Berliner Philarmonic (Claudio Abbado)
Состав оркестра: 2 флейты, флейта-пикколо, 2 гобоя, 3 кларнета, 2 фагота, 4 валторны, 2 трубы, 3 тромбона, туба, колокольчики, маленькие тарелки, тарелки, треугольник, малый барабан, большой барабан, литавры, струнные.
Пауль Хиндемит. Симфония "Художник Матис"
Mathis Der Maler
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Hindemith: Mathis Der Maler Nobilissima Visione - Symphonic Metamorphoses
More than any other work of that period, Paul Hindemith's symphony Mathis der Maler represents the resistance in Germany to the National Socialist regime. It was therefore a central cause of one of the most terrible persecutions which the Nazis ever launched, with unscrupulous brutality, against a composer.
Early in 1933 Hindemith believed that the newly elected, minority National Socialist government would not last long, and was not greatly worried when it banned some of his works as "cultural Bolshevism" in April of that year, and he found himself exposed to humiliation, chicanery and hostility. He felt compelled, nevertheless, to define his position towards totalitarianism, which he did in the opera Mathis der Maler, with its unmistakable autobiographical associations. In it, Hindemith depicted Matthias Grunewald (c. 1475-1528), the creator of the Isenheim Altarpiece, as an artist who gives up painting out of a sense of social responsibility, makes common cause with the oppressed, from whom he then suffers bitter disappointment. In the depths of his despair he acknowledges that he has betrayed the most precious thing: his artistic gifts. They are restored to him as a "duty", but he is never able to forget the pain, misery and helpless, contributory guilt he has experienced, and they add moral strength to his art. Mathis comes to recognize that the artist who betrays his genuine abilities is useless to society, try as he may to quiet his conscience by "activism". Hindemith himself evidently arrived at the same conclusion in his own life, which enabled him to adopt an attitude which immunized him to resist political pressures.
While he was still working on the opera's scenario, in the middle of 1933, he received a request for a new orchestral work from Wilhelm Furtwangler, who hoped to use it to demonstrate his own support for Hindemith. Hindemith at once decided to compose instrumental preludes to the acts of the opera in advance of the rest of it, and make a kind of orchestral suite from them. He had written two such movements, "Angel Concert" and "Entombment", named after panels of the Isenheim Altarpiece, by November 1933 when his inspiration failed. He came close to abandoning them, until he managed to overcome dramaturgical problems which were holding up his work on the opera itself, and this enabled him to compose a third movement, "The Temptation of St. Anthony" (the name of another altar panel), in February 1934 to complete the orchestral work for Furtwangler. Furtwangler conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the work's overwhelming premiere as early as 12 March 1934: it was an undisputed success, but at the same time it demonstrated an opposition to the authorities which they could not fail to see, and they responded with an unparalleled, vicious campaign against Hindemith. It came to a head on 6 December 1934, when Goebbels made a speech in the Sportpalast in Berlin in which he called Hindemith a "charlatan" and an "atonal noisemak-er". That sealed Hindemith's fate in Germany, and he began the painful process of going into inward exile. The symphony Mathis der Maler was the major work of Hindemith's middle period. It renovated the symphonic genre by the introduction of decisive new structural ideas. The first movement, "Angel Concert", begins with a measured, solemn introduction based on the old German folksong "Es sungen drei Engel" ("Three angels were singing"), which is followed by an exposition section using three distinct themes, a development section which combines the first two of them with the folksong, a recapitulation which uses only the third theme, and an emphatic coda. These innovations enlarge and concentrate first-movement sonata form by just exactly the right amount to maintain the traditional formal purpose of the sections, while their thematic content is radically altered. Hindemith's treatment of the harmonic/tonal relationships is even programmatic. The first movement is in G, but the folksong "Es sungen drei Engeln" enters in D flat: the interval between G and D flat is the tritone, the greatest possible between notes in tonal music. The last movement, on the other hand, develops purposefully towards D flat, and the symphony ends in that key, intoning the chorale-like "Alleluia" to the glory of God. The way the music thus travels compellingly and inexorably towards a goal from which it was originally as remote as it could be expresses an internal development.
The ballet score Nobilissima Visione, finished in Berlin on 28 February 1938, is the last major work Hindemith wrote before he left Germany for exile in Switzerland. He undertook it in response to an invitation from the choreographer Leonide Massine, and the two men arranged to meet to discuss the project in May 1937, in Florence. Hindemith took the opportunity to go and see Giotto's frescoes of scenes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi in the church of Santa Croce, and was so impressed by them that they inspired him to propose St. Francis as the subject of the ballet. Massine was sceptical, but Hindemith succeeded in firing him with his own enthusiasm, and they worked out a detailed scenario in September 1937. Like Mathis der Maler, the ballet depicts a man who emerges purified from many temptations and is able to live the remainder of his life humbly and thankfully, in harmony with his fellow men and all God's creatures. Hindemith pointed to the peacemaker-saint as an example at a time when the most brutish instincts were being unleashed in his homeland. The ballet's premiere took place in London on 21 July 1938, and then Hindemith made an orchestral suite from some of the numbers, which he himself conducted at its first performance in Venice on 13 September 1938. The first movement of the suite. Introduction and Rondo, comprises the "Meditation" from which Francis awakes transformed, and his mystic marriage with Lady Poverty. The second movement, March and Pastoral, depicts the thuggery of a band of soldiers who beat him mercilessly, after which he is visited, as if in a dream of another world, by three ladies: Humility, Chastity and Poverty. The last movement of the suite is identical to that of the ballet, a Passacaglia symbolizing the saint's Hymn to the Sun.
Hindemith's music for Nobilissima Visione possesses heartfelt warmth and gentleness, and a lyricism it had scarcely known before then. All the instruments seem to sing, and the score is constructed from the melody outwards. The underlying dynamic is piano, which rises to fortissimo only in the agitated Meditation, the brutal March and the expansive Sunrise. Hindemith moved to the United States in 1940, and his Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber has not only an English title but also an extrovert quality which makes no secret of its being written for the virtuosic style cultivated in American orchestras. The pieces by Weber, which Hindemith recomposed in his own idiom, to some extent, had the effect of loosening up his characteristic intonation. Hindemith took the material for the first and last movements from two pieces for piano duet, Weber's op. 60 nos.4 and 7. The second movement is based on Weber's overture to Gozzi's Turandot, while the third uses another of Weber's pieces for piano duet, op. 10 no. 2. In spite of Hindemith's title, it is not so much "themes" which undergo metamorphosis as whole pieces of music. Hindemith expands them by varied repetition, alters tonal relationships, sharpens and points up rhythms and harmonies, and adds entirely new harmonic parts. It was, incidentally, Massine who had turned Hindemith in the direction of Weber, in 1940, when he had asked for orchestral versions of some of Weber's piano music for another ballet. Hindemith came up with something far too complicated for Massine and the plan was dropped, but Hindemith went on to turn his "metamorphoses" into an orchestral work in their own right. The first performance was given by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra under Arthur Rodzinski on 20 January 1944. Paradoxically it was Massine's rival, Balanchine, who used the score for a ballet, in 1952.
- Giselher Schubert (translation: Mary Whittall)