Hindemtih: Viola Works, Vol. 1
Viola players owe a great deal to Hindemith, who in four concertos and seven sonatas made an outstanding contribution to the literature of his own instrument. With a number of very fine players out there all recording this music, we are increasingly spoiled for choice. Yet despite recent competition from such an outstanding musician as Lawrence Power, Tabea Zimmermann’s first volume of a complete survey immediately takes its place among the very best, not least for the warmer, woodier tone that she produces and puts to such musically penetrating use. In Der Schwanendreher, written in 1935 and dealing with loneliness and departure, Zimmermann projects a lyricism that is unbearably poigant.
Hindemith never got to play Der Schwanendreher in Germany, but did travel the following year to London to play its British premiere – a performance abandoned when King George V died. Hindemith then composed in its place, and played, Trauermusik, a far from typical ‘occasional’ piece which shares its meditative spirit with his contemporaneous operatic masterpiece, Mathis der Maler.
Zimmermann has all the technical acuity for the opening of Kammermusik No. 5, entering into exciting dialogue with Hans Graf and his Berlin orchestra. Konzertmusik No. 5 is notable as the first recording of the longer, original version, restoring a beautiful slow movement.