The young Hindemith immediately attracted great attention with the world premiere of his two one-acters Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen, op. 12 and Das Nusch-Nuschi, op. 20 in the summer of 1921. In order to maintain this public attention, a few weeks after the premiere Schott Publishers encouraged the publication of the three instrumental dances from the second act of the one-acter Das Nusch-Nuschi. Hindemith accepted the suggestion to make a dance suite, but selected only the first two dances and linked them to other portions of the opera together with a few newly composed passages. The work was published in 1921 under the title Nusch-Nuschi-Tänze.
The ballet Der Dämon, op. 28 based on a scenario by Max Krell was given its world premiere in the summer of 1923 in Darmstadt. To make the approximately 35-minute piece for stage and orchestra more attractive, Hindemith considered expanding it by two further dance pantomimes into a full-length programme. As an alternative, he considered compiling individual movements of the dance to form a concert suite, for “as a concert piece, it’s not good the way it is” (letter to the publishers of 31.8.1923). The plan to compose more dance pantomimes was not realised; Hindemith finally made a selection of the dance movements for the Dämon-Konzertsuite in 1931 in compliance with his publishers’ request.
Hindemith began with the adaptation of Neues vom Tage. Ouvertüre mit Konzertschluss (1929) in the winter of 1929/30, one half year after the premiere of the opera of the same name in Berlin. He took the Overture and a section from the opera’s tenth scene and connected them to newly composed sections.
The ballet Nobilissima Visione (1938), designed by Hindemith together with the choreographer Léonide Massine, represents scenes from the life of Saint Francis. Three movements from this ballet form the Suite Nobilissima Visione (1939) for large orchestra. Concerning the selection of the pieces, Hindemith offered the following commentary on the occasion of a performance in April 1939 in Philadelphia: “The suite consists of those sections of the ballet score which are self-sufficient and comprehensible as concert music, and which do not depend, therefore, on supplementary stage action.”