Hindemith Complete Music for Viola – Lawrence Power [Volume 1]

0 of 5 stars

Sonata for Viola and Piano (1939)
Sonata in F for Viola and Piano, Op.11/4
Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op.25/4Nobilissima visione – Meditation [arranged by the composer for viola and piano]

Lawrence Power (viola) & Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano)

Recorded 25-27 April 2008 in Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: June 2009
Duration: 58 minutes



enfant terrible period!).

This first release in Hyperion’s very welcome Hindemith/Viola series includes an extract from Nobilissima visione (music for a ballet based on the life of St Francis of Assisi); the haunting ‘Meditation’ finds the saint at prayer, and in the composer’s viola-and-piano transcription we are presented with an intense and soulful meditation movingly played by Lawrence Power with fine support from Simon Crawford-Phillips in a balanced and immediate recording that does full justice to both musicians.

That’s the final track (although a good place to start). The ‘meat’ of the recital is heard in the three sonatas, the one from 1939 (opening the disc) being a four-movement work of bravura and contemplative invention welded into a powerfully argued statement of compelling intent. Whether it be the energised first movement, the furtive scherzo, the ruminative slow movement or the variety of the finale, this is music of substance and is given an absorbing performance.

The other two sonatas are from earlier, the one in F major from 1919, which begins lovingly, really quite touching; this is music that seems to look back and is melodically charming while being personal and with an attractive degree of fantasy and also a display of muscle that suggests great confidence. From three years later, the Sonata from Opus 25 is more rugged, more like the great Hindemith to come, the first movement akin to a spring uncoiled, the second lonely and uncertain (the viola spinning an imploring line) and the finale blunt and freewheeling (but with the control of a craftsman) and enjoying Bartókian edge and attack.

With such immaculate performances (both musicians are magnificent), recording-quality and presentation, this is a winner of a release, one that keenly anticipates the next in the series and, hopefully, if one is needed, a revival of fortune for the music of Paul Hindemith.

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