Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Paul Hindemith clearly knew the music of Algernon Ashton, and so should you

The first example is from the second movement of Algernon Ashton's Viola Sonata, Opus 44, and the second example is from the second movement of Paul Hindemith's Viola Sonata, Opus 11, number 4.

The homage is palpable.

Ashton was born in Durham, England in 1859, and died in London in 1937. His 1888 Viola Sonata bears homage to several German composers (particularly Bach, Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms). It was published by Simrock in Berlin, and would have certainly been available to Paul Hindemith, who was born in 1895 and was a violist.

Hindemith started work on his Opus 44 Sonata (his first viola sonata) in 1914, and played the first performance in Frankfurt in 1919.

Here's Ashton's New York Times obituary, (available to Times subscribers), a Wikipedia article about him, and an article by David Wright that mentions Ashton's hatred of originality and progress in music.

I think Ashton, had he knowledge of or interest in the music of the young Hindemith, would have been be pleased with what Hindemith did with his theme (if it was Ashton's to begin with).

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