Paul Hindemith

Kleine Kammermusik, for wind quintet, Op. 24/2

    Description by Mark Satola

    Hindemith at his most deadpan is to be found in this small, five-movement wind quintet, which was published along with the Kammermusik No. 1, Op. 24, No. 1, though it shares neither instrumentation nor character with its raucous, jazz-influenced companion. The sense of humor so characteristic of Hindemith in the 1920s here shares the spotlight with notably resourceful and virtuosic writing for the small ensemble.

    The first movement is a march, lighthearted and civilian in nature, with much cross-rhythmic play among the instruments and a dissonant polytonality that is more comic and friendly than challenging. Hindemith had the unique ability to master in a few hours' time nearly any instrument he picked up, and his innate understanding of the woodwinds results in music so natural to the instruments that it seems almost to compose itself as it's played. The march is closed by an amiable shrug from the clarinet.

    A simple waltz, wryly subverted by polytonal flights of fancy and Milhaud-like "wrong" notes, pokes fun at the sentimental fare then popular in Europe. It's followed by a fairly serious slow movement, in which a dour theme in thirds, with a prominent "Scotch snap," frames a furtive middle section featuring a quietly ominous chord sequence over which a long-breathed theme arches.

    The fourth movement is almost a fragment, less than a minute in length, in which dissonant, scolding chords are separated by mini-cadenzas for each of the instruments. The finale is a swinging, swaggering march in which open fifths in the lower instruments are answered by a broad arch of theme in major and minor thirds. The demands on the ensemble are greatest here, but the music, when well-played, is exhilarating.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Lustig. Mäßig schnelle Viertel
    2. Walzer. Durchweg sehr leise
    3. Ruhig und einfach. Achtel - Im gleichen ruhigen Zeitmass (nicht scherzando!)
    4. Schnelle Viertel
    5. Sehr lebhaft

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Coviello Classics COV 91613
    2015 Chandos CHAN 10876
    2014 Warner Classics 2564634845
    2013 Delta Classics DLT 90094
    2013 Brilliant Classics 9447
    2013 BIS BIS 2072
    2011 Accord
    2011 Island/Def Jam / Universal F480 411-8
    2009 Denon Records
    2008 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2008 Brilliant Classics 8161
    2007 Crystal Records Dist. 601
    2004 Nimbus 5728
    2003 Deux-Elles 1025
    2001 Boston Records 1062
    2000 Naxos 553851
    2000 Ars Musici 5087
    1999 Nuova Era 7075
    1997 Arcobaleno 94002
    1997 Koch Discover International DICD920395
    1996 Sony Music Distribution 64400
    1996 BIS 752
    1996 Boston Skyline 139
    1995 Syrinx Record 95101
    1995 CPO 999229
    1994 BIS 291
    1994 Koch Schwann 311632
    1992 Valois 4639
    1992 London 433816
    Decca 433816
    Pan 75001
    Denon Records 8004