Paul Hindemith: Sonata for Viola and Piano – Sonata for Viola and Piano, Opus 25, N° 4 – Sonata for Viola and Piano, Opus 11, N° 4
Geraldine Walther (Viola), David Korevaar (Piano)
Recording: Grusin Hall, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado (March 24-26, 2014) – 57’32
MSR Classics # MS 1593 – Booklet in English
Paul Hindemith’s early age passion for viola eventually positioned himself inside a family trio featuring brother and sister playing violin and cello. The group frequently performed at the Frankfurter Kindertrio which also paved way for Hindemith’s further musical advancement as a viola virtuoso. As such, MSR Classic’s release of three viola/piano sonatas is a lasting tribute to the German composer that is substantially tendered by Geraldine Walther and David Korevaar.
These particular selections highlight the stylistic development over Hindemith’s lifetime. In the opening Sonata for Viola and Piano, we hear a more daring and dissonant composer with its shadings of Bartok by use of cadenza formation. But the ensuing Opus 25 brims with even more jarring overtones. Walther and Korevaar dissect the three movement sonata dynamics assiduously, yet there’s an occasionally softer side imbedded within this Hindemith music.
Though the album moves on a backward timeline, the listener, whose penchant favors a lighter melodic plane, will likely find Hindemith’s 1919 Opus 11 composition most satisfying. Walther and Korevaar have a musical chemistry that balances without edging into excessive triviality. There is a trail of clarity and substance. Paul Hindemith strings along a vast patchwork of themes and variations, bringing to the musical mantle a range of 20th century modernism. Walther’s and Korevaar’s concise musical inscription, saved as “best for last” in Opus 11, has become a repertoire favorite.