Hindemith, Nobilissima Visione (complete ballet), Seattle Symphony, G. Schwarz
(released on July 8, 2014)
Naxos 8.572763 | 58'24"
The ballet sets many of the famous episodes from the life of the Poverello of Assisi, beginning with the saint's love of troubadour songs, for which Hindemith incorporates the 13th-century song Ce fut en mai (It was in May), weaving into later parts of the score. Working as a cloth seller for his father, he gives everything he has to a beggar in Assisi, and then pursues a career in the military. He has a vision of three women, representing Humility, Chastity, and Poverty, which causes his change of heart so that he loses all interest in his friends' feasting. He meditates on the message he receives from the icon crucifix in the church of San Damiano, in which Christ told Francis to rebuild his church, and convinces a wolf to stop attacking people in the town of Gubbio, here charming it by pretending to play a violin using two sticks. He celebrates his mystical marriage to Lady Poverty, and the work ends with a movement evoking the composition of the Canticle of the Animals, set as a passacaglia on a six-measure ground bass. Schwarz and his musicians turn in a fine reading of this fascinating score, paired with the Five Pieces for String Orchestra (op. 44/4), although it would be even better to see Massine's choreography with it.
Hindemith, Hérodiade (complete ballet), Inscape, R. Scerbo
(released on June 24, 2014)
Dorian SL-D-97202 | 20'36"