Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis; Nobilissima Visione Suite & Konzertmusik – WDR Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marek Kanowski – Pentatone 

by | Mar 14, 2018 | Classical CD Reviews

Hindemith Orchestral music well played and beautifully recorded

Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis; Nobilissima Visione Suite & Konzertmusik- WDR Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marek Janowski -Pentatone Hybrid SACD/CD with multichannel 5.0 surround sound – PTC 5186 672 TT: 58:26 (2/16/18)

I’ve always felt that Paul Hindemith is one of the most interesting of the 20th century composers. Endlessly inventive, tremendously passionate, and never to to settle into a comfortable pattern, yet his style was ever present.

Pentatone has given us this wonderful multi-channel SACD/Hybrid disc with the familiar Symphonic Metamorphosis and two lesser know works, the Nobilissima Visione Suite and the Concert Music for String and Brass known as ‘The Boston Symphony’.

The Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, which begins the disc, were also conceived as a ballet, but eventually became  a concert piece. Hindemith based the work on a collection of melodies that Carl Maria von Weber once wrote for a theatre performance of Friedrich Schillers Turandot.

The Nobilissima Visione Suite is based on Saint Francis’ vision of the three allegories of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The piece represents the battle in which Francis is wounded, but most of the music is serene, focusing on the noblest vision that the wounded Francis subsequently experiences.

Finally, we have the so called Boston Symphony. It’s a very interesting composition, with dramatic interplay between strings and brass, and is a seldom heard or recorded work.

The performance by the WDR Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Janowski is energetic and precise. The recording is solid and realistic. I listened to the 5.0 mix and the stereo tracks on the CD layer. The multi-channel version is certainly the more compelling of the two choices, with the excellent acoustics of the Philharmonie Köln captured in the surround channels.

This is a fine recording of these works, and a stirring performance.


—Mel Martin