Hindemith: Violin Concerto; Kammermusik No. 4, Op. 36/3; Tuttifäntchen Suite

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COMPOSERS: Hindemith
LABELS: CPO
WORKS: Violin Concerto; Kammermusik No. 4, Op. 36/3; Tuttifäntchen Suite
PERFORMER: Dene Olding (violin); Queensland SO/Werner Andreas Albert
CATALOGUE NO: 999 527-2
Hindemith’s 1939 Violin Concerto, one of his finest works, hasn’t been often recorded; any prospective performer must take close note of David Oistrakh’s classic reading, with the composer conducting, made in the last year of Hindemith’s life. Dene Olding, a highly impressive young Australian virtuoso, has clearly consulted it on tempi and approach – yet his phrasing is often very different and the approach is fresh, clear, almost classical as opposed to the fervent romanticism of Oistrakh’s interpretation. He’s well aided by lively, pointed playing from the Queensland Orchestra under Albert, and the recording, vivid and full-bodied, is the best I have heard CPO obtain from this source.

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The same virtues inform the tough and sinewy Kammermusik violin concerto of 1925, given an exciting and incisive account that points up its close kinship to Kurt Weill and Weimar Germany’s acid strain of satire. Fine performances of this work exist in Decca’s and BMG’s complete sets of the Kammermusik concertos, but this is the best individual one currently available, and in a logical and useful coupling. The Tuttifantchen suite (1922), assembled from the music to a Christmas pantomime (hear ‘O come all ye Faithful’ at the end) is slight but charming – one movement’s a blatant rip-off of Golliwogg’s Cakewalk – and makes a pleasant filler. Calum MacDonald