David Korevaar’s Fine Hindemith Cycle

Review by: Jed Distler

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Artistic Quality: 8

Sound Quality: 8

David Korevaar often is a colorful, stimulating, and provocative pianist. Think, for example, of his Bach Goldberg Variations and Well-Tempered Clavier cycles, and his Ivory Classics Brahms Variations, late Beethoven sonatas, and Dohnányi releases. With that in mind, his relatively straightforward Hindemith playing may surprise.

His presentation of the Three Piano Sonatas may not match Markus Becker’s Hyperion recording for interpretive nuance or luminous sonics, yet there’s much to admire, even in the rarely heard and frankly dour First Sonata. For instance, the pianist’s attention to voicing in the finale minimizes the music’s square-cut rhythmic regularity. Incidentally, both Becker and Kalle Randalu (MDG) include the First Sonata’s discarded original second-movement variations along with the final five-movement text.

If Korevaar doesn’t quite evoke the implied woodwind effect in Hindemith’s phrasing of the second subject of the Second Sonata’s first movement, the central Lebhaft lilts with an appropriately light touch. His Third Sonata fugal finale is playful and supple in comparison with Glenn Gould’s forceful projection, although Gould’s audaciously breakneck yet impeccably controlled second movement remains unbeatable.

The pianist fares best in the Suite “1922”. Compared alongside Anna Gourari’s recent ECM recording, Korevaar judges the Marsch’s ornaments to more humorous cakewalking effect and brings out the Shimmy’s dance rhythms more idiomatically. By contrast, Gourari’s faster, more shapely Nachstück conveys a stronger sense of line than in Korevaar’s slower, relatively static reading. Although Gourari’s right hand scintillates in the closing Ragtime movement, Korevaar’s stronger left-hand presence seems more stylistically apt.

In truth, no complete Hindemith Piano Sonata cycle completely satisfies, although Becker’s superior sonics and inclusion of the aforementioned discarded First Sonata movement tip the scales in favor of a top recommendation. But then you’d miss out on Korevaar ‘s masterful “1922”, and fine work elsewhere. Korevaar provides his own informative and concise booklet notes.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Sonata No. 3: Gould (Sony), Wild (Ivory Classics), Three Sonatas: Becker (Hyperion)

  • David Korevaar (piano)

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