1919, 1922, 1923, 2010, Music

Hindemith: The Complete Viola Music 2 (2010) by Lawrence Power

  1. Part 2 of Power’s performances of Hindemith’s viola music focuses on the sonatas for solo viola, of which Hindemith also wrote three. Though these all lack the incredible, complex and difficult piano parts of their cousins, that doesn’t make them any less impressive and, not surprisingly, the viola parts are more complex.

The first sonata is another one of Hindemith’s pieces where he straddles tradition and the avant garde, echoing the past, but playing with tempo (particularly) and tonality in ways that would be pretty foreign to even listeners of the late 19th century. It is a worthy partner to the first viola/piano sonata, which is part of the same opus.

The second sonata is more subtle and, frankly, pales in comparison to the great viola/piano sonata it was paired with in its opus. It’s still a fine piece of music, but I feel like the other “2nd” sonata is one of the great works for viola of the early 20th century. And this is more”nice.” This just sounds a lot more conservative. It reminds me of some older cello pieces.

The third sonata is vigorous and engaging in ways that the second (and even the first) is not. Like the first, it jumps around with tempo and its tonal range. It might actually be my favourite of the three.

Though I don’t quite find these the equals of Hindemith’s other viola sonatas (the ones with piano), this is still an impressive collection of viola music and again marks some of the best I’ve heard from the 20th century, and best for the era, probably.


  1. Sonata Op 11 No 5: Lebhaft, Aber Nicht Geeilt 2:45
  2. Sonata Op 11 No 5: Mässig Schnell, Mit Viel Wärme Vortragen 4:10
  3. Sonata Op 11 No 5: Scherzo: Schnell 2:55
  4. Sonata Op 11 No 5: In Form Und Zeitmass Einer Passacaglia: Das Thema Sehr Gehalten 8:47
  5. Sonata Op 25 No 1: Breit Viertel – 1:46
  6. Sonata Op 25 No 1: Sehr Frisch Und Straff 1:32
  7. Sonata Op 25 No 1: Sehr Langsam 5:40
  8. Sonata Op 25 No 1: Rasendes Zeitmass. Wild. Tonschönheit Ist Nebensache 1:32
  9. Sonata Op 25 No 1: Langsam, Mit Viel Ausdruck 4:42
  10. Sonata Op 31 No 4: Äusserst Lebhaft 3:04
  11. Sonata Op 31 No 4: Lied: Ruhig, Mit Wenig Ausdruck. Langsame Viertel 3:29
  12. Sonata Op 31 No 4: Thema Mit Variationem: Schnelle Viertel (Ma Maestoso) 10:11
  13. Sonata: Lebhafte Halbe 3:34
  14. Sonata: Langsame Viertel – Lebhaft – Wieder Wie Früher 6:18
  15. Sonata: Mässig Schnelle Viertel 3:31

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