This week, Inscape is preparing to head back to the Sono Luminus studios in Boyce, Virginia, to record Paul Hindemith's Hérodiade, a neglected but masterful work of the twentieth century. This recording will be released as a digital exclusive follow-up to Sprung Rhythm, and should be available on iTunes in a few months.
Hérodiade is a unique work in Hindemith's prolific output. It is an episodic ballet based on the poem by symbolist French poet Stéphane Mallarmé (the same poet who inspired Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune). While living in the United States, Hindemith composed the work in 1944 for the illustrious American dancer and choreographer Martha Graham. Interestingly, the work premiered at the Library of Congress on the same program as Copland's Appalachian Spring. Though rarely performed, Hérodiade is one of Hindemith's most expressive and colorful works and stands comfortably alongside some of his more familiar works such as Mathis der Mahler, or Nobilissima Visione.
It will be a welcome challenge to record this piece which has been in our concert repertoire for several years. Most recently, we performed it at the National Gallery of Art as part of our program "Color, Line, Light" in March 2013. After the intensity of recording six world premiere compositions for Sprung Rhythm, we are looking forward to interpreting this work by one of the twentieth century's great composers.