Sonata for Flute and Piano (1936)

Paul Hindemith (1895-1963)

Program note written by Jacob Farmer

Movements:
I. Heiter Bewegt
II. Sehr Langsam
III. Sehr Lebhaft – Marsch

Approximate Performance Time:
13 minutes

Difficulty:
Intermediate Advanced – appropriate for advanced high school students and college undergraduates

Recordings:
Leone Buyse & Siglind Bruhn. Sonata for Flute and Piano in B Flat Major. Equilibrium, 1998. MP3.

Source Article:
PAYNE, DOROTHY KATHERINE. “THE ACCOMPANIED WIND SONATAS OF HINDEMITH: STUDIES IN TONAL COUNTERPOINT.” Order No. 7421530 University of Rochester, Eastman School of Music, 1974. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.

Biography:
Paul Hindemith was a German composer born in 1895 from Hanau, Germany. He made a living by playing the violin in restaurants, dance bands, and theaters. He is credited for creating Gebrauchsmusik, or “utility music” made for everyday listening. Children’s games, brass bands, radio plays were among his Gebrauchsmusik collection that aligned with the culture of post-war Germany. Composing to him was not an art, but a craft used to satisfy social need. Hindemith also wrote chamber music, and operas, of which his masterpiece Mathis der Maler is best known of the political upheaval its performance by the Berliner Philharmoniker caused in Nazi Germany. He set out to bring tonality to the forefront of composition again, where other composers were challenging the traditional harmonic system. Hindemith died in 1963. 

Piece Information:
Hindemith’s Sonata for Flute and Piano was written in 1936 for flutist Gustav Scheck but the Nazi government prohibited the premiere. This sonata was part of a set of twenty-six sonatas completed between 1935 and 1955. The work was finally premiered on April 10, 1937 in Washington, D.C. by Georges Barrère. This was part of the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge’s 8th festival of chamber music at the Library of Congress. This piece exemplifies Hindemith’s neo-classical motives, distinctive harmonies, and the Neue Sachlichkeit style (a style rejecting romanticism and over expressionism).