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A multifaceted musician, Hindemith was taught music early, touring Silesian villages with his brother and sister as the Frankfurt Children’s Trio. He became one of the leading German composers between the two World Wars, but with his rebellious modernist tendencies and love of “degenerate” music such as jazz (and having a Jewish wife), he became increasingly censored by the Nazis; in 1938 he emigrated to Switzerland. He composed prolifically in all genres, and in the U.S. he became a highly esteemed and influential teacher.

Hindemith composed Morgenmusik in 1932 as the first part in a day-long sequence of pieces he wrote for a youth festival in the north German town of Plön. It is an example of what Hindemith called Gebrauchmusik, utility music for a specific purpose. The full title – Morgenmusik von Blechbläsern auf einem Turm aufzuführen – alludes to the German tradition of brass players heralding a festival day by playing from a tower. The instrumentation is not otherwise specified, and there were multiple players on each part in the original youth ensemble. The piece is in three short sections: a rounded ceremonial opening, a lyrically questing middle, and a quick bright finale.