The idea of composing a work based on Carl Maria von Weber’s music was first put to Hindemith in 1940 by the choreographer and dancer Léonide Massine, who suggested that he should arrange music by Weber for a ballet.
When Hindemith made a piano arrangement in March 1940 of the two pieces that would become movements 1 and 3 of the Metamorphosis (which in a letter of April 12, 1940 he described as “lightly coloured and made a bit sharper”), Massine expressed a preference for more strict arrangements of Weber. This was one reason the project fell through (Luttmann 2009, 335–36). After studying Weber’s music, Hindemith watched one of Massine’s ballets and disliked it, and so wrote the Symphonic Metamorphosis instead. The Andantino and Marsch were completed on June 8 and June 13, 1943, respectively, and the manuscript of the complete orchestral score is dated August 29, 1943.
Symphonic Metamorphosis, of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber
By Paul Hindemith
Composed in 1943