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Boris Berezovsky|Hindemith : Ludus Tonalis & Suite '1922'

Hindemith : Ludus Tonalis & Suite '1922'

Boris Berezovsky

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According to conventional wisdom, the adjective that most aptly describes Hindemith's music is "dry," just about as damning an assessment as exists, barely a step up from "mind-numbingly dull" or "unlistenable." Who wants to listen to dry music? Hindemith was remarkably prolific, and it must be admitted that he perhaps wrote more than his share of dry music, but he also wrote music of great energy, expressiveness, and wit. Ludus tonalis -- a 50-minute cycle of 12 fugues, one in each of the major keys, connected by interludes and framed by a prelude and postlude -- is clearly related to the structure of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. As the largest and most ambitious piano piece by one of the twentieth century's leading composers, self-consciously modeled on a great monument of keyboard music, it's a work that demands to be taken seriously. The work's subtitle, "Studies in Counterpoint, Tonal Organization and Piano Playing," contributes to intimations of portentousness. The composer, however, deflects an overly serious assessment by the title he gives it, which can be translated as "Tonal Game," and games should be fun. Ludus tonalis is not the most consistently engaging of Hindemith's scores, but the moments that delight and astonish far outnumber the dry. It's not too broad a judgment to note that, in general, the slow movements hold less interest than the fast ones. Hindemith's harmonic palette in these works is fairly narrow, and he's not an outstanding melodist, so some of the slow movements sound like contrapuntal meandering. A significant element in the most compelling pieces here is his rhythmic inventiveness, which is considerable, and is most evident in the more energetic and propulsive fugues and interludes. One of the charms of these pieces is the wit and quirky sense of humor that Hindemith displays. A majority of the movements do sound playful, more like games than chores. Another attractive element is the brevity of the movements, most of which are under two minutes; they make their point and take their bows before wearing out their welcome. Several movements that leap out include the "Interludium tertium," with its faux-Baroque ornamentation, and the eccentrically bouncy themes of "Fuga quinta" and "Fuga nona." Hindemith's five-movement Suite "1922," Op. 26, fills out the disc. It's most notable for its "Ragtime" and the jazz-inspired "Shimmy," which occasionally sounds like Nancarrow and should be required listening for anyone still holding onto the cliché that Hindemith is dry. Boris Berezofsky offers solid performances that emphasize the expressiveness of the music and give attention to the detail that brings out the individuality of the movements. His playing has none of the perfunctory, notey quality that can make performances of Hindemith so deadly. He performs the Suite with abandon and apparent glee. Ludus tonalis reveals Hindemith in a much more reserved mood, but it would have been gratifying to hear more of the wildness of Berezofsky's performance of the Suite brought to some of the quirkier fugues and interludes.
© TiVo

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Hindemith : Ludus Tonalis & Suite '1922'

Boris Berezovsky

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1
Ludus Tonalis : I Praeludium
00:03:13

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

2
Ludus Tonalis : II Fuga prima in C major
00:03:10

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

3
Ludus Tonalis : III Interludium primum
00:01:19

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

4
Ludus Tonalis : IV Fuga secunda in G major
00:01:26

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

5
Ludus Tonalis : V Interludium secundum - Pastorale
00:01:11

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Anna Barry, Producer - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

6
Ludus Tonalis : VI Fuga tertia in F major
00:03:11

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

7
Ludus Tonalis : VII Interludium tertium
00:01:32

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

8
Ludus Tonalis : VIII Fuga quarta in A major
00:03:13

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

9
Ludus Tonalis : IX Interludium quartum
00:01:17

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

10
Ludus Tonalis : X Fuga quinta in E major
00:01:12

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

11
Ludus Tonalis : XI Interludium quintum
00:01:17

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

12
Ludus Tonalis : XII Fuga sexta in E flat major
00:02:47

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

13
Ludus Tonalis : XIII Interludium sextum
00:02:04

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

14
Ludus Tonalis : XIV Fuga septima in A flat major
00:01:54

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

15
Ludus Tonalis : XV Interludium septimum
00:03:21

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

16
Ludus Tonalis : XVI Fuga octava in D major
00:01:14

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

17
Ludus Tonalis : XVII Interludium octavum
00:01:22

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

18
Ludus Tonalis : XVIII Fuga nona in B flat major
00:02:09

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

19
Ludus Tonalis : XIX Interludium nonum
00:02:34

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

20
Ludus Tonalis : XX Fuga decima in D flat major
00:01:53

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

21
Ludus Tonalis : XXI Interludium decimum
00:02:12

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

22
Ludus Tonalis : XXII Fuga undecima in B major
00:01:50

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

23
Ludus Tonalis : XXIII Interludium undecima
00:02:06

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

24
Ludus Tonalis : XXIV Fuga duodecima in F sharp major
00:03:08

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

25
Ludus Tonalis : XXV Postludium
00:03:26

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

26
Suite 1922 Op.26 : I March
00:01:41

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

27
Suite 1922 Op.26 : II Shimmy
00:02:49

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

28
Suite 1922 Op.26 : III Nachtstück
00:06:13

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

29
Suite 1922 Op.26 : IV Boston
00:04:40

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

30
Suite 1922 Op.26 : V Ragtime
00:02:32

Boris Berezovsky, Piano, MainArtist - Paul Hindemith, Composer

© 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK ℗ 2006 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK

Album Description

According to conventional wisdom, the adjective that most aptly describes Hindemith's music is "dry," just about as damning an assessment as exists, barely a step up from "mind-numbingly dull" or "unlistenable." Who wants to listen to dry music? Hindemith was remarkably prolific, and it must be admitted that he perhaps wrote more than his share of dry music, but he also wrote music of great energy, expressiveness, and wit. Ludus tonalis -- a 50-minute cycle of 12 fugues, one in each of the major keys, connected by interludes and framed by a prelude and postlude -- is clearly related to the structure of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. As the largest and most ambitious piano piece by one of the twentieth century's leading composers, self-consciously modeled on a great monument of keyboard music, it's a work that demands to be taken seriously. The work's subtitle, "Studies in Counterpoint, Tonal Organization and Piano Playing," contributes to intimations of portentousness. The composer, however, deflects an overly serious assessment by the title he gives it, which can be translated as "Tonal Game," and games should be fun. Ludus tonalis is not the most consistently engaging of Hindemith's scores, but the moments that delight and astonish far outnumber the dry. It's not too broad a judgment to note that, in general, the slow movements hold less interest than the fast ones. Hindemith's harmonic palette in these works is fairly narrow, and he's not an outstanding melodist, so some of the slow movements sound like contrapuntal meandering. A significant element in the most compelling pieces here is his rhythmic inventiveness, which is considerable, and is most evident in the more energetic and propulsive fugues and interludes. One of the charms of these pieces is the wit and quirky sense of humor that Hindemith displays. A majority of the movements do sound playful, more like games than chores. Another attractive element is the brevity of the movements, most of which are under two minutes; they make their point and take their bows before wearing out their welcome. Several movements that leap out include the "Interludium tertium," with its faux-Baroque ornamentation, and the eccentrically bouncy themes of "Fuga quinta" and "Fuga nona." Hindemith's five-movement Suite "1922," Op. 26, fills out the disc. It's most notable for its "Ragtime" and the jazz-inspired "Shimmy," which occasionally sounds like Nancarrow and should be required listening for anyone still holding onto the cliché that Hindemith is dry. Boris Berezofsky offers solid performances that emphasize the expressiveness of the music and give attention to the detail that brings out the individuality of the movements. His playing has none of the perfunctory, notey quality that can make performances of Hindemith so deadly. He performs the Suite with abandon and apparent glee. Ludus tonalis reveals Hindemith in a much more reserved mood, but it would have been gratifying to hear more of the wildness of Berezofsky's performance of the Suite brought to some of the quirkier fugues and interludes.
© TiVo

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