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Hindemith, anyone?

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by jim_24601, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. jim_24601

    jim_24601 New Member

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    Another composer we don't hear a lot of is Paul Hindemith. His output for solo piano isn't that vast, but it does include the monumental Ludus Tonalis (often translated "A Game of Tones" ... unfortunately he never got to complete the planned sequels "A Clash of Keys" and "A Storm of Chords") with its 12 fugues topped and tailed by a prelude and a postlude that is its retrograde inversion, and separated by interludes.

    Here I submit a fugue and an interlude from Ludus Tonalis. "Fuga Quinta" in E is a lively fugue based around a falling motif and its inversion, with an ever-more elaborate counter-subject. The following interlude is more quiet and introspective. I've attached them as separate files because the interludes do not belong to a particular fugue but separate and modulate between them. The interludes are not numbered in the book, nor do they have a specific key, so I've just numbered it according to its position.


    Hindemith - Ludus Tonalis - Interludium No. 5 in E major(0:55)
    Hindemith - Ludus Tonalis - Fuga No. 5 in E major(1:13)
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    That is excellent work Jim ! The Interludium is maybe a tad tentative, but the fugue swings for all it's worth. This one could almost come from Kapustin's Op.82 (a set you might like). Brilliantly done.

    Hindemith will not be to everyone's taste. His tonal language can be dour, even sour, and his invention can be academic rather than spontaneous. But when he's good, he's very good, as in this fugue. I'm glad to see some of the Ludus on the site at last. Some years ago David Bryce submitted some, they were not bad but not quite ready yet. These ones are, I'll put them up shortly. I'll be looking forward to more of this from you.

    Now we'll need a Hindemith page with a bio, and some blurb for the Ludus page. Hint, hint, .... :lol:
     
  3. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Jim,
    Earlier someone started a thread about what things they didn't like in music: I listed Hindemith. But I have to say that I like this fugue you play very much and think you do a very fine job of it! Your execution was very clean and sure. From now on I'll say that "I don't care a whole lot for the music of Hindemith, but he has some good music." I think that is advancement :wink:

    Eddy
     
  4. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Those are wonderful performances.

    I'm not a huge Hindemith fan, but I have not experienced that much. Mostly accompaniments to his music for various instruments that I had to accompany for student recitals when I was in college. For some reason, everyone that I was assigned to accompany by my piano teacher was doing something 20th cent., not the great literature from previous centuries.

    I particularly like the fugue. It is a bit Dave Brubeck meets Bach's "Jig Fugue".

    Scott
     
  5. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Jim,

    This is the first of Hindemith's piano music that I've heard. I don't have the scores but my sense is that you play this often cerebral music very well indeed--it's crisp, engaging and convincing. I think you did a marvelous job preparing and performing/recording these pieces.

    David
     
  6. jim_24601

    jim_24601 New Member

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    Thanks Chris! I do actually have a copy of Kapustin's op.82 ... unfortunately most if not all of the set is way too hard for me :(

    I saw that post from David Bryce when browsing the archives. It's a shame he didn't follow up on it. This music seems to have a reputation for being very dry and cerebral. That's not the vibe I get, but it's all too easy to make it into a set of finger exercises if you approach it with the idea that's all you're going to get out of it. I think there's a definite undercurrent of humour throughout, and if a little of it came through in my playing I am very pleased :D

    I can do you a paragraph or so on the Ludus Tonalis, but it probably won't be for a couple of days, I'm pretty busy this week.

    One thing ... the interlude should actually follow the fugue. Since they're not numbered, I'm effectively taking the prelude to be interlude 0, so it goes prelude, fugue 1, interlude 1 ... fugue 5, interlude 5 ... interlude 11, fugue 12, postlude.
     
  7. jim_24601

    jim_24601 New Member

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    An advancement indeed, thank you Eddy! It takes a bit of getting used to, but I think you get out of it what you put in, to a great extent. I enjoyed learning the fugue, in particular, immensely, and I'm glad some of that enjoyment seems to have come across.
     
  8. jim_24601

    jim_24601 New Member

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    Thank you, Scott. Hindemith wrote for a large variety of instruments ... he was a viola player himself, so he probably felt a great deal of sympathy towards the less "glamorous" instruments :) The advantage of being a solo player, of course, is that you can pick and choose what you want to play. The 20th century I always think is a bit of a mixed bag, with everybody going off and experimenting in different directions, but there are some real gems in amongst it.
     
  9. jim_24601

    jim_24601 New Member

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    Thank you, David. Hindemith wasn't a piano composer specifically, but Ludus Tonalis is certainly one of the great piano works of the 20th century. I thought it was about time we got some up at Piano Society. I actually did this same interlude and the following fugue in E flat for my Grade 8, all those years ago ... I remember it being the piece I felt the least confident with; I wasn't really sure I understood it, although it must have spoken to me on some level or I wouldn't have chosen it. I recall I got quite a good mark for it, though, so I can't have wrecked it completely ;) The book then sat on my shelf for the best part of 18 years, until I had one of my "I've got all this music, I should really try playing some of it" moments. And there you go. I may try to do some more in due course, though I can't say when it would be.
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Oh, don't let that stop you :p A couple are accessible if you set your mind to it.

    No hurry at all !

    Right, changed that.
     
  11. StephenC

    StephenC New Member

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    I agree. He is not a piano composer. I have heard and somehow researched about Hindemith. He is a German composer, music theorist and conductor, violist and violinist. Hindemith's most popular work, both on record and in the concert hall, is probably the Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, written in 1943. It takes melodies from various works by Weber, mainly piano duets, but also one from the overture to his incidental music for Turandot (Op. 37/J. 75), and transforms and adapts them so that each movement of the piece is based on one theme.
     
  12. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Pace Wikipedia :roll: :D
     

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