LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL Archives

CLASSICAL Archives


CLASSICAL@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL Home

CLASSICAL  January 2008

CLASSICAL January 2008

Subject:

Salad days

From:

Steve Schwartz <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Moderated Classical Music List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 18 Jan 2008 18:44:59 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (92 lines)

Kurt Weill & Paul Hindemith
Early Chamber Music

*  Kurt Weill:
       - String Quartet (1918)
       - String Quartet, op. 8
*  Paul Hindemith: Minimax

Leipzig String Quartet
MDG 3071071-2 Total time: 68:08

Summary for the Busy Executive: A fine reading of Weill's op. 8.  The
rest of it, why bother?

This CD presents early work by two of the most prominent German
composers after the war.  Add Schoenberg, Berg, and Toch, and you
basically have the A-team.  Weill's early maturity always astonished
me (he was born in 1900).  He wrote many of his best-known masterpieces
before the age of thirty.  Hindemith, about five years older and almost
entirely self-taught, had found major success as performer, teacher, and
composer.  Indeed, before Weill had finished his studies with Busoni,
Hindemith was running one of the most important new-music festivals in
Europe.

None of the works here typify the maturity of these composers.  Weill's
earlier quartet in b-minor stands firmly in the late Romantic era.  It
reflects his current studies with Humperdinck.  The most interesting
movement is a Mahlerian Laendler, and it brings to mind Lotte Lenya's
reminiscence of the first time she met Weill, to the effect that she
knew he was a composer because, like the other young composers she knew,
he dressed like Mahler.  The rest of it is good student work, but nothing
more.  The Hindemith counts as little more than a jape. He wrote it for
a private gathering of friends and supporters - a party piece. The title
Minimax puns on a well-known fire extinguisher and on the names of the
von Fuerstenbegs, Max and Wilhelmine (Minzi), the "protectors" of
Hindemith's Donaueschingen Festival.  Every movement title puns on
something.  For example, the second movement - "Ouvertuere zu 'Wasserdichter
und Vogelbauer'" (water-tight - or water-closet - and birdcage) - refers
to von Suppe's "Poet and Peasant" (Dichter und Bauer) Overture.
Unfortunately, the titles are more interesting than the music itself,
which could have been written by any competent composer of the period.
Significantly, Hindemith never published it and asked that his unpublished
works never be played after his death.  It does nothing for his currently
low reputation and isn't fair to the "real" music he wrote during the
same year, like the Fourth String Quartet and Das Marienleben.  He should
have destroyed it, rather than rely on good will.

The best work by far on the CD is Weill's String Quartet, op. 8, written
five years after the b-minor while the composer still studied with Busoni.
It's not yet the sound we associate with Weill - neither the sour and
acid of the European music, nor the bittersweet nostalgia of the American
- but it *is* the work of a great composer-to-be.  Weill withdrew the
first two of the original four movements and substituted a new first
movement before premiere and publication.  Unlike the earlier quartet,
the work belongs wholly to its time and shows many influences, some
superficially contradictory: a pinch of Expressionism, something of the
so-called "New Classicism," even some twists on Mahler.  Somehow, Weill
synthesizes all these strains into something his own.  The first movement,
an "Introduction," foreshadows the "Melodrama" of Die Dreigroschenoper.
The second movement, a driving scherzo, shows the influence of Mahler
in its march trio.  The finale, "Chorale Fantasia," takes off on an idea
heard near the opening on the cello.  The most elaborate of the three
movements and longer than the other two movements put together, it takes
the idea through several different imitative, though not strictly fugal,
treatments, song-plus-accompaniment, and rhapsody.  One interesting
feature, a distinctive rhythm, shows up years later in Dreigroschenoper,
again in the "Melodrama." Throughout the quartet, one notices Weill's
maturity and poise, his striving for balance and variety, both emotionally
and in his technical handling of the medium.  The simplest textures nudge
up against some fairly fierce and inventive counterpoint.  There's also
a psychological coolness to it that nevertheless suggests a disturbance
beneath the surface.  Above all, Weill knows how to keep things moving.
His use of rhythm in the service of form is nothing less than masterful.

The Leipzig Quartet plays beautifully, at times perhaps too beautifully.
They don't seem to understand that Minimax is crude fun.  On the other
hand, they deliver a lovely account of the least satirical movement,
"Dandelion at the Brook's Shore," a concert waltz. If it is satire,
nobody knows its target, and it may well be a Hindemith original.  If
so, I have to say I didn't know the old man had it in him.  They do a
professional job on the Weill b-minor quartet, but it's not a work that
will wow too many, no matter who plays it.  However, give them real meat,
like Weill's op. 8, and they deliver a sensitive, penetrating reading,
full of exquisite detail.

Steve Schwartz

             ***********************************************
The CLASSICAL mailing list is powered by L-Soft's renowned LISTSERV(R)
list management software together with L-Soft's HDMail High Deliverability
Mailer for reliable, lightning fast mail delivery.  For more information,
go to:  http://www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
July 1997

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager