Hindemith’s “Mathis der Maler” Symphony: An Artist in Society

In 1934, as the Nazis rose to power in his native Germany, Paul Hindemith worked concurrently on an opera and a symphony, both of which emerged from the same musical source. The opera, Mathis der Maler (“Mathias the Painter”), is a fictional account of the life of the German Renaissance painter, Mathias Grunewald (c. 1475-1528). It is set during Central Europe’s Peasants’ War of 1524, a brief, but tumultuous, rebellion which was …

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Stravinsky, Hindemith, and Poulenc: Three Twentieth Century Pastorales

With roots in the Baroque period, the musical pastorale evokes a serene, bucolic landscape. Often, it rolls along in a gentle 6/8 time and suggests the simple, free-floating melodies and drones of a shepherd’s bagpipes. J.S. Bach’s Pastorella In F Major, BWV 590 for organ, the final movement of Corelli’s “Christmas” Concerto, and the Pastoral Symphony from Handel’s Messiah are famous examples. The sound world of the twentieth century was dominated by …

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1963 Telecast: Hindemith Leads the CSO in Music of Hindemith, Bruckner, Brahms

In 1963, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was in transition. The French conductor, Jean Martinon, was beginning his five-year tenure as music director following the death of the legendary Fritz Reiner. Over the preceding ten years, the fierce and autocratic Reiner had turned the CSO into what Igor Stravinsky called, “the most precise and flexible orchestra in the world.” We hear the ensemble Reiner built in all of its glory in this April 7, …

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