Hindemith Violin Concerto, etc
The spine of this new disc boldly but misleadingly proclaims “Hindemith: Violin Works”, since only two (albeit the biggest) of the five works feature a solo violin. True, there is a prominent solo in the first movement of the Concerto for Orchestra (1925), but it is played by the Philharmonia’s leader, Hugh Bean, not the soloist in the two concertos, Michael Guttman. Still, ASV’s coupling of Hindemith’s two concertos, which with a combined total of 56 minutes would have been issued alone by most companies, is most valuable and the only such pairing. Indeed, this is the first commercial recording of the 1939 Violin Concerto for over 25 years (at least that is available in the UK).
The Kammermusik (1925) has fared rather better, and Guttman seems more at home with its more abrasive textures than in the warmer language of the later work. Beautifully phrased and sensitive as his playing is, his tone is not really big enough for the concerto, and a propensity for sharp intonation makes him sound a little shrill in more exposed passages. If this concerto is your main priority, then go to Gertler, Stern or Fuchs (all at mid price). With the Kammermusik the choice is tight, and dependent on whether you want the whole set or not. But this is a cannily planned programme, distinguished by fine playing from the Philharmonia and sympathetic interpretations from Serebrier. In the Concerto for Orchestra, there is little to choose between him and Jarvi, though the Rag Time could have a little more bite. The Suite of French Dances is new to disc (a rival from Koch is imminent) and nicely done.'