Yale University Library


OHAM: Frank Lewin on Hindemith


HINDEMITH PROJECT                  Interview no. 30/19

Frank Lewin

with Caitriona Bolster

Music Annex

51 Prospect St.

New Haven, CT

February 13, 1975

Table of Contents

Tape A                                                                                                           pp. 1-18

Description of oral history project in American music--classes based on Part III--personality--as a composition teacher--lack of interest in films and dramatic music--definite feelings against recorded music--orientation towards live performances--belief that all elements in music should be conscious--valuable lesson about the element of control of a composition--use of exercises from Elementary Training for Musicians--anecdote about Lewin singing falsetto in class--as a charming person--tendency of his students to write in his style--comparison with Quincy Porter’s students--lack of interest in students who didn’t write in his style--lack of openness towards film music--anecdote about his absolute pitch and a performance of Tosca--Lewin's offer to translate Elementary Training--flavor of his personality in the book--Lewin’s interest in class discussions on writing and analyzing music--as a romantic person--love for Bruckner--respect for Stravinsky--lack of interest in American composers--interest in old music--Collegium concert at the Cloisters--the Collegium’s influence on students' interest in old music--as conductor of the Collegium--Mrs. Hindemith--relationship with Donovan--Donovan as a withdrawn person--anecdote about Donovan at a lecture--discussion of Symphony for Band in class--dealing with a setting of a text in class--humor and grace in his music--importance of a moral quality in music--concept of what a composer is--facility as a composer--view of himself--lack of interest in his music in the USA in the present--teaching system--influence on Lewin--concept of a musical language using vocabularly--view of the search for new sounds--We Build a Town--humorous piece composed by Lewin for his 55th birthday celebration--gift of Mathis and Four Temperaments to Lewin--Lewin records Bach concerto in Sprague.

Tape B                                                                                                            pp. 18-33

Reticence to discuss Germany--anecdote about Morning Mist--playing with the Frankfurt Opera--concertizing with a trio in Germany--as an informal person--physical appearance--as a very energetic person--lack of personal contact in class--fondness for teaching--as an over-demanding teacher--frustration with the level of students at Yale--conducting the Requiem in Philharmonic Hall in New York--ideas about conducting--ability to play many instruments--arrangement with Lewin--Lewin’s pieces composed for class--lack of interest in Lewin--denying Lewin the opportunity to hear his piece performed in Woolsey Hall--Lewin’s ideas about writing for a particular situation--offer to give Lewin a recommendation--Roy Harris as a teacher--as a part of Yale--interest in the performance of old music--specific influences on Lewin’s music--demand for perfection--importance of a composer being in control of her/his material--lack of the element of surprise in his music--influence on Yale School of Music--Lewin’s relationship with Quincy Porter--Lewin joins the Catgut Acoustical Society--Hamburg lecture--excellent English.