August 10, 2020

Paul Hindemith. Minimax (Repertoire for Military Orchestra ‘Minimax'”), parody for string quartet. Composition Information ↓; Parts/Movements ↓; Appears On. Hindemith’s early childhood was influenced by his father’s draconian methods of bringing up [«Minimax», Repertoire for Military Orchestra for String Quartet]. Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, Leipziger Streichquartett, Andreas Seidel, Timan Buning, Ivo Bauer, Matthias Moosdorf – Weill: Complete String Quartets; Hindemith.

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This CD presents early work by two of the most prominent German composers after the war.

Add Schoenberg, Berg, and Toch, and you basically have the A-team. Weill’s early maturity always astonished me he was born in He wrote many of his best-known masterpieces before the age of thirty. Hindemith, about five years older and almost entirely self-taught, had found major success as performer, teacher, and composer.

Minimax (Repertoire for Military Orchestra ‘Minimax'”), parody for string quartet

Indeed, before Weill had finished his studies with Busoni, Hindemith was running one of the most important new-music festivals in Europe. None of the works here typify the maturity of these composers.

Weill’s earlier quartet in b-minor stands firmly in the late Romantic era. It reflects his current studies with Humperdinck.

Minimax (Hindemith, Paul) – IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music

The rest of it is good student work, but nothing more. The Hindemith counts as little himdemith than a jape. He wrote it for a private gathering of friends and supporters — a party piece.


Every movement title puns on something. Unfortunately, the titles are more interesting than minimxx music itself, which could have been written by any competent composer of the period. Significantly, Hindemith never published it and asked that his unpublished works never be played after his death.

It does nothing for his currently low reputation and isn’t fair to the “real” music he wrote during the same year, like the Fourth String Quartet and Das Marienleben.

He should have destroyed it, rather than rely on good will. It’s not yet the sound we associate with Weill — neither the sour and acid of the European music, nor the bittersweet nostalgia of the American — but it is the work of a minimwx composer-to-be.

Unlike the earlier quartet, the work belongs wholly to its time and shows many influences, some superficially contradictory: Somehow, Weill synthesizes all these strains into something his own. The first movement, an “Introduction,” foreshadows the “Melodrama” of Die Dreigroschenoper.

Mimimax second movement, a driving scherzo, shows the influence of Mahler in its march trio. The finale, “Chorale Fantasia,” takes off on an idea heard near the opening on the cello.

Classical Net Review – Weill/Hindemith – String Quartets/Minimax

The most elaborate of the three movements and longer than the other two movements put together, it takes the idea through several different imitative, though not strictly fugal, treatments, song-plus-accompaniment, and rhapsody.


One interesting feature, a distinctive rhythm, shows up years later in Dreigroschenoperagain in the “Melodrama. The simplest textures nudge up against some fairly fierce and inventive counterpoint.

There’s also a psychological coolness hindemit it that nevertheless suggests a disturbance beneath the surface. Above all, Weill knows how to keep things moving.

His use of rhythm in the service of form is nothing less than masterful. The Leipzig Quartet plays beautifully, at times perhaps too beautifully. They don’t seem to understand that Minimax is crude fun.

On the other hand, they deliver a lovely account of the least satirical movement, “Dandelion at the Brook’s Shore,” a concert waltz. If it is satire, nobody knows its target, and it may well be a Hindemith mniimax. If so, I have to say I didn’t know the old minimsx had it in him.

They do a professional job on the Weill b-minor quartet, but it’s not a work that will wow too many, no matter who plays it. However, give them real meat, like Weill’s Op. String Quartet String Quartet, Op. Home News Contacts Copyright.