Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes: Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers

By John N. Burk; Philip Hale | Go to book overview
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PAUL
HINDEMITH

(Born at Hanau, on November 16, 1895)


"KONZERTMUSIK" FOR STRING AND BRASS
INSTRUMENTS

THERE WAS a time in Germany when Hindemith was regarded as the white-haired boy; the hope for the glorious future; greater even than Schönberg. In England, they look on Hindemith coolly—an able and fair-minded critic there has remarked: "The more one hears of the later Hindemith, the more exasperating his work becomes. From time to time some little theme is shown at first in sympathetic fashion, then submitted to the most mechanical processes known to music. Any pleasant jingle seems to mesmerize the composer, who repeats it much as Bruckner repeats his themes Hindemith abuses the liberty shown to a modern."

But Hindemith is not always mesmerized by a pleasant jingle. Witness his oratorio, performed with great success. The title is forbidding, The Unending, but the performance takes only two hours. The Concert Music, composed for the fiftieth anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, is more than interesting. It cannot be called "noble," not even "grand," but it holds the attention by its strength in structure, its spirit, festal without blatancy. For once there is no too evident desire to stun the hearer. It is as if the composer had written for his own pleasure. It is virile music with relieving passages—few in number—that have genuine and simple

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Philip Hale's Boston Symphony Programme Notes: Historical, Critical, and Descriptive Comment on Music and Composers
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