Paul Hindemith: Ploner Musiktag
HINDEMITH Plöner Musiktag • Jobst Liebrecht, cond; Dietrich Henschel (bar); David Reibel (speaker); RSO Berlin; Marzahn-Hellersdorf Youth SO; Ens of the Hans Werner Henze Music School; Berlin R Children’s Ch and other children’s and youth ch • WERGO WER 6728 2 (71:36 Text and Translation)
Morgenmusik. Tafelmusik. Kantate . Abendkonzert.
On June 20, 1932, Hindemith spent the day at a school in Plön, a small town between Hamburg and Kiel. The school specialized in music, and he had written a series of pieces for the students to learn and play. Thus: A Day of Music at Plön . The day opened with Morning Music , a complex set for brass instruments. Much of the day was spent rehearsing individuals and ensembles. For a boy who could play only the xylophone, Hindemith wrote a part, on the spot; for three boys who couldn’t play any instrument, he wrote recorder trios and had them trained to play the instrument. During breaks between courses of midday dinner, the orchestral Table Music was played. In the afternoon, a cantata (“Admonition to Youth to Apply Themselves to Music”) for two soloists, three choruses, and orchestra which urges children to learn music was sung, spoken (a melodrama), and played. Hindemith was renowned for his sense of humor; the cantata is supposedly mostly tongue in cheek, but any wit therein doesn’t translate—the texts seem deadly serious, almost boarding-school punitive in attitude. The Evening Concert , a 35-minute series of orchestral, ensemble, and instrumental works, closed the day.
The point of it all was performing, not creating music for the ages to be heard by the general public or even the Serious Record Collector. So there seems little point in evaluating the music (by what standards?) or the performances (measured against whom?). While parts of Table Music have a light touch, most of the Plön music is in Hindemith’s heavy, neobaroque style of the early 1930s. Morgenmusik and sections of Abendkonzert have been recorded before, but I have not previously encountered the cantata. This seems to be the first recording of the complete Plöner Musiktag.
A similar day took place at Montepulciano, Italy, in August of 1980, with local school children premiering Hans Werner Henze’s opera Pollicino. Jobst Liebrecht led another performance and a recording in December 1980, sung and played by Berlin school children ( Fanfare 28:1). Liebrecht founded the Marzahn-Hellersdorf Youth Symphony Orchestra in 2005 and performed Plöner Musiktag in 2008, at which time the music school was named after Henze. The booklet lists every performer—258 of them, by my count—but does not tell us who (or which ensemble) performs what. One must assume that all mix into most of the works; for example, there are not enough brass players in any one of the ensembles to fill out Morning Music . This studio recording documents that day in 1932 and a slice of Hindemith’s oeuvre, which Wergo is slowly producing in toto —at least the majority of it that is owned by Schott Music & Media, the label’s parent company.
FANFARE: James H. North
Catalog Number: WER67282
Composer: Paul Hindemith
Conductor: Jobst Liebrecht
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensembles Der Hans-Werner-Henze-Musikschule
Performer: Angelika Hohne, Angelika Steinbeck, Anja Kirov-Vogler, Anna Eichholz, Carsten Schultze, Cornelia Dohler, Dietrich Henschel, Florian Dörpholz, Guido Klemisch, Iris Sobanski, Jobst Liebrecht, Karl-Heinz Rudiger, Maria Kopanou, Martina Feldmann, Maxi Kaun, Mirjam Brullman, Rainer Feldmann, Rainer Wolters, Rudolf Dobler, Siegmar Gradl, Susanne Ehrhardt, Thomas Utke, Yvonne Moser