Hindemith: Kammermusik 1-7; Der Schwanendreher

Claudio Abbado

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Hindemith: Kammermusik 1-7; Der Schwanendreher Review

by James Leonard

The first flush of the digital era brought about a boatload of unexpected recordings, including this set of Hindemith's Kammermusik by Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker. Prior to Abbado's, there had already been two superlative recordings in the digital era: Riccardo Chailly and the Concertgebouw Orchestra's propulsive and virtuosic 1990 Decca recording and Markus Stenz and the Ensemble Modern's angular and aggressive 1993 RCA recording. But Abbado was a big fan of the composer, and he had the perfect orchestra for the job in the virtuosic Berliner Philharmoniker; their performances are as well played as Chailly's, but less driven and more musical than Stenz's. With first-class soloists drawn mostly from the orchestra, plus Lars Vogt as a spectacular pianist in Kammermusik No. 2, all parts are superbly covered. And as is almost always the case with Abbado, the conducting is alert, alive, and energetic with complete commitment to the details, the long line, and the big climax. Coupled with violist Tabea Zimmermann's dedicated and determined 1989 recording of Hindemith's Der Schwandenreher with David Shelton leading the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, these vivid 1996 and 1999 recordings are a clear first choice for these odd but engaging works.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Kammermusik No.1, for 12 instruments, Op. 24/1
1 Claudio Abbado 01:07 Amazon
2 Claudio Abbado 03:03 Amazon
3 Claudio Abbado 03:56 Amazon
4 Claudio Abbado 06:07 Amazon
Kammermusik No.2, for piano & 12 instruments, Op. 36/1
5 Claudio Abbado 03:10 Amazon
6 Claudio Abbado 08:36 Amazon
7 Claudio Abbado 01:37 Amazon
8 Claudio Abbado 05:39 Amazon
Kammermusik No.3, for cello and 10 instruments, Op. 36/2
9 Claudio Abbado 02:19 Amazon
10 Claudio Abbado 04:14 Amazon
11 Claudio Abbado 07:16 Amazon
12 Claudio Abbado 02:51 Amazon
Kammermusik No.4, for concerto for violin & chamber orchestra, Op. 36/3
13 Claudio Abbado 02:07 Amazon
14 Claudio Abbado 05:41 Amazon
15 Claudio Abbado 07:54 Amazon
16 Claudio Abbado 03:25 Amazon
17 Claudio Abbado 02:03 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick