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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