Review by: David Hurwitz
Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 9
Yes, there are many fine versions of these works, and these performances stand among them. Hindemith doesn’t offer the interpreter many opportunities to give his music a distinctive profile: the key is keeping tempos lively and the playing up to snuff. Järvi does just that. Mathis der Maler’s finale is especially tricky in this respect, and here it moves with dispatch. The Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber similarly has plenty of virtuosity and brilliance. The Turandot-Scherzo really rocks, with the woodwind giggling maniacally and the brass having a blast.
The couplings are also interesting. Nobody plays the Five Pieces for String Orchestra in concert, but they are, like most Hindemith, good, solid music with plenty of character. Ragtime is supposed to be a funny parody of the C major fugue from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1, but like most Hindemithian attempts at humor, the result comes across and more awkward and clunky. Järvi does all he can with it, though. Fine sonics cap a really fine release of music that seems to be hanging on to the fringes of the repertoire by its fingernails.
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Recording Details:Reference Recording: Mathis: Steinberg/BSO (DG); Symphonic Metamorphoses: Szell (Sony)
- HINDEMITH, PAUL:Symphony "Mathis der Maler"; Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber; Five Pieces for String Orchestra; Ragtime