Paul Hindemith

Amor und Psyche (Farnesina)

            Subtitled, “Overture to a ballet for orchestra,” this delightful composition was composed during World War II (1943) and given its world première by the Philadelphia Orchestra.  The “Farnesina” in the title refers to the marvelous early sixteenth-century Renaissance villa in the center of Rome, built by the powerful Chigi family, bankers to the Vatican.  It later became the property of the Farnese family, hence the name.   What is artistically significant about the reference by Hindemith are the frescos by Raphael in the loggia depicting the myths of Amor and Psyche.

Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber

            Hindemith is without question one of the most significant composers of the first half of the twentieth century, and one who stands almost alone in the breadth of his achievement.   He espoused a musical philosophy that was founded in deep reverence of discipline, musicality, craftsmanship, mastery and respect for past musical traditions, and commitment to the education and training of students.  He composed in almost every musical genre, and while certainly a “modern” composer, whose compositions explore a shifting degree of dissonance, his works draw upon almost every genre and compositional technique in music history.  He emphasized fundamentals of musicianship for all, and demonstrated that in his pedagogical works and in his own formidable performance skills.   He wrote