HINDEMITH Violin Sonatas

Becker-Bender’s Hindemith on the heels of Zimmermann

Author: 
Guy Rickards
CDA68014. HINDEMITH Violin Sonatas. Tanja Becker-Bender

HINDEMITH Violin Sonatas

  • Sonata for Violin and Piano
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano
  • Meditation

No sooner has the dust settled on Frank Peter Zimmermann’s wonderful disc of three of Hindemith’s sonatas for violin and piano (with the Concerto) than along comes this newcomer, collecting all four of them plus the Meditation from Nobilissima visione. The first two were written in close proximity to each other within the Op 11 set of six sonatas for various (string) instruments. The E flat First was intended as a sonatina in three movements but, having completed the ethereal second movement, Im Zeitmass eines langsamen, feierlichen Tanzes, Hindemith realised it was complete as it was and – while brief (under 10 minutes) – a true sonata, and abandoned the finale (Ulf Wallin recorded it in his survey), rightly I think. The larger D major has overtones of Reger and the then newly deceased Debussy. Its lively finale is a real treat, especially in Tanja Becker-Bender’s superb account.

The final two sonatas were composed in 1935 and 1939 respectively, after Hindemith ceased using opus numbers, and are again in two and three movements. The brief E major is scarcely longer than Op 11 No 1 but expressively is worlds away, with a sense of calm that belies the stress he was under as a cultural target and exemplar of degeneracy denounced regularly by the Nazi regime. The final C major is one of the jewels in Hindemith’s sonata crown and draws superb playing from Becker-Bender and Nagy. Indeed, they are superb throughout and as a complete survey edge past Wallin and Pöntinen. Where the latter impress in technical acuity, the newcomers do so in expressive understanding of the music. Zimmermann and Pace remain formidable competition for three of the sonatas and the Concerto coupling is special indeed. But if Becker-Bender were to record the Concerto…

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