Hindemith loved the viola. Being a viola virtuoso
himself, Hindemith composed very many viola sonatas as well as a
viola concerto. His music has spoken to the world for many years
now. He was as talented a conductor as a composer.
Paul Hindemith was born near Frankfurt. He studied at the Frankfurt Conservatory, where he proved that he was a talented violinsit, violist, pianist and clarinetist. At the age of nineteen he became the conductor of the Frankfurt Opera. He was also part of the Rebner String Quartet.
Hindemith's first compositions drew spectacular attention. The overly-sexual operas such as Murder, and Sancta Susanna drew uncertain reviews. In 1922 he composed Kammermusik #1 which was a effort at Baroque style. It would be his first of many to come.
In 1923, he gave up his position as the conductor of the Frankfurt Opera. He decided to focus on his music and moved toward a style of distinguished energy and and objectivity. His opera, Cardillac, deals with a goldsmith who murders his customers, but the horrific descriptions are covered by the clear structure of music and its undying beauty.
In the 1930's he began work on his famous opera, Mathis der Maler and the symphony based on the opera. The painter portrayed in this piece symbolized the dilemma for artists caught up in political upheavals. The three movements show Hindemith's coming to terms with his classical and romantic sides. It was obvious that Hindemith had a great respect for tradition.
During World War II he moved to the United States where he
taught at Yale University. Here he composed Symphonic Metamorphosis
on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber. This piece was the most
delightful and deft of his works. It was a reflection of himself as
a mature composer. In 1953 he returned to Switzerland where he
composed a few more pieces. He died in 1963.
His Famous Compositions
Hindemith composed six string quartets and three trios. His
quartets feature the viola in many instances and are very enjoyable
to listen to. It obvious by listening to these pieces that he
favored the viola and was a violist himself. Hindemith is today
recognized as the leading German composer of his generation. His
music was based on a formulate philosophy that he followed
throughout his life. His work was an inspiration to his
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