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.
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)