Paul Hindemith: Violin Sonatas
Tanja Becker-Bender (violin), Péter Nagy (piano).
hyperion CDA68014 (2013)
To come straight to the point: Tanja Becker-Bender and Péter Nagy set new standards of excellence with the present recording of all the sonatas for violin and piano. This applies both to the recording of the two early works and to the compositions from the 1930s. In the Sonatas, Op. 11, composed in 1918 during Hindemith's period as a soldier on the front in France, Becker-Bender and Nagy clearly accentuate the different stylistic levels of which the still young composer was making use. Thus they lend brilliant dash and verve to the explosive principal theme in the first movement of the First Sonata; on the other hand, the pale, introverted atmosphere in the second movement makes a shocking and gripping effect. The stylistic serenity that Hindemith attained in the works of the 1930s does not by any means make a sober or aloof effect in the hands of Becker-Bender and Nagy: they interpret the second movement of the Sonata in E (1935), with its pensive and serene beginning and temperamental middle section, with a great deal of variety and refined dynamic flexibility. They begin the Sonata in C (1939) with a grand sonic gesture; the dancelike middle section of the second movement is presented in a richly colourful manner and the large-scale fugue of the final movement makes an effect, in the hands of Becker-Bender and Nagy, that is anything but academic. The Meditation from the ballet Nobilissima Visione (1938) rounds off this thoroughly successful CD.