PaulHindemith’s Music Before and After the World War 2
PaulHindemith is renowned not only as a composer and instrumentalist butalso as a teacher and conductor. He was prolific in music especiallyduring the 20th century and recognized as a leading composer duringhis time. He specialized in playing the violin and viola togetherwith other instruments. During this period, Paul developed his systemof music, especially concerning the tonality. His work was high inquality and hence performed and recorded. Notably, the sonatas arewidely used in almost all the available orchestral instruments. Abrief history on Paul Hindemith reveals that he was born in Hanau, atown not far from Frankfurt in 1963. His father emphasized theimportance of being a musician, hence prompting Paul to start violinlessons with the assistance of local musicians. Paul was privilegedto be tutored by Adolf Rebner, a highly esteemed musician inFrankfurt. Afterward, Paul began performing publicly either alone orwith his brother and sister. During these performances, their fatherRobert would accompany them sometimes. Apparently, Hindemith startedtrying out composition which he was able to study with the aid ofsome affluent families. Some of the people he studied hiscompositions include Arnold Mendelssohn, Sekles, a modernistcomposer, Franz Schreker, Arnold Schoenberg and Richard Strauss amongmany others. Hindemith’s music was influenced by a variety offactors such as contemporary poetry, and the use of instruments suchas cello and piano. One of the different observations is that afterhis death, some of his music were published and they were quiteromantic, a style that he had previously condemned before World WarII. Information sources show that his expertise in violin flourishedand in 1914, he was selected to join the first violin section of theFrankfurt Opera Orchestra after which he became the assistant leader[ CITATION Joh13 l 1033 ].His position provided him with the opportunity to meet and interactwith other famous musicians, and he learned to appreciate modernmusic.
Hindemith’sMusic before World War II
Paul’sindulgence in music raised his status to the extent that he startedsolo performances in concertos by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, andMendelssohn. The beginning of World War II saw the beginning ofsignificant changes in the life and music of Paul. The musician wasdrafted into the army for military services although he tried as muchas possible to avoid combat. Despite the course, he joined theregimental band and played the bass drum and throughout the war, hecomposed and formed a string quartet. The end of the war sawsignificant changes in Hindemith musical career. After returning toFrankfurt Opera, he switched from the violin to viola andsurprisingly, the quartet incorporated modern works in theirotherwise standard repertoire. His interest developed even further,and he organized a personal performance that was entirelysatisfactory. An in-depth outlook on the features of his music duringthis period indicates that the genre was quite varied. Apparently, hemade compositions of all the styles present at that time includingone art operas, chamber music, solo instrumentals, vocals, andparodies as well as film and entertainment music. This is also theperiod that defines his shift from romantic harmonies to expandedharmony created an aura of tonality and formal structures that werepreviously disregarded by many. His pieces brought out his method andstyle of expressionism.
PaulHindemith’s music did not stop here, on the contrary, it evolvedwith time to become more consistent with the ideology of newobjectivity. As such, Hindemith’s third and fourth quarter aresignificant evidence of this change and shift. Also during this time,the music motivated the composer hence leading to a loss in the lateromantic characteristics. Furthermore, he began to add specificinstructions to the various performers, for instance, he emphasizedon them the need to discard the lessons learned in piano and ratherplay in a wild manner with furious tempo. This led to the developmentof music that was much unlike the normal. He insisted that the beautyof sound is not the primary objective in music. Additionally, beforeWorld War II in 1923, he set aside the orchestra and focused entirelyon composition. He ideally believed that the style of a piece ofmusic should be dependent on the function for which it is created.This was a stepping stone for his drawing upon styles likeneo-baroque and baroque. He also pulled away from the usualtonalities but without completely neglecting it. The Kammermusiken(1924-27) are several masterpieces that he developed made up of achamber orchestra with additional parodies, marches, nocturnes, andwaltzes. Another element that can be noticed is the distance frommodern tonality especially when he employed 11 of the 13 notes foundin the chromatic scale. Later in 1927, his music diverted evenfurther to include children’s works and complex, elaborate musicand pieces [ CITATION Joh13 l 1033 ].
In1933, few years to the beginning of World War II, the arrival of theNational Socialists to the regime led to the banning of Hindemith’spieces. It was said that the work was promoting cultural Bolshevism.This event proved to be a turning point in his music as they becamemuch more melancholic and despairing in description. After thebanning of his music, he diverted his attention to composition.Before and during the World War II, Hindemith was able to developrelationships with other famous musicians. The only setback heencountered was related to the strained association with the Nazi.This is mainly because his operas were criticized openly by the Nazimedia and also his marriage to a Jewish woman coupled with closerelations with leftists made his life quite complicated. There is asentiment that these hardships could have affected his way ofcreating and composing pieces. One can barely fail to notice thatHindemith’s music seems to be uniquely foreign from the typicalGerman style. Critics have even pointed out that it was not art in agreater sense. Apparently, Hindemith was more intent on playing gameswith the various tones with acrobatic artistic-ness [ CITATION Cha12 l 1033 ].As mentioned before, he liked experimenting with art in a way thatwas not taught by the musical teachers.
Nonetheless,his talent and dramatic music appealed to some of the Nazi and thisnewfound impression caused a change in his music, which became moreaccommodating to the new Nazi regime. Some of his works emphasized onhis Germanic outlook and thus complemented with German folk musicaspects. This change was almost instantly recognized when he waspraised by a Nazi critic, who appraised his new political and musicalview. Some authors have gone further to elaborate that even withyears of development, new instrumentals, and compositions, theessence of German music is still entrenched in the masterly essenceof sound and form. In other words, Hindemith’s works which haveelements of classism, firmness and a sense of clarity, can still befelt in the contemporary music.
Duringthe year 1934, Hindemith saw some of his planned presentationsblocked by Nazi officials. The main reason behind the prohibitions isclear. Due to his constant collaboration with the Jewish community,family connections and partnership with controversial artists such asKurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, his presentations were thus seen asgoing far from the Nazi principles. One of the most felt effects ofHindemith’s music was eventually portrayed by his expressions,something that the Nazis did not appreciate. This prohibition pushedhim to leave the Berlin Academy and join the Turkish Government wherehe established a music school in the capital city [ CITATION Joh13 l 1033 ].
Theslowly but surely progression of Hindemith’s music officially beganin 1936 when he pledged his loyalty to Hitler. His musical conceptwas altered since he was required to create a piece for Luftwaffe tobe played by the Germans in concert halls. Evidently, his accurateperception of music was still intact as he still came up with whatthe Germans called “degenerate music.” The Government was intenton eradication of any form of corrupt influences and therefore, theNazi’s who did not appreciate Hindemith’s works ended his pactwith the administration. Later on, his music was completely banned,and he moved to Switzerland since Germany seemed to be unproductive.In the year 1940, he transferred to the United States [ CITATION Enc15 l 1033 ].
WhenPaul Hindemith began making compositions, the idea of serialism andtone rows developed by Arnold Schoenberg had taken root. A quick lookat serial music shows that it treats the twelve tones as equals withno key relationships. As such, each and every tone is allocated atone row which after that becomes the creative element in thecomposition. Hindemith was exceptional to this model. Instead ofjumping on this popular bandwagon, he called for the extension of thetraditional harmony. It is for this purpose that he came up with theterm “Music for Use” also known as “Utility Music.” He mainlybelieved that apart from music produced for audience performance,other types should also be developed for personal use. Additionally,his principles were founded on the sentiment that music must becomposed for a particular purpose. For example, his work thatsupported this aspect is known as Singing and Playing Music forAmateurs and Friends of Music. However, it is important to note thatthis concept was later renounced by Hindemith when he categoricallyproclaimed that all music have their usefulness.
Typically,Hindemith is also recognized among the most proficient Germancomposers of all time regardless of his fallout with the German Nazigovernment. Notably, his style was made up of late romantic idiomthat was later advanced into expressionism. He also applied leanerand contrapuntally complicated compositions, a style that has beenacclaimed to be neoclassical. However, his language is criticallydifferent from that of Igor Stravinsky. The neoclassic style of PaulHindemith can be accurately felt in the Kammermusik (Chamber Music)which are series of pieces specifically for an ensemble of smallinstruments yet unusual ones. In the period before World War II (1928to 1930) Hindemith kept on writing for special groups for instanceproduction of the trio for viola, heckelphone, and even the piano.However, a slight deviation from these examples can be seen in his1949 creations after the World War II where he also made seven trios,a sonata for double bass and concerto that involved trumpet, bassoon,and strings [ CITATION Cha12 l 1033 ].
Mostof Paul’s trademark was developed in the years before the SecondWorld War Around the middle of the 1930s, Hindemith reduced hischamber group writings and focused more on the orchestra. It isduring this time that he wrote the Mathis der Maler opera which wasrarely staged. In this production, the elements of neo-classism andfolk song are evident. He also wrote the Mathis der Maler in symphonyas a preliminary to the opera. However, the opera used combinationsof instrumental interludes as well as vocal scenes. The principle ofMusic for use was developed by Hindemith due to his intentions tocreate both a social and political purpose with the ability to beplayed even by amateurs. Some of these concepts were instilled in himby the interactions he had with musicians such as Bertolt Brecht. Oneother thing that we cannot fail to mention is that in hiscompositions, Hindemith was talented enough to create pieces that fitinto any particular scenario that he wanted. For instance, in 1936 hewrote the Funeral Music for solo viola and string orchestra within avery short time as a tribute for King George V. Furthermore, hedesigned other musicals such as Plöner Musiktage that could beappreciated by the community and inhabitants of Plön city. In theyear 1934, he created a Scherzo for Viola and Cello which was thenrecorded instantly [ CITATION Cha12 l 1033 ].
Allthe above illustrations indicate the methods styles and principlesthat were employed by Paul Hindemith especially during his stay inGermany and Switzerland before the Second World War. It is clear thathe was intent on making music according to his wishes although oncein a while, he was influenced by the German politics to conform towhat they wanted. We can also notice that his music during thisperiod is not unique but carries the influence of many othermusicians as well as cultures in a manner that can only be termed asneo-classic.
Hindemith’sMusic after World War II
Beforewe can embark on the analysis of Hindemith’s music after the SecondWorld War, it is important first to understand his musical system.Only in this way can we then recognize the shift between these twopolitical periods and their influence on Hindemith’s music. Firstand foremost, Hindemith employed unique musical systems based ontones but also non-diatonic. Similar to the numerous tonal pieces,his work is centered on tonic and several modulations from one toneto another. However, his philosophy doesn’t rely on a scale ofnotes. Instead, it utilizes all the 12 notes freely. As such, most ofthe music Hindemith produced post-World War II have rewrittenversions after he developed this particular system. One of the keyfeatures of such a structure is that the 12 tones musical intervalswere equally organized on a scale from the most consonant to theleast. The chords are also classified into six main classes based ontheir dissonance and whether or not they contain a tritone or if theyare capable of suggesting a root or tonal center [ CITATION Dom14 l 1033 ].In other words, the philosophy of Hindemith’s music was entrenchedin melody since he worked hard to develop melodies that did notelaborate primary or minor triads.
Asmentioned before, Hindemith had written a theoretical book outliningin great detail his systematic musical arrangement. An in-depthanalysis of the music he composed and produced after the Second WorldWar illustrates that there is still strong attachments to the ones hedeveloped earlier. It is important to remember that after beingrejected in Germany, he relocated to Switzerland and finallyimmigrated to the United States. As such, the music he came toproduce later was not entirely similar to those in Germany andTurkey. Additionally, he collected some elements from other music andintegrated them into the harmonic structure of his own. He claimedthat his methods encompassed a broader range compared to the originalRoman numeral approach when it came to chords. Some music-lovers inAmerica acknowledge that his musical system had a broad range ofapplicability from the traditional music to the contemporary ones.This analysis, therefore, exemplifies his ability to create musicthat is not only beautiful but also relevant to the context of thecommunity around him. Take for example the piano work that he did inthe 1940s entitled Ludus Tonalis. It contains twelve figures which gohand in hand with the way of Johann Sebastian Bach, yet the musicgoes from the last key’s number to the next. The order of the keys,therefore, revolves around the tonal center of C [ CITATION Dom14 l 1033 ].
Hindemithalso retained some traditional components of classical music afterWorld War II mainly the idea of dissonance and consonance. His musicstarts with consonants then moves progressively into the dissonanceregion with the climax resolving into a full consonant chord. His1949 concert music composed of strings and bass is a good example ofsuch. However, some significant differences arise when it comes tothe overall aesthetics. A close outlook on the Boston SymphonyOrchestra reveals that there are recognizable changes that arepresent in comparison to the earlier music. Apparently, one of hisfamous work in record and theater is known as Symphonic Metamorphosisof Themes by Carl Maria von Weber. In this example, Paul Hindemithemployed the melodies from several of Weber’s works including pianoduets and incidental music, transforming them into movements that arebased on a central theme [ CITATION Dom14 l 1033 ].Clearly, this is a system that is different from the sonatas, the useof violas and violins alone. The music produced after the SecondWorld War seems to be more advanced and incorporates the expertise ofseveral other musicians.
Theperiod following the Second World War also saw significantadvancements in the symphonies that Hindemith produced. In the year191, he completed his Symphony in B-flat, a significant deviationfrom other symphonies since it was approved to be used for concertband. As such, he was able to write a piece that could be conductedin the United States Army Band. This is an excellent representativeof the latest yet appalling works that exhibit high contrast from theprevious works that he did before World War II. On top of that, theband-oriented works differed from the earlier compositions, and theyform the cornerstone of contemporary band repertoire. Otherobservable variations from his traditional work can also be seen inthe recording of pieces that have strong contrapuntal lines instereo. A good example here is the Philharmonia Orchestra for EMIdone in 1956 [ CITATION And14 l 1033 ].
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