Tanja Becker-Bender / Péter Nagy

Hindemith: Violin Sonatas

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While Paul Hindemith's principle instrument was the viola, he first played the violin and composed several important works for it. His four sonatas for violin and piano reflect two stylistic phases: the early Violin Sonata in E flat major, Op. 11/1, and the Violin Sonata in D major, Op. 11/2, both composed in 1918, show Hindemith's youthful attachment to late Romanticism, but the later unnumbered Violin Sonata in E major of 1935 and the Violin Sonata in C major of 1939 reflect the modernist system he had used since the 1920s, employing a contrapuntal method influenced by Bach and Reger. Yet in spite of their striking differences, these sonatas are frequently recorded as a set, and violinist Tanja Becker-Bender and pianist Péter Nagy present them together on this Hyperion release, along with the Meditation from Nobilissima visione, dating from 1938. There is a consistent liveliness of expression and ease of communication between the players that make the performances quite fresh, and Becker-Bender and Nagy give the sonatas distinct characterizations, which keeps the program exciting. Hyperion's sound is clean and focused, so the violin and piano have a natural presence in the resonant church space.

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