Bridge Records Catalog

Paul Hindemith: The Long Christmas Dinner

$ 14.99

This recording marks a major event in American music: the premiere recording of the original English language version of Paul Hindemith's final opera, “The Long Christmas Dinner” (1960/61) on a libretto by Thornton Wilder. Conductor Leon Botstein writes: “One aspect that Thornton Wilder and Paul Hindemith shared was their mastery of the short form in their respective fields: the single-act work. Nowhere is Wilder’s skill in this dramatic form so ambitiously and thrillingly demonstrated than in “The Long Christmas Dinner”, which transforms the concept of duration by compressing 90 years into under an hour, and thereby exposes fundamental issues of life and its rebirths. Hindemith, too, loved the form, and used it to invoke sudden spikes of emotion, whether it be horror, laughter, or astonishment. That these two great artists collaborated on a form that they both dominated and reinvigorated is a rare and happy historical convergence.” This CD release includes complete librettos in English and German, and extensive background notes by Hindemith scholar Joel Haney, conductor Leon Botstein, and Tappan Wilder, nephew and literary executor of Thornton Wilder.


"The Long Christmas Dinner, Hindemith's last opera, is a subtle, wonderfully understated examination of the changing relationships within a family, and of the ways in which society is evolving around them. There are births, marriages and deaths, and finally lonely old age, and Hindemith’s score matches the light touch with which Thornton Wilder’s text deals with this complex web of issues. The performance under Leon Botstein preserves that lightness and subtlety very carefully. This is the first disc of "The Long Christmas Dinner" to return to Wilder’s original English text."  **** (Four stars), The Guardian (UK)

"This is a rather rare and special disc. Rare, because as far as I can tell this is the first recording in the original English language of this late Hindemith opera and special because it is very good. It reveals Hindemith and Wilder as masters of the slow-burn potent theatrical experience which lingers in the memory for the power of its insight into the human condition.  The entire cast are excellent both in ensemble and individually."  - Musicweb International

A wonderful lyric opera — not a note too short, which leaves one wanting more — this artfully constructed one-act work is the jewel of Hindemith’s late output.” - Gramophone

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PDF Booklet

Paul Hindemith, composer
Thornton Wilder, libretto

Camille Zamora, soprano
Sara Murphy, mezzo-soprano
Jarrett Ott, baritone
Josh Quinn, bass-baritone
Glenn Seven Allen, tenor
Catherine Martin, mezzo-soprano
Kathryn Guthrie, soprano
Scott Murphree, tenor

American Symphony Orchestra
Leon Botstein, conductor



Los Angeles Times Review

MusicWeb International


American Record Guide