Saturday, April 10, 2021
Alan Jacobs contra Ross Douthat on Douthat's public Christian intellectuals of our time--Douthat keeps picking as Christian intellectuals people who heap contempt on everyone who differs with them (Hart comes to mind)
There's a bit of set up for this one by way of quotation.
Alie Anne Yorgason has a dissertation analyzing Nikolai Kapustin's 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 82 and a short thought on how the prelude and fugue was more commonplace in the 20th century than you might have heard
Title: A study of Nikolai Kapustin's 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 82
Author(s): Yorgason, Alie Anne
Wednesday, April 07, 2021
Hindemith composed his Op. 22 string quartet a century ago, and thanks to historical reissues you can get the recordings of the Amar-Hindemith string quartet. Besides recording Hindemith's Op. 22 quartet the ensemble also had the distinction of making the first recording of Bartok's 2nd string quartet.
Now I realize a lot of people aren't into Hindemith even among those who even know who Hindemith is. So it goes. I'm reminded that when Adorno was ranting about how bad the new music was sounding in the 1950s in the era of John Cage and Stockhausen he had a grudging remark or two about how back when Hindemith was blasting away at the Romantic cliches of tonally anchored chromaticism he knew what the traditions were he was rebelling against whereas the 1950s Darnstadt serialists didn't. Hindemith was a reactionary for turning back to tonality, Adorno claimed, but he was a competent reactionary.
Curiously, Adorno didn't seem to find Bartok as guilty by the same standard. Apparently Adorno thought Hindemith, being German, had no excuse for deciding by the early 1930s that tonality was not something to actually be abandoned, after all, whereas Bartok, being Hungarian, was part of a musical culture for which tonal options were not yet all "used up". Right ...
Anyway, since I happen to like music by both Hindemith and Bartok it was fun to learn that Hindemith and company were first to record Bartok's 2nd string quartet. My fantasy string quartet concert of 20th century string quartets would be Bartok's 3rd, Shostakovich's 3rd, Hindemith's Op. 22 and Ben Johnston's 4th. Honestly, it's tough to pick from three of the four because the cycles they wrote are all really good but for Hindemith there's no doubt in my mind that Op. 22 is his best string quartet.
Anyway, since said string quartet was composed a century ago I thought I'd mention it, and mention that historical reissue recordings make it possible for us to hear (albeit with 1920s recording limitations) how Hindemith himself and the rest of the Amar-Hindemith quartet played through Op. 22.
The Roaring 20s had a lot of remarkable music, whether it's Blind Willie Johnson, early Ellington or Hindemith (and if you don't like his music, hey, this is my blog, after all. :) )