This attractive album featuring the São Paolo Symphony Orchestra led by John Neschling includes three of Hindemith's most popular and appealing orchestral scores, all dating from the mid-'30s. Mathis der Maler, a 1934 symphony made up of three movements the composer incorporated into his opera of the same name, is a work with a mysteriously effective consolidation of seemingly disparate elements; it comes across as austere yet deeply intimate, and radiantly pure yet full of passion and ardor.
The Trio series is unquestionably, along with EMI's Gemini sets, one of the best available. This particular item is a complete set of Hindemith's orchestral works, and not only do we get full servings at over 60 minutes per CD, but you get fantastic performances as well. These Blomstedt SFSO/Leipzig Gewandhauser recordings were originally issued at full price on Decca, and when one hears them one can tell why.
Never one to relegate particular instruments to merely supporting roles, Hindemith composed his String Trio No. 1 (1924) with an eye (and ear) toward complete equality among the parts. The Trio is written in an almost constantly contrapuntal texture that makes much use of canon and fugue techniques; virtually the only instances where a homophonic texture is evident are those that mark important structural divisions of the movements. Though much of the music has an atonal feel, Hindemith provides a sense of direction by establishing tonal centers as points of momentary resolution. Typical of Hindemith's music of the early 1920s, the Trio is marked by a bracing, energetic spirit. The String Trio No. 2 strongly contrasts with its predecessor, the String Trio No. 1 (1924), which is marked by a strong feeling of atonality. When Hindemith wrote the present work nearly a decade later, his style had evolved somewhat. The Trio No. 2 is built on standard Classical forms but incorporates Hindemith's personal sense of tonality, in which any note or chord may be related to a given tonal center; the music has a refreshing, non-Romantic sound.
If you want a good sampling of Copland's orchestral works, then this 2-CD compilation comes highly recommended, with excellent performances of works such as Appalachian Spring, Quiet City, El Salón México and others. (Presto Classical)
In the 20th century, the great American composers – simmering in the mighty melting pot – evoked Hollywood glamour, folksy landscapes, irresistible swing, poignant nostalgia, showbiz pzazz, sweet sentiment, streetwise sophistication, and hypnotic minimalistic drive. This 6-CD box – featuring such citizens of the world as Simon Rattle, André Previn, The Labèque Sisters, Renaud Capuçon, Hélène Grimaud and Paavo Järvi – take us on an exhilarating journey across the musical horizons of the USA.