Markus Becker

Hindemith: Piano Sonatas

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Composed in 1936, the three piano sonatas of Paul Hindemith may be regarded as a balanced set, in much the same way as his three organ sonatas of 1937-1940, because they share intellectual and stylistic bases, and complement each other through their expressive differences. The melodic Piano Sonata No. 1 in A major is the most substantial in its five-movement structure and 25-minute length, which is more than twice the duration of the delicate and neo-classical Piano Sonata No. 2 in G major, while the energy of the Piano Sonata No. 3 in B flat major makes it the most direct and extroverted of the three. Characteristic of Hindemith's music, the sonatas are grounded in rigorous counterpoint and waywardly shifting tonality, both of which create stylistic unity. Markus Becker has recorded many albums for Hyperion, and he has garnered praise for the clarity and consistency of his playing in late Romantic and early modern piano music. His approach to Hindemith's sonatas and the rather austere Variations (a discarded movement from the Sonata No. 1) is clear-headed and serious, though he makes every effort to bring out the subtle moods, which at times can seem obscured by the music's cerebral qualities. Hyperion's recording is clean and focused, and every note is plainly audible.

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