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Hans Kindler. World Premiere Recordings with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington D.C.
Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643) (attributed) – Cassado/arr Kindler

Two Dutch Tunes of the Sixteenth Century

In Times Of Stress
See How Strong This Struggling Nation
Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1750)
Prelude and Fugue in D minor [Overture in D minor] from Chandos Anthem No. 2 and Concerto Grosso No. 5 arr. Kindler
Jaromir WEINBERGER (1896-1967)
Czech Rhapsody
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 arr. Kindler
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)

Love Music from Boris Godunov
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)

Etude Op. 2 No. 1 in C sharp minor – orch. LaSalle Spier
Etude Op. 8 No. 12 in D sharp minor – orch. LaSalle Spier
Ernesto LECUONA (1896-1963)

Andalucia arr. Morton Gould
George Whitefield CHADWICK (1854-1931)

Noel – from Symphonic Sketches
Dai-Keong LEE (b 1915)

Prelude and Hula
Mary HOWE (1882-1964)

William SCHUMAN (1913-1992)

Academic Festival Overture
National Symphony Orchestra of Washington DC/Hans Kindler
Recorded 1940-42
BIDDULPH WHL 063 [79.10]


One of the more obscure corners of the discography is happily collated in this intriguing collection from Biddulph. Collectors will know Hans Kindler primarily, I suppose, as a cellist and one who gave recitals with Rachmaninov and Ravel and concertos with Monteux and Furtwängler. He was the principal cellist in Stokowski’s Philadelphia Orchestra in its early days but once the First War was over he resumed his solo career, making a number of sides for Victor. Like Barbirolli slightly before him the cellist was soon to turn conductor and by 1931 he had formed the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington and in 1940 they began to record. The major fruits were the third symphonies of Brahms and Tchaikovsky – fine, important recordings. But they also recorded lighter fare and that is what we’re given here in what is I believe their first silver disc appearance.

I think it’s clear that Kindler based his orchestral sonorities and expressive nuances on Stokowski’s Philadelphians. The repertoire here is also not so very far way from that propounded by the more famous conductor and orchestra. The Frescobaldi is stirring and resonant, the strings full and rich in full romanticised fashion, akin to Stoky’s Bach (it matters not that it’s not by Frescobaldi at all but by Kindler’s fellow cellist, the Catalan Cassado). The Dutch Tunes could well be bracketed with say Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances but they were just as likely to have been influenced by Stokowski’s Two Ancient Liturgical Melodies – but I love the contrast between he generates between full orchestral power and the ripieno section in the first of the Tunes. The Handel is probably better known in its Elgarian Overture guise but gets a spirited, rather different and successful reading here. As a twentieth century counterblast there’s Weinberger’s delightful Czech Rhapsody – graceful, vibrant, perky, with brassy horns and Dvořákian Slavonic dance motifs. It gets a snorter of a performance; great fun. The Mussorgsky bathes in the sonorous Washington strings and the Chadwick is derived from the four Symphonic Sketches. Kindler evokes the nativity affection of it, the glad warmth and sensitivity. Dai-Keong Lee was born in Honolulu in 1915 and when this recording was made, he was in the army. Stern, colourful, rhythmically vivacious it’s also slightly spiced with degrees of exotica – to that extent it plays the same role in Kindler’s orchestral life that, say, Harl Macdonald did in Stokowski’s. Mary Howe’s Stars is a memorable piece of evocative impressionism, beautifully played, and we end with Schuman’s Academic Festival Overture. This is a high-spirited romp, pungent and with some internal contrasts, a lusty fugato and drum tattoos. This is its world premiere recording.

The excellent notes are by Stokowski authority Edward Johnson and Mark Obert-Thorn provides further quality in matters of transfer. This is a fine and well-timed celebration of the musical life of a now unjustly forgotten musician.

Jonathan Woolf



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