Paul Hindemith: Piano Sonata No. 1 (1936) / Piano Sonata No. 2 (1936) / Piano Sonata No. 3 (1936) / Variations (discarded second movement from Piano Sonata No. 1)
Markus Becker (piano)
Hyperion CDA67977 (2013)
This is a milestone in the interpretative history of this group of works composed within just one year! Becker has a masterly understanding of how to interpret the densely contrapuntal sections transparently whilst creating wide arcs of tension. In the monumental 1st Sonata, in particular, he develops the content of the poetic moments and strikes the appropriate tone of Hölderlin's poem "Der Main", which "provided the incentive to compose this sonata". He forms the thematic relationships between the individual movements succinctly, creating well-thought-out references. The towering finale, the result of waves of intensification, is interpreted by Becker as a true apotheosis, thanks to his gift for phrasing. Hindemith conceived the Sonata in G as a "little sister" to the First Sonata. In this "miniature", Becker knows how to work out the finely chiselled traits, differentiating them with his sensitive art of touch. In the Third Sonata, Hindemith reflects on the history of the genre "piano sonata", creating new coherences between traditional formal elements. Especially in the complex double fugue of the final movement, Becker's stupendous technique is placed entirely at the service of dramaturgical formation. Summa summarum: this CD has the the standard of a reference recording!