Artist: Inscape, Richard Scerbo (conductor)

Composer: Paul Hindemith

Format: Digital-only


Recorded in high resolution at 24-bit 192kHz.

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Bridging the gap between their GRAMMY® nominated release Sprung Rhythm (DSL-92170) and their upcoming album American Aggregate (DSL-92179), Inscape, under the direction of Richard Scerbo, takes us to an evening at the ballet with Paul Hindemidth’s Hérodiade.

Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge was an influential benefactor and patron of music, especially chamber music, during the first half of the twentieth century. In the early 1940s, Coolidge commissioned ballet scores from Aaron Copland and Mexican composer, Carlos Chávez, to be choreographed by Martha Graham. Due to disagreements and delays with Chávez in finishing in his score, Coolidge and Graham decided to commission another piece to take its place. They selected the composer Paul Hindemith who had immigrated to the United States from Germany and was currently teaching at Yale University. After rejecting Graham’s first idea for a script, the trio of Coolidge, Graham, and Hindemith opted on an exploration of the “Scene” from Stéphane Mallarmé’s enigmatic poem Hérodiade.

Hindemith outlines the eleven “sections” that make up the work, which are played without interruption:

1. A short Prélude prepares for the general mood of the composition. Several introductory measures of the strings are followed by a wide-spun melody, after which the opening measures are repeated by the wind instruments.

2. The piece proper begins with the two initial sentences of the Nurse...

3. A somewhat longer piece, Modéré, in which the flute and the oboe are the dominating instruments...

4. Again a short citation of the Nurses music...

5. Hérodiade’s outburst...(Vif, all instruments)

6. The Nurse

7. Hérodiade’s scene before the mirror...played as an Aria for the Clarinet using iniits short course a very wide range of the expression and the pitch of this instrument.

8. Agité. An exalted and energetic piece for all the instruments, interspersed with timid remarks of the Nurse...leading to

9. A triumphant, valse-like Vif et passioné, the heart-piece of the composition...

10. Aria for the Bassoon...followed by a quiet Refrain of the woodwinds...

11. A brief, pathetic Finale...

Hérodiade was premiered on October 30, 1945 at the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress under Graham’s dance title Mirror Before Me, with Graham dancing the lead role of Hérodiade. Also premiered on the same program were Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and Darius Milhaud’s Jeux de Printemps.

Founded in 2004 by Artistic Director Richard Scerbo, Inscape performs concerts that aim to engage audiences and provide a compelling way to explore both standard and non-standard works. With its flexible roster of musicians, Inscape’s programs explore a variety of styles. Praised by The Washington Post for their “guts and musical sensitivity,” Inscape’s energetic concerts are well-established in the Washington DC region and continue to garner praise from audiences and critics alike.


Track List

Paul Hindemith
1. Hérodiade 20:38

Total time: 20:38
Release date: June 2014
UPC: 053479720221

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