Hindemith: Viola Sonatas - Euler / Rivinius
MDG Scene 903 1952-6
Classical - Chamber
Paul Hindemith: Viola sonatas Op. 11 No. 4 & Op. 25 No. 4
Solo viola sonatas Op. 11 No. 5 & Op. 25 No. 1
Christian Euler (viola)
Paul Rivinius (piano)
Paul Hindemith intended to return to his actual instrument, the violin, “only in cases of dire need.” Why? Because the viola appealed to him so very much. And so it is not surprising that this gifted musician contributed a number of outstanding compositions to the previously rather limited repertoire for his preferred instrument. Christian Euler’s new recording of two solo sonatas and two duo sonatas with the pianist Paul Rivinius now presents these works for the first time in 3-D quality on Super Audio CD.
Hindemith must have been a rather well-versed violist. Christian Euler naturally masters the extreme technical difficulties of Hindemith’s sonatas with bravura – and what this experienced virtuoso and educator gets out of these so very different works is absolutely a listening must! Op. 11 No. 4, a work composed in response to the death of Claude Debussy, contains impressionistic reminiscences and forges sophisticated thematic links between the three movements. On the other hand, for Hindemith abruptness and rudeness were essential musical ingredients. After all, he had to live up to his early reputation as an enfant terrible.
“Racing tempo. Wild. Tonal beauty is a secondary matter”: this playing instruction in the Solo Sonata op. 25 No. 1 became famous. However, Christian Euler impressively demonstrates two need-nots: “riotous” need not be synonymous with “ugly,” and the melancholy characterizing the other movements need not stand in the shadow of this short but all the wilder outburst.
Paul Rivinius is Euler’s perfect chamber partner in the duo sonatas and knows how to get the best of opulent and intelligent sound out of the Steinway concert grand piano “Manfred Bürki”. For their British recital with works by Bax, Bliss, and Ralph Vaughan Williams both soloists reaped great applause and now offer a welcome continuation with their Hindemith reading. Not to be missed!