Hindemith: Sonatas for...

Alexander Melnikov

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Hindemith: Sonatas for... Review

by Blair Sanderson

Ever practical in his methods, Paul Hindemith composed over 30 sonatas for various instruments, which, in addition to his theoretical concerns, reflected a utilitarian aspect of his work, even though they weren't intended as Gebrauchsmusik. This 2015 album from Harmonia Mundi offers five sonatas, composed between 1935 and 1948, which have become standard repertoire for students and are usually heard in recitals, though much less frequently on commercial recordings. The sonatas for alto horn, violoncello, trombone, violin, and trumpet make a balanced program, and the consistency of Hindemith's chromatic yet tonal music makes the album approachable, even though the pieces at times may seem a little dry and cerebral. Alto hornist Teunis van der Zwart, cellist Alexander Rudin, trombonist Gérard Costes, violinist Isabelle Faust, and trumpeter Jeroen Berwaerts are the featured artists and they are extremely polished in their playing, while virtuoso pianist Alexander Melnikov provides something greater than mere accompaniment in these energetic and expressive performances. The reproduction is focused and noise-free, so every detail of this highly contrapuntal music is fully audible.

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