Hindemith: Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Op 50; Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Weber; Violin Concerto

Reviewed on Mon 16 Dec, 2013

You’ll have to be prepared for the disappointing, occasionally muffled sound of these live recordings from Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle in order to get to really rather fine performances fronted by Christoph Eschenbach of three richly expansive pieces by Paul Hindemith. It’s a surprising glitch on the part of the otherwise sonically reliable Ondine, and one, unfortunately, that is most pronounced in the Violin Concerto. Here, Midori seems at times as distant from the ill-defined orchestral accompaniment as the listener is from proceedings overall. Which is a pity, for she delivers a fluid, well-paced, intelligent account that has much to recommend it. Both the Symphonic Metamorphosis and Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass Instruments fare better: the former treated to a richly characterised performance, the latter clearly revelling in the music’s tumbling contrasts in mood, tempi, style and, not least, the delightful interplay of orchestral sections.
–Michael Quinn