Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber

Paul Hindemith

Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber

About this work

In his Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber (1943), Hindemith pays homage to the important German early Romantic composer by adapting some of his music -- works for piano duo and for the stage -- as an orchestral suite. It's uncertain whether Hindemith preferred the plural or singular form of the word "metamophosis" in the title; whichever form of the word he intended, it is the key to the music. Hindemith adapts each of the extracts from Weber to serve as the theme for one of the movements, beginning the process of transformation that continues throughout each.

One of the work's highlights is the second movement, in which a "Chinese" flute theme twice receives the Bolero treatment. At first it is incessantly cycled in ever-richening instrumental textures, then the process repeats with "jazzy" syncopated rhythms. At times the percussion instruments take over, and different groups in the orchestra seem to go off in their own tempi, independent of the others. The third movement is notable for an awe-inspiring flute solo, while the two outer two movements are vigorous march tunes.