Paul Hindemith and Music Inspired by a Masterpiece of Art

Isenheim Alterpiece (second view)(Photo: Wikipedia)
Isenheim Alterpiece (second view)(Photo: Wikipedia)

German-born composer Paul Hindemith based his most famous musical work of art on a Renaissance masterpiece, the Isenheim Alterpiece of Mattias Grunewald.  The opera Mathis der Mahler (Matthias the Painter), from 1935, is about the struggle of the artist during a turbulent time of the Protestant Reformation.  This evening on Symphony @ 7, we’ll have the Mathis der Mahler Symphony, which he wrote a year before the opera itself.

This year marks the 500th anniversary of this great masterpiece of inspirational visual art.  The museum where the work is located in Colmar, Alsace, France is celebrating with a special exhibition. Also,  Paul Hindemith was born on this date in 1895 and lived until 1963, and we’re celebrating his birthday by presenting the Mathis der Mahler Symphony on Classical 101.

Hindemith often conducted his own works, and here he is in a recording from 1955:

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