Martin Perry couples two works the complement each other — one’s very well-known, the other deserves to be. The well-known work is Paul Hindemith’s Ludus Tonalis.
This 1942 masterwork is a summation of Hindemith’s mature style. Its frequent comparisons to Bach’s “Art of the Fugue” are valid. Counterpoint is at the heart of both works, with the Praeludium of the Ludus Tonalis returning as the Postludium at the end — turned upside down and played backward.
The Ludus Tonalis a major work for piano, as well as being a critical part of Hindemith’s catalog. Not so familiar is the piano sonata of Hugo Weisgall.
Hugo Weisgall is primarily known for his vocal music and operas. His piano sonata, completed in 1982 is also a summation of a composer’s style. In this case, the 70-year old Weisgall faithfully followed the classical sonata form.
Weisgall’s work is post-tonal, but not atonal. There are clear destinations to the lines, despite their highly chromatic inflections. Weisgall also keeps his rhythmic pulse fluid, mixing even and odd-metered bars.
And yet, the end result is a work that doesn’t really sound all that radical — just like Hindemith’s.
Martin Perry plays with a sure confident tone. His use of legato is especially effective in Weisgall’s sonata, effectively bringing out the structure of the work. His playing of Hindemith is also first-rate. Each line of counterpoint is clearly delineated, making it easy to follow.
Martin Perry: Weisgall/Hindemith
Hugo Weisgall: Piano Sonata
Paul Hindemith: Ludus Tonalis
Martin Perry, piano
Bridge Records 9487