increasingly virtuosic, then slow and inwardly expressive, and finally working up to an earnest and grandiloquent conclusion. Hindemith gave the premiere of this sonata in Donaueschingen on 18 May 1924.

from notes by Malcolm MacDonald © 2010

La Sonate pour alto solo op. 31 no 4, composée en 1923 mais jouée seulement l’année suivante, confirma l’austérité du nouveau style de Hindemith, tout en présageant un regain de liberté. Le premier des trois mouvements est une remarquable épreuve de virtuosité, en façon de vigoureux moto perpetuo, avec des traits d’esprit et des rythmes de danse folkloriques obsessionnels, martelés. Le mouvement lent, intitulé «Lied», est à la manière d’une chanson: un gracieux et complexe interlude lyrique. Comme l’op. 11 no 5, cette sonate s’achève sur un finale massif, plus long que tous les autres mouvements réunis. C’est une série de variations sur un thème assez rustique, voire quasi médiéval, lancé par l’alto. La séquence de variations se partage en trois grands volets, d’abord de plus en plus virtuoses, puis lents et secrètement expressifs pour finalement atteindre une conclusion fervente, grandiloquente. Hindemith donna la première de cette œuvre à Donaueschingen le 18 mai 1924.

extrait des notes rédigées par Malcolm MacDonald © 2010
Français: Hypérion

Ein Jahr später bestätigte Hindemiths 1923 komponierte, aber erst im folgenden Jahr uraufgeführte Sonate für Bratsche solo, op. 31 Nr. 4 die Strenge dieses neuen Stils, weist aber schon auf größere Freiheit voraus. Der erste der drei Sätze ist eine bemerkenswerte Virtuositätsprobe im Stil eines lebhaften Moto perpetuo mit gelegentlichen Geistesblitzen und stampfenden, besessenen Tanzrhythmen. Der langsame Satz mit der Überschrift „Lied“ ist ein anmutiges, intrikat-lyrisches Zwischenspiel. Wie op. 11 Nr. 5 endet auch diese Sonate mit einem gewaltigen Finale, das so lange dauert wie die übrigen Sätze zusammen. Es ist ein Variationensatz über ein rustikales, quasi mittelalterliches Thema, das die Bratsche am Anfang vorstellt. Die Abfolge der Variationen fällt in drei große Abschnitte, zuerst zunehmend virtuos, dann langsam und innig-expressiv und steigert sich schließlich in einen seriösen, grandiosen Abschluss. Hindemith spielte die Uraufführung dieser Sonate am 18. Mai 1924 in Donaueschingen.

aus dem Begleittext von Malcolm MacDonald © 2010
Deutsch: Renate Wendel

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