One of the most popular works in the wind quintet repertoire, Hindemith’s Kleine Kammermusik is a prime example of the neoclassical style for which the composer’s music is now well known. It breaks with the tradition set by the composer’s romantic predecessors in appealing to the head rather than the heart – yet it remains tuneful and witty, and is entertaining for both listeners and performers.
The work opens with what is essentially a fanfare, while a lively waltz is presented in the second movement. The third movement retreats into calm contemplation before the brief fourth movement ushers in a lively and sophisticated finale.
Hindemith wrote Kleine Kammermusik for a wind society in Frankfurt, who premiered it shortly after its completion in 1922. It is the second in a group of seven works that share the Kammermusik title (literally meaning chamber music). Yet while the other works in the series are concerto-like in their construction, this work takes a more democratic approach, sharing musical tasks amongst the ve players.