Sunday, December 21, 2014

Paul Hindemith - Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano - Dmitri Shostakovich - Piano Quintet in G minor - The Boston Symphony Chamber Players

This recording on Arabesque was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for "Best Chamber Music Performance." It's easy to hear why, and to my ears and mind no ensemble has, to this day, one-upped these impeccable, dare I say 'perfect' readings.

When the Nazis took power in Germany, Hindemith was already unwelcome, having 'offended' Hitler some years earlier. In 1939, Serge Koussevitzky invited Hindemith to teach composition at the Tanglewood Conservatory, and happily Hindemith accepted, and he wrote the Quartet at the end of a U.S. concert tour. Members of The Boston Symphony Orchestra gave the work its premiere performance in 1939. The Quartet is noteworthy for its gentle nature and fluid interaction among the instrumentalists. The Boston players simply shine in this music, with especially memorable contributions by the clarinetist, William R. Hudgins

Dmitri Shostakovich lived under the ever-threatening shadow of Joseph Stalin and worked in constant fear of evoking the dictator's ire. The five-movement Quintet was written in the dark period between the start of World War II and the Nazi invasion of Russia. An extremely moving work by one of the great geniuses of our time, it offers the fascinating juxtaposition of pathos and sardonic humor that is typical of Shostakovich. The composer played the piano part at the work's premiere and pianist Gilbert Kalish assumes the role with skill on this recording. This Piano Quintet is a chamber masterpiece in my humble opinion. 


Track listing:

Paul Hindemith "Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano" (1938)

1)With moderate movement (6:58)
2)Very slow (8:47)
3)With moderate movement-Lively-Moving calmly-Very lively (10:46) 

Dmitri Shostakovich "Piano Quintet in G minor" Op. 57 (1940)

4)Prelude. Lento (4:39)
5)Fugue. Adagio (9:39)
6)Scherzo. Allegretto (3:25)
7)Intermezzo. Lento (6:37)
8)Finale. Allegretto (7:16)



Patt.Gutti said...

Schidlowsky's Requiem?

Tzadik said...

Hi Patt, I do not have the Requiem I'm afraid. I have his Missa Sine Nomine someplace (it is not commercially released), but to be honest I haven't seen that disc in years and thus it might take ages searching for it. I can keep it in mind however if you do not already have it.. Tz

theblueamos said...

Hi TZ !you are right this is a fantastic performance.I think the most touching I listened to.I have to find the time to compare,which means finding out where the others are.BIG BALAGAN!!In the meantime thank you very much.Happy new year,a better year.and best wishes from Jerusalem.

Tzadik said...

Hi t.b.a., I am happy you find the performance as I do. Simply stellar.. Happy (almost) new year to you too, for me I figure things have been so hard this year that things can only be better in 2015...well I'm trying to be positive! -Regards TZ