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Ouverture to the Flying Dutchman

In his composition Overture to the Flying Dutchman as sight-read by a bad spa orchestra at 7 in the morning by the fountain Paul Hindemith created a musical parody of Wagner’s grandiose overture to the Flying Dutchman by arranging the work for string quartet and including wrong notes and intentionally sloppy performance in the score. This makes performing the piece quite a challenge while also leaving much leeway in its interpretation. Quartets can either stick exactly to Hindemith’s score or take it a little further in the spirit of the title.

In this interpretation by the Iris String Quartet (first violin: Sebastian Gäßlein, second violin: Katharina Lemberg, viola: Simon Doggenweiler-Denkhaus, cello: Lea-Maria Haas) they adhered closely to the score, performing a close reading of the piece while rendering Hindemith’s humor in the most precise detail. For this recording audio engineer Joan Lennard Schubert dispensed with supporting microphones and worked with only a main and room microphone set-up. Based on this purist approach, an optimal result is achieved in recording the ensemble as a tonal unit while still also bringing out detail.

The recording was part of the final exam in the upper-level Classical Music Recording module in the winter semester of 2015/16 and was also published on a CD commemorating the Bundesland’s 70th anniversary of statehood and entitled Musikalische Wegweiser [Musical Guideposts] by the North Rhine-Westphalian state government together with the Hochschule für Musik Detmold and Düsseldorf’s Robert Schumann Hochschule. 


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