Hindemith, Paul

views updated May 29 2018

Hindemith, Paul (b Hanau, 1895; d Frankfurt, 1963). Ger.-born Amer. composer, conductor, violist, and teacher (Amer. cit. 1945). Became first violinist in Frankfurt Opera orch. 1915 and Rebner Qt. Served in Ger. Army 1917–19, but continued to compose and to play in str. qt. Returned to opera orch. Left Rebner Qt. 1921. Two 1-act operas, Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen and Das Nusch-Nuschi, were cond. by Fritz Busch, Stuttgart 1921 and by Ludwig Rottenberg (whose daughter, Gertrud, Hindemith married in 1924) in Frankfurt 1922 (with a 3rd opera Sancta Susanna). These works, later disowned as prentice pieces, had a succès de scandale. His 2nd str. qt. was perf. Donaueschingen 1921, by qt., with Hindemith as violist, led by Licco Amar. This led to the permanent est. of the Amar Qt., which played only modern works. Hindemith left the Frankfurt Opera orch. in 1923, concentrating on his work with the Amar Qt. and as a member of the selection committee for Donaueschingen fests.

In 1927 Hindemith became teacher of comp. at Berlin Hochschule für Musik. Among his pupils were Franz Reizenstein, Walter Leigh, and Arnold Cooke. Also working in Berlin were 2 conds. who had championed Hindemith's mus., Furtwängler at the Phil. and Klemperer at the Kroll Opera. In 1929, because of pressure of work, Hindemith disbanded the Amar Qt. His satirical opera Neues vom Tage (News of the Day) was prod. in Berlin under Klemperer in summer 1929 (the first opera to incl. a sop. singing in her bath, which shocked Hitler); and his cantata Lehrstück, to a text by Brecht, created a scandal at the 1929 Baden-Baden Festival. In Oct. 1929 Hindemith made his first visit to London, where he was soloist in the f.p. of Walton's va. conc., having met Walton at Salzburg in 1923.

In 1933, the year Hitler came to power, Hindemith began work on an opera on the subject of the painter Matthias Grünewald, a medieval artist with a social conscience. He arr. 3 interludes as a suite, which he called the Mathis der Maler (Matthias the Painter) Sym. These were performed by the Berlin PO under Furtwängler in Mar. 1934 and were an immediate success. But official criticism of his mus. now began to be voiced publicly. Furtwängler wrote an article in Nov. 1934 defending Hindemith and opposing his ‘political denunciation’. As a result of the ensuing controversy, the Nazis forbade prod. of the Mathis opera. In 1935 Hindemith accepted an invitation from Turkey to est. a mus. sch. On his return from Ankara, he found the régime friendlier towards him and a Frankfurt première for Mathis seemed possible. But in 1936, after ‘demonstrative’ applause for Kulenkampff's playing of the new vn. sonata, Goebbels banned all further perfs. of Hindemith's mus. After a further spell in Turkey in 1937, Hindemith resigned from the Berlin Hochschule and visited NY to give lectures. He then settled in Switzerland, and in May 1938 Mathis der Maler was staged in Zurich, but mention of the event was forbidden in Ger. newspapers. In Feb. 1940 he sailed for the fourth time to the USA, this time to stay indefinitely. He was appointed visiting prof. of the theory of mus. at Yale Univ., and also was head of advanced comp. at the Berkshire summer fest. at Tanglewood, where his pupils in 1940 incl. Lukas Foss and Leonard Bernstein. He returned to Europe in 1947, visiting Italy, Holland, Belgium, Eng., Ger., Austria, and Switzerland where he renewed friendship with Furtwängler. In 1949–50 he spent a year at Harvard Univ. as Norton Prof., giving the Charles Eliot Norton lectures, later pubd. as A Composer's World. In 1951 he accepted a teaching post at Zurich Univ., dividing his time with his duties at Yale, but in 1953 resigned from Yale and returned to Europe. Cond. Vienna PO at Salzburg Fest. (1952) and Beethoven's 9th Sym. at Bayreuth (1953).

Hindemith is invariably associated with the term Gebrauchsmusik (utility mus.) but this is a misleading and drab name for his attitude to his art, which was that audiences should participate as well as listen. In his Berlin teaching days, therefore, he comp. works which could be used for teaching and would also provide material for amateurs. His title for this type of work was Sing-und Spielmusik (Music to Sing and Play). Examples are his children's opera Wir bauen eine Stadt (Let's Build a Town—echoed years later by Britten in Let's Make an Opera)—and Plöner Musiktag (A Day of Music in Plön), which is a series of instr. and choral pieces written for schoolchildren in Schleswig-Holstein.

Like his friend Walton, Hindemith began as an enfant terrible and ended by being regarded by the avant-garde as an ultra-conservative. He rejected the extremist methods of the avant-garde (but this did not prevent him from writing for an early elec. instr., the trautonium). His early works show the influences of Strauss and Reger, succeeded by Stravinsky and Bartók. As his style developed, his rhythmic drive and partiality for contrapuntal textures grew more evident, coupled with a reticent lyricism. This lyricism grew more evident at the time of Mathis der Maler, while his harmonic idiom was based on well-controlled dissonant tensions. Tonality was the firm basis of all his comps. The severe reaction against his mus., which eventually slackened, was as unjust as it was unthinking. The best of his mus. occupies an important place in the history of 20th-cent. comp. Prin. works:OPERAS: Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen (Murderer, the Hope of Women), 1-act, text by Kokoschka, Op.12 (1919); Das Nusch-Nuschi, 1-act, text by Blei, Op.20 (1920); Sancta Susanna, 1-act, text by Stramm, Op.21 (1921); Cardillac, Op.39 (1926, new version 1952); Hin und Zurück, Op.45a (1927); Neues vom Tage (1928–9, new version 1953); Mathis der Maler (1933–5); Die Harmonie der Welt (The Harmony of the World) (1956–7); The Long Christmas Dinner (Das lange Weihnachtsmahl) (1960). Also realization of Monteverdi's Orfeo (1943).THEATRE PIECES: Tuttifäntchen, mus. for children's Christmas play (1922); Lehrstück (Lesson on Consent), cantata to text by Brecht (1929); Wir bauen eine Stadt, children's opera (1930).BALLETS: Der Dämon, Op.28 (1922); Nobilissima Visione (1938); Hérodiade (1944).ORCH.: Lustige Sinfonietta, Op.4 (1916); Dance Suite, Das Nusch-Nuschi, Op.20 (1921); Concerto for Orchestra, Op.38 (1925); Concert Music, pf., brass, hps., Op.49 (1930); Concert music, str., brass, Op.50 (1930); Philharmonic Concerto (1932); sym., Mathis der Maler (1934); Symphonic Dances (1937); suite Nobilissima Visione (1938); The Four Temperaments, theme and vars., str., solo pf. (1940, perf. as ballet 1946); Sym. in E♭ (1940); Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber (1940–3); Symphonia Serena (1946); Sinfonietta in E (1949–50); sym. in B♭, concert band (1951); Sym. Die Harmonie der Welt (1951); Pittsburgh Symphony (1958); March (1960).KAMMERMUSIK SERIES: No.1 (small orch.) Op.24 (1922); Kleine Kammermusik (wind quintet) Op.24 No.2 (1922); No.2 (pf. conc. with 12 instr.) Op.36 No.1 (1924), No.3 (vc. conc. with 10 instr.) Op.36 No.2 (1925), No.4 (vn. conc.) Op.36 No.3 (1925), No.5 (va. conc.) Op.36 No.4 (1927), No.6 (va. d'amore conc.) Op.46 No.1 (1927), No.7 (org. conc.) Op.46 No.2 (1927).CONCERTOS (besides those above): Concert Music, va., large chamber orch., Op.48 (1930); Concert Piece, trautonium, str. (unpubd.) (1931); Der Schwanendreher, va., small orch., based on folk-songs (1935); Trauermusik, va., str. (1936); vn. conc. (1939); vc. conc. (1940); pf. conc. (1945); cl. conc. (1947); hn. conc. (1949); conc. for ww., hp., orch. (1949); conc., tpt., bn., str. (1949); org. conc. (1962).CHORUS & ORCH.: Das Unaufhörliche (The Perpetual), oratorio, sop., ten., bar., and bass, ch., orch., text by G. Benn (1931); Requiem When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd (text by Whitman), mez., bar., ch., orch. (1946); Ite, angeli veloces (Go, flights of angels), cantata to text by Claudel in 3 parts: I, Triumphgesang Davids, alto, ten., ch., orch., wind band, spectators (1955), II, Custos quid de nocte, ten., ch., orch. (1955), III, Cantique de l'espérance, mez., ch., orch., wind band, spectators (1953); Mainzer Umzug, sop., ten., bar., ch., orch. (1962).VOICE & ORCH.: Die junge Magd, 6 Trakl songs, cont., fl., cl., str. qt., Op.23 No.2 (1922); Das Marienleben, 15 Rilke songs, sop., pf., Op.27 (1922–3; rev. version 1948, begun 1936; version with orch. Nos.1–4 1938, Nos.5–6 1959); Die Serenaden, cantata, sop., ob., va., vc., Op.35 (1924).CHAMBER MUSIC: 3 Pieces, vc., pf., Op.8 (1917); str. qt. No.1, Op.10 (1918), No.2, Op.16 (1920), No.3, Op.22 (1921), No.4, Op.32 (1923), No.5 (1943), No.6 (1945); vn. sonata in E♭, Op.11 No.1, in D, Op.11 No.2 (1918); va. sonata in F, Op.11 No.4, solo va., Op.11 No.5, vc. sonata, Op.11 No.6 (1919); solo va. sonata, Op.25 No.1, va. d'amore sonata, Op.25 No.2, solo vc. sonata, Op.25 No.3, va. sonata (unpubd.), Op.25 No.4 (1922); cl. quintet, Op.30; solo va. sonata (unpubd.), Op.31 No.4, Canonic sonata, 2 fl., Op.31 No.3 (1923); sonatas for solo vn., Op.31 Nos. 1 and 2 (1924); str. trio, Op.34 (1924); 3 Pieces for cl., tpt., vn., db., pf. (1925); trio for pf., va., heckelphone (or tenor sax.), Op.47 (1929); 14 Easy Duets, 2 vn. (1931); str. trio (1933); Scherzo, va., vc. (1934); vn. sonata in E (1935); fl. sonata (1936); bn. sonata; 3 Easy Pieces, vc., pf.; qt., cl., vn., vc., pf.; ob. sonata (1938); va. sonata in C; vn. sonata in C; cl. sonata; hp. sonata; tpt. sonata (all 1939); ca. sonata; tb. sonata; A Frog he went a-courting, vars., vc., pf. (all 1941); sax. sonata (1943); vc. sonata; septet for wind instr. (both 1948); db. sonata (1949); sonata for 4 hn. (1952); tuba sonata (1955); octet (1957–8).PIANO: Tanzstücke, Op.19 (1920); Suite 1922 (1922); Klaviermusik, Op.37 (Part I 1925, Part II 1926); mus. for film Vormittagsspuk, player-pf. (unpubd.) (1928); pf. sonata No.1 in A, No.2 in G, No.3 in B♭ (1936); sonata (4 hands) (1938); sonata for 2 pf. (1942); Ludus Tonalis (1942).ORGAN: org. sonatas Nos. 1 and 2 (1937), No.3 (1940).VOCAL: 8 Lieder, sop., pf., Op.18 (1920); Das Marienleben, sop., pf., Op.27 (1922–3, rev. 1936–48); 6 Songs on Old Texts, unacc. ch., Op.33 (1923); 4 3-part choruses for boys (1930); 2 Hölderlin Songs (1933); 4 Hölderlin Songs (1935); 5 Songs on Old Texts, unacc. ch. (rev. version to Eng. texts of 6 Songs, 1923, Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 6, with new song Wahre Liebe, 1937); 3 Choruses, male vv., 6 Chansons, ch., Variations on an Old Dance Song, male vv. (all 1939); La Belle Dame Sans Merci, v., pf.; 7 Songs to Eng. texts (both 1942); Sing on There in the Swamp, v., pf. (1943); To music (1944); Apparebit repentina dies, ch., brass (1947); 2 Songs to words by Oscar Cox, v., pf. (1955); 12 Madrigals, ch. (1958); Mass, unacc. ch. (1963). 13 Motets, sop. or ten., pf. (comp. in following order: No. 8 (1940–1), No.13 (1943), Nos. 2 and 11 (1944), Nos. 5 and 7 (1958), Nos. 3, 4, 6, 9, 10 (1959), Nos. 1 and 12 (1960).COMMUNAL & EDUCATIONAL MUSIC: Spielmusik, str., fls., obs., Op.43 No.1; Lieder für Singkreise (Songs for Group Singing), unacc. ch., Op.43 No.2 (1926); Schulwerk für Instrumental-Zusammenspiel (Educational Music for Instrumental Ensembles), str., Op.44 (1927); Sing-und Spielmusik für Liebhaber und Musikfreunde (Music to Sing and Play, for Amateurs and Music-lovers), Op.45; Frau Musica, 2 solo vv., ch., str., Op.45 No.1 (1928, as In Praise of Music 1943); Plöner Musiktag (1932).BOOKS: The Craft of Musical Composition (Unterweisung im Tonsatz) Vol. I, Theoretical (1935–7), Vol. II, Exercises in 2-part writing (1938–9), Vol. III, 3-part Writing (posth.); A Concentrated Course in Traditional Harmony (1942–3); Elementary Training for Musicians (1945–6); A Composer's World: Horizons and Limitations (Norton Lectures, Harvard 1949–50; pubd. in Eng. 1950, in Ger. as Komponist im seiner Welt, 1953); Johann Sebastian Bach, Heritage and Obligation (Frankfurt Lecture, 1950).

Hindemith, Paul

views updated Jun 08 2018

Hindemith, Paul

Hindemith, Paul, eminent German-born American composer and teacher; b. Hanau, near Frankfurt am Main, Nov. 16, 1895; d. Frankfurt am Main, Dec. 28, 1963. He began studying violin at the age of 9; at 14, he entered the Hoch Cons. in Frankfurt am Main, where he studied violin with A. Rebner, and composition with Arnold Mendelssohn and Sekles. His father was killed in World War I, and Hindemith was compelled to rely on his own resources to make a living. He was concert-master of the orch. of the Frankfurt am Main Opera (1915–23), and later played the viola in the string quartet of his teacher Rebner; from 1922 to 1929 he was violist in the Amar String Quartet; also appeared as a soloist on the viola and viola d’amore; later was engaged as a conductor, mainly in his own works. As a composer, he joined the modern movement and was an active participant in the contemporary music concerts at Donaueschingen, and later in Baden-Baden. In 1927 he was appointed instructor in composition at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. With the advent of the Hitler regime in 1933, Hindemith began to experience increasing difficulties, both artistically and politically. Although his own ethnic purity was never questioned, he was married to Gertrud Rottenberg, daughter of the Jewish conductor Ludwig Rottenberg, and he stubbornly refused to cease ensemble playing with undeniable Jews. Hitler’s propaganda minister, Goebbels, accused Hindemith of cultural Bolshevism, and his music fell into an official desuetude. Unwilling to compromise with the barbarous regime, Hindemith accepted engagements abroad. Beginning in 1934, he made 3 visits to Ankara at the invitation of the Turkish government, and helped to organize the music curriculum at the Ankara Cons. He made his first American appearance at the Coolidge Festival at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in a performance of his Unaccompanied Viola Sonata (April 10, 1937). Hindemith was an instructor at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood in the summer of 1940; from 1940 to 1953 he was a prof. at Yale Univ.; during the academic year 1950-51, he was the Charles Eliot Norton Lecturer at Harvard Univ. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1946. In 1953 he went to Switzerland and gave courses at the Univ. of Zürich. He also was active as a guest conductor in Europe and the U.S.

Hindemith’s early music reflects rebellious opposition to all tradition; this is noted in such works as the opera Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen (1919) and Suite 1922 for Piano (1922); at the same time, he cultivated the techniques of constructivism, evident in his theatrical sketch Hin und Zurück (1927), in which Krebsgang (retrograde movement) is applied to the action on the stage, so that events are reversed; in a work of a much later period, Ludus Tonalis (1943), the postlude is the upside-down version of the prelude. Along constructive lines is Hindemith’s cultivation of Gebrauchsmusik, that is, music for use; he was also an ardent champion of Hausmusik, to be played or sung by amateurs at home; the score of his Frau Musica (as revised in 1944) has an obbligato part for the audience to sing. A neo-Classical trend is shown in a series of works, entitled Kammermusik, for various instrumental combinations, poly-phonically conceived, and Baroque in style. Although he made free use of atonal melodies, he was never tempted to adopt an integral 12-tone method, which he opposed on aesthetic grounds. Having made a thorough study of early music, he artfully assimilated its polyphony in his works; his masterpiece of this genre was the opera Mathis der Maler. A prolific composer, Hindemith wrote music of all types for all instrumental combinations, including a series of sonatas for each orch. instrument with piano. His style may be described as a synthesis of modern, Romantic, Classical, Baroque, and other styles, a combination saved from the stigma of eclecticism only by Hindemith’s superlative mastery of technical means. As a theorist and pedagogue, he developed a self-consistent method of presentation derived from the acoustical nature of harmonies. The Auftrag der Hindemith-Stiftung began issuing a collected ed. in 1975. Thematic indexes have been compiled by K. Stone (N.Y., 1954; verified by the composer) and H. Rösner, Paul HindemithKatalog seiner Werke, Diskographie, Bibliographie, Einführung in das Schaffen (Frankfurt am Main, 1970).


dramatic: Opera: Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen, op.12 (1919; Stuttgart, June 4, 1921); Das Nusch- Nuschi, op.20, marionette opera (1920; Stuttgart, June 4, 1921; rev. version, Königsberg, Jan. 22, 1931); Sancta Susanna, op.21 (1921; Frankfurt am Main, March 26, 1922); Cardillac, op.39 (Dresden, Nov. 9, 1926; rev. version, Zürich, June 20, 1952); Hin und Zurück, op.45a, 1-act sketch (Baden-Baden, July 17, 1927); Neues vom Tage (1928-29; Berlin, June 8, 1929; rev. 1953; Naples, April 7, 1954, composer conducting); Mathis der Maler (1934-35; Zürich, May 28, 1938); Orfeo, realization of Monteverdi’s opera (1943); Die Harmonie der Welt (1950-57; Munich, Aug. 11, 1957, composer conducting); Das lange Weihnachtsmahl (1960; Mannheim, Dec. 17, 1961). incidental music:Tutti-fantchen (Darmstadt, Dec. 13, 1922). Ballet: Der Dämon, op.28, pantomime (1922; Darmstadt, Dec. 1, 1923); Nobilissima visione, dance legend in 6 scenes (perf. as St. Francis by the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, London, July 21, 1938, composer conducting); Theme and Variations: The 4 Temperaments for String Orch. and Piano (1940; N.Y., Nov. 20, 1946); Hérodiade, after Mallarmé (perf. as Mirror before Me by the Martha Graham Dance Co., Washington, D.C., Oct. 30, 1944). ORCH.: Cello Concerto, op.3 (1916); Lustige Sinfonietta, op.4 (1916); Piano Concerto, op.29 (1924); Concerto for Oboe, Bassoon, Violin, and Orch., op.38 (Duisburg, July 25, 1925); Konzertmusik for Wind Orch., op.41 (Donaueschingen, July 1926); Konzertmusik for Viola and Orch., op.48 (Hamburg, March 28, 1930, composer soloist); Konzertmusik for Piano, Brass, and 2 Harps, op.49 (Chicago, Oct. 12, 1930); Konzertmusik for Strings and Brass, op.50 (for 50th anniversary of the Boston Sym. Orch.; Boston, April 3, 1931); Konzertstück for Trautonium and Strings (1931); Philharmonisches Konzert, variations (Berlin, April 15, 1932); Mathis der Maler, sym. from the opera (Berlin, March 11, 1934, Furtwängler conducting); Der Schwanendreher, concerto for Viola and Small Orch. (Amsterdam, Nov. 14, 1935, composer soloist); Trauermusik for Solo Viola or Violin or Cello and String Orch. (written for a memorial broadcast for King George V, who died on Jan. 20, 1936; London, Jan. 22, 1936, composer soloist); Symphonic Dances (London, Dec. 5, 1937); Nobilissima visione, suite from the ballet (Venice, Sept. 13, 1938); Violin Concerto (1939; Amsterdam, March 14, 1940); Cello Concerto (1940; Boston, Feb. 7, 1941; Piatigorsky soloist); Sym. in E-flat (1940; Minneapolis, Nov. 21, 1941); Cupid and Psyche, overture for a ballet (Philadelphia, Oct. 29, 1943); Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber (1943; N.Y., Jan. 20, 1944); Theme and Variations: The 4 Temperaments for String Orch. and Piano (Boston, Sept. 3, 1944, Foss soloist); Piano Concerto (1945; Cleveland, Feb. 27, 1947, Sanroma soloist); Symphonia Serena (1946; Dallas, Feb. 2, 1947); Clarinet Concerto (1947; Philadelphia, Dec. 11, 1950, Benny Goodman soloist); Concerto for 4 Winds, Harp, and Small Orch. (N.Y., May 15, 1949); Concerto for Trumpet, Bassoon, and Strings (New Haven, Conn., Nov. 4, 1949; 3rd movement added in 1952); Sinfonietta (1949; Louisville, March 1, 1950, composer conducting); Horn Concerto (1949; Baden-Baden, June 8, 1950, Dennis Brain soloist); Sym. in B-flat for Concert Band (Washington, D.C., April 5, 1951, composer conducting); Die Harmonie der Welt, sym. from the opera (1951; Basel, Jan. 24, 1952); Pittsburgh Symphony (1958; Pittsburgh, Jan. 30, 1959, composer conducting); Organ Concerto (1962-63; N.Y., April 25, 1963, Heiller soloist, composer conducting). CHAMBER: Andante and Scherzo, op.l, trio for Clarinet, Horn, and Piano (1914); unnumbered String Quartet in C, op.2 (1915); Piano Quintet, op.7 (1917); 3 Stücke for Cello and Piano, op.8 (1917); 6 numbered string quartets: No. 1, op.10 (Frankfurt am Main, June 2, 1919), No. 2, op.16 (Donaueschingen, Aug. 1, 1922), No. 3, op.22 (Donaueschingen, Nov. 4, 1922), No. 4, op.32 (Vienna, Nov. 5, 1923), No. 5 (Washington, D.C., Nov. 7, 1943), and No. 6 (Washington, D.C., March 21, 1946); set of 6 sonatas, opp. 11/1-6: 2 for Violin and Piano (1918), 1 for Cello and Piano (1919), 1 for Viola and Piano (1919), 1 for Solo Viola (1919), and 1 for Solo Violin (1919); Kleine Kammermusik, op.24/2, for Wind Quintet (1922); set of 4 sonatas, opp. 25/1-4: 1 for Solo Viola (1922), 1 for Viola d’Amore and Piano (1923), 1 for Solo Cello (1923), and 1 for Viola and Piano (1924); “Minimax”Reportorium für Militärmusik, parody for String Quartet (1923); Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet, op.30 (Salzburg Festival, Aug. 7, 1923); set of 4 sonatas, opp. 31/1-4: 2 for Solo Violin (1924), 1, Canonic Sonatina, for 2 Flutes (1924), and 1 for Solo Viola (1924); 2 trios for Violin, Viola, and Cello (op.34, Salzburg, Aug. 6, 1924; Antwerp, March 17, 1933); Rondo for 3 Guitars (1925); 3 Stücke for 5 Instruments (1925); 7 numbered pieces titled Kammermusik: No. 1, op.24/1 (Donaueschingen Festival, July 31, 1922), No. 2, op.36/1, for Piano and 12 Instruments (Frankfurt am Main, Oct. 31, 1924), No. 3, op.36/2, for Cello and 10 Instruments (Bochum, April 30, 1925; composer’s brother, Rudolf, soloist), No. 4, op.36/3, for Violin and Large Chamber Orch. (Dessau, Sept. 25, 1925), No. 5, op.36/4, for Viola and Large Chamber Orch. (Berlin, Nov. 3, 1927), No. 6, op.46/1, for Viola d’Amore and Chamber Orch. (1927; Cologne, March 29, 1928), and No. 7, op.46/2, for Organ and Chamber Ensemble (1927; Frankfurt am Main, Jan. 8, 1928); 8 Pieces for Flute (1927); Trio for Viola, Heckelphone or Saxophone, and Piano, op.47 (1928); 2 Canonic Duets for 2 Violins (1929); 14 Easy Duets for 2 Violins (1931); Konzertstück for 2 Saxophones (1933); Duet for Viola and Cello (1934); 2 violin sonatas (1935, 1939); Flute Sonata (1936); Sonata for Solo Viola (1937); Meditation for Violin or Viola or Cello and Piano (1938); Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello, and Piano (1938); Oboe Sonata (1938); Bassoon Sonata (1938; transcribed for Bass Clarinet in 1959 for Josef Horâk); Clarinet Sonata (1939); Horn Sonata (1939); Trumpet Sonata (1939); Sonata for Solo Harp (1939); Viola Sonata (1939); English Horn Sonata (1941); Trombone Sonata (1941); A Frog He Went α-Courting, variations for Cello and Piano (1941); Echo for Flute and Piano (1942); Sonata for Saxophone or Alto Horn or Horn and Piano (1943); Septet for Winds (1948); Double Bass Sonata (1949); Sonata for 4 Horns (1952); Tuba Sonata (1955); Octet for Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, and String Quintet (Berlin, Sept. 23, 1958). piano: 7 Waltzes, op.6, for 4 Hands (1916); In einer Nacht, op. 15, a set of 14 pieces (1920); Sonata, op.17 (1917); Tanzstücke, op.19 (1922); Suite “1922,” op.26 (1922); Klaviermusik, op.37, incorporating Übung in drei Stücken, op.37/1 (1925) and Reihe kleiner Stücke, op.37/2 (1927); 3 numbered sonatas (1936); Sonata for 4 Hands (1938); Sonata for 2 Pianos (1942); Ludus Tonalis, studies (Chicago, Feb. 15, 1943). VOCAL: 3 Songs for Soprano and Orch., op.9 (1917); Melancholie for Contralto and String Quartet, op.13 (1918); Des Todes Tod, op.23/1, 3 songs for Woman’s Voice, 2 Violas, and 2 Cellos (1922); Die junge Magd, op.23/2, 6 poems for Contralto, Flute, Clarinet, and String Quartet (1922); Lieder nach alten Texten, op.33, for Chorus (1923); Die Serenaden, op.35, little cantata for Soprano, Oboe, Viola, and Cello (1925); Der Lindenbergflug for Soloists and Orch. (1929); Das Unaufhörliche, oratorio (Berlin, Nov. 21, 1931); 5 Songs on Old Texts for Chorus (c. 1938); 6 Chansons for Chorus, after Rilke (1939); 3 Choruses for Men’s Chorus (1939); The Demon of the Gibbet for Men’s Chorus (1939); When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d, an American Requiem after Whitman, for Mezzo-soprano, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (N.Y., May 14, 1946); Apparebit Repentina Dies for Chorus and Brass (Cambridge, Mass., May 2, 1947); Das Marienleben for Soprano and Orch., after Rilke (1938-48; rev., shortened, and orchestrated version of songs orig. for Voice and Piano, 1923); Ite, angeli veloces, cantata trilogy: Chant de triomphe du roi David, Custos quid de node, and Cantique de l’espérance (1953-55; 1st complete perf., Wuppertal, June 4, 1955); 12 Madrigals for 5-part Chorus (1958); Der Mainzer Umzug for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (Mainz, June 23, 1962); Mass for Chorus (Vienna, Nov. 12, 1963). voice and piano: 3 Hymnen, op.14, after Whitman (1919); 8 Songs for Soprano, op.18 (1920); Das Marienleben, op.27, after Rilke (Donaueschingen, June 17, 1923; rev. radically and perf. in Hannover, Nov. 3, 1948); 6 Lieder for Tenor and Piano (1933–35); 13 Motets (1941–60); 9 English Songs (1942–44).

gebrauchsmusik: Music for Mechanical Instruments, op.40: Toccata for Player Piano, and Music for Mechanical Organ (both 1926-27); music for the film Felix the Cat for Mechanical Organ, op.42 (1927); Spielmusik for Strings, Flutes, and Oboes, op.43/1 (1927); Lieder für Singkreise for Voices, op.43/2 (1927); Schulwerk für Instrumental- Zusammenspiel, op.44 (1927); Sing- und Spielmusiken für Liebhaber und Musikfreunde, including: Frau Musica for Soli, Chorus, and Strings, op.45/1 (1928; rev. as In Praise of Music, 1943), 8 Canons for 2 Voices and Instruments, op.45/2 (1928), Ein Jäger aus Kurpfalz for Strings and Winds, op.45/3 (1928), Kleine Klaviermusik, op.45/4 (1929), and Martinslied for Unison Chorus and 3 Instruments, op.45/5 (1929); Lehrstück for Male Soloists, Narrator, Chorus, Orch., Dance Group, Clowns, and Community Singing, after Brecht (Baden-Baden, July 28, 1929); Wir bauen eine Stadt, play for Children’s Soli and Chorus, and Instruments (Berlin, June 21, 1930); Ploner Musiktag, in 4 sections: Morgenmusik for Brass Quintet, Tafelmusik for Strings and Brass, Kantate for Soli, Children’s Chorus, Narrator, Strings, Winds, and Percussion, and Abendkonzert, 6 individual pieces for Chamber and Orch. Grouping (all 1932; Plon, June 1932); Wer sich die Musik erkiest for Voices and Instruments (1952).


Unterweisung im Tonsatz (2 vols., 1937, 1939; Eng. ed. as The Craft of Musical Composition, N.Y., 1941; rev., 1945); A Concentrated Course in Traditional Harmony (2 vols., N.Y., 1943, 1953); Elementary Training for Musicians (N.Y., 1946); J.S. Bach: Heritage and Obligation (New Haven, Conn., 1952; Ger. ed., J.S. Bach: Ein verpflichtendes Erbe, Wiesbaden, 1953); A Composer’s World: Horizons and Limitations (Cambridge, Mass., 1952).


The H.-Jahrbuch began publication in 1971. See also the following: H. Strobel, P. H. (Mainz, 1928; 3rd ed., aug., 1948); H. Schilling, P. H.’s Cardillac (Würzburg, 1962); A. Briner, P. H. (Zürich, 1970; Eng. tr., 1987); I. Kemp, H. (London, 1970); E. Zwink, P. H.s Unterweisung im Tonsatz (Göppingen, 1974); G. Skelton, P. H: The Man behind the Music (London, 1975); G. Metz, Melodische Polyphonie in der Zwölftonordnung: Studien zum Kontrapunkt P. H.s (Baden-Baden, 1976); D. Rexroth, Erprobungen und Erfahrungen: Zu P. H.s Schaffen in den Zwanziger Jahren (Frankfurt am Main, 1978); G. Schubert, H. (Hamburg, 1981); D. Rexroth, P. H. Briefe (Frankfurt am Main, 1982); E. Preussner, P. H.: Ein Lebensbild (Innsbruck, 1984); D. Neumeyer, The Music of P. H.. (New Haven, 1986); S. Cook, Opera During the Weimar Republic: The Zeitopern of Ernst Krenek, Kurt Weill, and P. H.. (Ann Arbor, 1987); A. Briner, D. Rexroth, and G. Schubert, P. H.: Leben und Werk in Bild und Text (Zürich, 1988); S. Hinton, The Idea of Gebrauchsmusik: A Study of Musical Aesthetics in the WeimarRepublic (1919–1933) with Particular Reference to the Works of P. H. (N.Y. and London, 1989); L. Noss, P. H. in the United States (Urbana, 1989); G. Breimann, “Mathis der Maler” und der “Fall H.:” Studien zu H.s Opernlibretto im Kontext der kulturgeschichtlichen und politischen Begingungen der 30er. Jahre (Frankfurt am Main, 1997); M. Kube, H.s frühe Streichquartette (1915–1923): Studien zu Form, Faktur und Harmonik (Kassel, 1997); S. Bruhn , The Temptation of P H.: Mathis der Maler as Spiritual Testimony (Stuyvesant, N.Y., 1998); K. Kim, Studien zum musikpädagogischen Werk P. H.s (Frankfurt am Main, 1998).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

Hindemith, Paul

views updated May 23 2018


Leading contemporary composer and theorist; b. Hanau, Germany, Nov. 16, 1895; d. Frankfurt, Dec. 28, 1963. He learned to play violin as a child; and after attending a conservatory in Frankfurt, he became experienced as concertmaster, soloist, and quartet player, all fruitful for his composing career. From 1927 he taught composition at the Berliner Hochschule für Musik and in 1937 he published his influential Unterweisung im Tonsatz (translated by A. Mendel as The Craft of Musical Composition [New York 1941; rev. 1945]). In keeping with its principles he revised some of his own works, notably Das Marienleben (1923, 1948), a song cycle based on R. M. Rilke's poetry. When his activities were curtailed by the Nazis, he moved to Switzerland in 1938 and in 1940 to the U.S., becoming a citizen in 1946. He taught at Yale University from 1940, then at the University of Zurich (195356). In later years he was attracted to Catholicism, and in 1963 he wrote a Mass for unaccompanied mixed choir. In 1962 he shared the Balzan Prizeone of his numerous honorswith Pope John XXIII. His prolific output includes music in almost every category. Best known are the symphonic Mathis der Maler (1934), derived from his opera inspired by Matthias grÜnewald's Isenheim altarpiece, and the parallel opera-into-symphony Die Harmonie der Welt (1951). His theories as well as his style constitute a rallying point for neoclassicists, although his interest in contrapuntal forms, German folk songs, and chant evoke the baroque or earlier periods. Strongly opposed to 12-tone composition, he recognized the force of tonality and assigned central importance to the major triad.

Bibliography: Paul Hindemith: Catalogue of Published Works and Recordings (Schott; London 1954: suppl. 1962). n. del mar, "Paul Hindemith," European Music in the Twentieth Century, ed. h. hartog (New York 1957). e. preussner, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. f. blume (Kassel-Basel 1949) 6:439451. n. cazden, "Hindemith and Nature," Music Review 15 (1954) 288306. m. breivik, "Arnold Schönberg og Paul Hindemith: Individualister på funksjonalistisk grunn," Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning 78 (1996) 1124. a. forte, "Paul Hindemith's Contribution to Music Theory in the United States," Journal of Music Theory 42 (1998) 114. p. hindemith, Selected Letters of Paul Hindemith, ed. and tr. g. skelton (New Haven, Conn. 1995). m. kube, "Paul Hindemiths Jazz-Rezeption: Stationen einer Episode,"

Musiktheorie, 10 (1995) 6372. j. c. santore, "Attitudes toward Sexuality and the Tonal Structure of Hindemith's Sancta Susanna, " Opera Journal 30/2 (1997) 210. p. thalheimer, "Hindemith heute: Anmerkungen zur Aufführungspraxis seines Trios für Blockflöten," Tibia: Magazin für Holzbläser 20 (1995) 586593. m. venuti, "Morire per la bellezza: una metafora dell'artista moderno nel capolavoro di Paul Hindemith," Rassegna Musicale Curci 52 (1999) 1619.

[h. braunlich]

Paul Hindemith

views updated Jun 08 2018

Paul Hindemith

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) was a prolific and versatile German composer and also an important teacher of musical composition.

Paul Hindemith was born on Nov. 16, 1895, in Hanau am Main. At the age of 9, he began violin lessons; advancing rapidly, he was soon able to enter a conservatory in nearby Frankfurt, where he studied composition. In 1923 he became concertmaster of the Frankfurt Opera orchestra. More important, however, was his career as violist, first in the Rebner Quartet and later (1922-1929) in the Amar Quartet, which toured Europe playing many major contemporary works.

In 1919 Hindemith signed his first contract with a music publisher (Schott), a connection he maintained throughout his life. That same year he wrote his first important compositions: the First String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 10, and the one-act opera Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen. These were rapidly followed by two more stage works: Das Nusch-Nuschi, a one-act play for Burmese marionettes, and the one-act opera Sancta Susanna. All these works were controversial, and Hindemith was considered a radical. Yet, later, his music remained firmly rooted in tonality; he rejected the twelve-tone method and was not interested in electronic composition.

From 1926 to 1929 Hindemith was active in the direction of the contemporary chamber-music festivals at Donaueschingen and Baden-Baden. During these years he wrote chamber music, including chamber concertos for piano, cello, violin, viola, and organ. Cardillac (1926) was an opera of major importance in his career. In 1927 he produced typical examples of his Gebrauchsmusik, that is, music intended for specific purposes or particular occasions: the Spiel-und Jugendmusiken Music for Youth), Op. 43 and 44.

In 1927 Hindemith accepted a professorship of composition at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. He remained there until 1934, when he was suspended as part of the Nazi campaign against "degenerate" (modern) music. It was under the impact of such turbulent political events that he composed his finest stage work, Mathis der Maler. Dealing with the problems and the duties of the artist in troubled times, this work draws deeply on Hindemith's own spiritual experiences while telling the story of the 16th-century German painter Matthias Grünewald. It was completed in July 1935 and premiered 3 years later in Zurich, Switzerland.

Also in 1935 Hindemith made his first journey to Turkey, where, at the request of the Turkish government, he drew up plans for the organization of Turkish musical life. While these plans were carried out over the next 2 years, he visited Turkey three more times. In 1937 he finally resigned from the Staatliche Hochschule; the following year he moved to Switzerland. In 1940 he emigrated to the United States and settled at Yale University, where he taught for the next 13 years.

During his American period Hindemith produced some of his most popular works, such as Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber (1943) and When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom'd (A Requiem for Those We Love; 1946). However, he became nostalgic for Europe and in 1953 returned to Switzerland, where he lived for the last 10 years of his life. Among the major works of these years were two operas: The Harmony of the World (1957) and The Long Christmas Dinner (1960). On his last journey to America, in 1963, he heard the first American performance of the latter work, as well as the premiere of the Concerto for Organ and Orchestra, which he had written to celebrate the opening of Philharmonic Hall in New York City. His last work, a Mass for mixed choir a cappella, was premiered in November 1963 in Vienna under his direction. On December 28 he died in Frankfurt.

Hindemith's philosophy of music is summed up in the speech he gave upon receipt of the Balzan Prize in 1963. "In which direction, " he asked, " can music still develop? Certainly not … in the ever greater extension and expansion of the limits of sound. … To express what has never been said before, the musician must enter another dimension. He must explore the heights and the depths, the heights of the spiritual and the depths of the human soul." Such rejection of new sound possibilities weakened Hindemith's influence on musical developments of the 1950s and 1960s. More influential are his theoretical textbooks, The Craft of Musical Composition (1941), Traditional Harmony (1943), and Elementary Training for Musicians (1946), which are widely used in American universities.

Further Reading

Hindemith's Charles Eliot Norton Lectures of 1949-1950 were published as A Composer's World: Horizons and Limitations (1952). They offer interesting insights into the composer's views and experiences. A pictorial biography is Testimony in Pictures, with an introduction by Heinrich Strobel (trans. 1968). An excellent general study which discusses Hindemith is Joseph Machlis, Introduction to Contemporary Music (1961).

Additional Sources

Hindemith, Paul, Selected letters of Paul Hindemith, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.

Noss, Luther, Paul Hindemith in the United States, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.

Skelton, Geoffrey, Paul Hindemith: the man behind the music: a biography, New York: Crescendo Pub., 1975.

Yale University Music Library, The Paul Hindemith collection: Yale University Music Library archival collection mss 47, New Haven, Conn.: The Library, 1994. □

Hindemith, Paul

views updated Jun 11 2018

Hindemith, Paul (1895–1963) German composer, who emigrated to the USA in 1939. Among his works are symphonies, concertos, ballets, chamber music and operas. In the 1930s, with Kurt Weill, he developed Gebrauchsmusik (Ger. utility music) written for amateur performance. Hindemith's best-known work is the symphony he derived from his opera Mathis der Maler (1934).