The powerfully violent imagery of the Isenheim Altarpiece by Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald and specifically the story of that artist’s struggles for freedom of expression during the turmoil of the Peasants’ War of 1524-1525 paralleled composer Paul Hindemith’s own struggles as the Nazis repressed his 1935 opera Mathis der Maler with its expressions of disdain for any and all forms of censorship.
Absurdly labeled pro-Jewish and entarte (degenerate) Hindemith’s works could not find an artistic venue in his home country, forcing him to seek greener pastures in German-speaking, neutral Switzerland, where his Mathis der Maler had its world premiere in 1938 in Zurich.
Early in his career Hindemith dabbled in Expressionism, a time from which come his early career operas Sancta Susanna and Nusch-Nuschi. As Hindemith matured he developed his own compositional aesthetic, which he termed Objectivism, its largely tonal language a departure from the atonality of his earlier works.
In the Naxos-Classics album of Hindemith works, the ever curious, always incisive Marin Alsop leads the Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien in idiomatic performances of vocal and instrumental selections from Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler, Sancta Susanna and Nusch-Nuschi.
Rafael de Acha ALL ABOUT THE ARTS
Published by ALL ABOUT THE ARTS
Rafael de Acha has enjoyed a distinguished career in the arts as a performer, stage director, producer, and educator. He was born and grew up in Cuba. At the age of 17 he moved to the United States to study Drama at the University of Minnesota, and later Languages at L.A. City College, Music at the Juilliard School of Music, at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, and at the New England Conservatory of Music, from which he received the Master's degree. He has taught courses on the History of Music at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and at Florida International University, and contributed writings and reviews to Seen and Heard International (www.seenandheard-international.com ) and to this blog. He co-founded the award-winning New Theatre in Coral Gables, Florida, where he produced and staged twenty seasons of classical and contemporary theater, including fifty world premieres of plays that went on to have international and national productions on and off Broadway, including Ana in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz (Pulitzer Prize for Drama 2002 and Tony Nomination 2003.) In 2006 he was presented with a citation from The Dade County Cultural Affairs Council for “trailblazing contributions to the arts in South Florida.”
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