“We felt for the first time how much more music is than just style, technique, and an expression of personal feeling. Here music transcended all political barriers, national hatred, and the horrors of war.” -Paul Hindemith
Hindemith and Messiaen plumb the deepest corners of human experience in two of their most powerful works. Composed during his time as a soldier in WWI, Hindemith’s viola sonata blends the Romantic and Impressionistic styles of Brahms and Debussy with his own adventurous harmonic language. Inspired by the Book of Revelation, Messiaen wrote his quartet while a prisoner of war in WWII, premiering the work on dilapidated instruments to an audience of guards and fellow prisoners. In a contrasting spirit, Saint-Saëns’ caprice pairs Russian and Danish musical traditions in a thrilling Romantic work full of confidence and bravado.
Steve Cohen, clarinet