Ondine's successful Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) recordings with the NDR Sinfonieorchester conducted by Christoph Eschenbach continue with another release featuring two major symphonic works by the composer: Symphonie ‘Mathis der Maler' and Symphonie in E-flat. The orchestra's and Christoph Eschenbach's previous Hindemith release together with Midori won a Grammy Award in 2014. The ‘Mathis der Maler' Symphony is based on an opera that treats the life of the Renaissance painter Mathias Grünewald. Hindemith started to work on the symphony already prior to the completion of the opera. The symphony was premiered with great success by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Wilhelm Furtwängler on 12 March 1934. Hindemith wrote his Symphonie in E-flat during his exile in the United States in 1940. The Symphony is absolute music in the tradition of the four-movement symphony of Beethoven and the romantic period.
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Markus Stenz and the Gürzenich Orchestra Köln have demonstrated a special aptitude for performing large scale post-Romantic works, notably the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, which they recorded for Oehms Classics as a series of hybrid SACDs. They have followed that impressive cycle with what is probably the most Mahlerian work Arnold Schoenberg ever composed, the massive Gurrelieder for solo voices, multiple choruses, and large orchestra. This 2015 Hyperion release is impressive in its crisp details, vibrant tone colors, and startling clarity, all of which are evident in the opening instrumental passages in the Prelude, and which continue through the nearly operatic vocal parts, which have remarkable presence in the face of an orchestra that exceeds Wagnerian proportions. The recording is presented on two CDs that offer extraordinary sound for digital stereo, and the only disappointment is that this wasn't released as a multichannel recording. Listeners who find Schoenberg's modernist music difficult may be more receptive to this cantata, which is his most openly Romantic score and strongly reminiscent of Wagner's music dramas. Highly recommended.
The first performances of Les Femmes Vengées (The Avenged Women) in 1775 restored the fortunes of Francois-André Danican Philidor, which had been wavering since the great success of Tom Jones a decade earlier. His opéra-comique, which foreshadows the plot of Mozarts Così fan tutte (Mozart had been in Paris during the first performances of Philidors work), offers delicious opportunities for mock-indignation and repartee in its arias and ensembles. This recording presents the complete music. Opera Lafayette and Ryan Browns recording of Philidors Sancho Pança [8.660274] was hailed as a witty, authentic interpretation by the American Record Guide.