Hindemith Violin Concerto; Kammermusik No 4; Tuttifäntchen

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Hindemith Violin Concerto; Kammermusik No 4; Tuttifäntchen

  • Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
  • Kammermusik No. 4
  • Tuttifäntchen Suite

Hindemith’s Violin Concerto of 1939 is a splendid piece, yet unaccountably has never enjoyed the same success as, say, Bartok’s Second. Beautifully constructed, it was written in exile on the eve of the Second World War, though one would never guess this from its easy lyricism. Hindemith’s earlier concerto, Kammermusik No. 4, was composed in 1925 at the height of his iconoclastic period. Very different pieces expressively as they are, Dene Olding plays both very well, with a warm, full tone, ably supported by Werner Andreas Albert and the Queensland orchestra. Guttman, in the only other coupling of the concertos, sounds thin and shrill by comparison; Olding and Albert are also snappier in tempo, shaving minutes off both works. That said, if the Kammermusik is the main priority the main recommendation must remain with Kolja Blacher for EMI, or Kulka in the Gramophone Award-winning Decca set. In the 1939 Concerto, Oistrakh and Fuchs lead the way (I would like to hear Blacher tackle it), though both these versions are around 40 years old. Olding’s is the best of the rest.
The Tuttifantchen Suite, drawn from music to a children’s entertainment in 1922, makes for an odd bedfellow, neither top-notch Hindemith nor particularly recognizable as the work of the same composer. Incidental Sibelius, low-grade Elgar, even Scott Joplin emerge rather from its pleasant-enough weft. ASV’s couplings of the Concerto for Orchestra, Ragtime and Suite of French Dances are more characterful, and Tortelier give a better performance on Chandos and also has the benefit of a superior recording.'

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