"Mints plays with the incisiveness and flexibility that these works require"

"As his introductory remarks make plain, Roman Mints has been an advocate for Hindemith from the outset of his career. This disc collates all the composer’s music for violin and piano, starting with the two violin sonatas that initiate his Op 11. Whereas that in E flat, with its proclamatory first movement and speculative successor, has an almost introductory feel, that in D (both 1918) represents an unequivocal statement of intent, its three movements taking in fraught emotion then wistful eloquence before culminating in a mood of brusque resolve.

A not dissimilar contrast is evident in the subsequent violin sonatas. Composed in the wake of the opera Mathis der Maler, that in E (1935) finds Hindemith at his most ingratiating, its limpid opening movement followed by the deftest synthesis of slow movement and finale. By contrast, the Sonata in C (1939) showcases his mature tonal idiom at its most wide-ranging, whether in the peremptory first movement, searching central intermezzo or the majestic triple fugue whose contrapuntal dexterity and rhythmic propulsion make for a powerful conclusion.

Mints plays with the incisiveness and flexibility that these works require but seldom receive, with Alexander Kobrin unstinting in support. Equally persuasive are the Kleine Sonata for viola d’amore (1922), tensile outer movements framing one of Hindemith’s most affecting adagios, and pieces initially written for viola: the elegiac Trauermusik (1936) and soulful Meditation from the ballet Nobilissima visione (1938)."

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July 28, 2020

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