Hindemith: Symphony 'mathis Der Maler' (CD)
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Paul Hindemith’s life was dominated by the events of the two world wars. In 1917, his discovery of contemporary Expressionist poetry and drama transformed him from a talented student to Germany’s leading new composer. His one-act operas Sancta Susanna and Das Nusch-Nuschi date from this period. Sancta Susanna – Hindemith’s first masterpiece – combines religious and erotic symbolism into an eerie narrative that was shocking for its time, whereas the dance suite from Das Nusch-Nuschi emphasises the plot’s origin as a Burmese comedy. The three symphonic movements from the opera Mathis der Maler refer to the three panels of the Isenheim Altarpiece by Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald, but also graphically reflect Hindemith’s own artistic struggles in Nazi Germany.