Global Fascinations and Sophistications
Hummel piano works
I give full plaudits to the artists who make it their conscious and consistent
duty to concentrate on the rarer-performed repertoire of past composers.
In Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837), you have the perfect example of the
composer-pianist-improvisor who was admired by Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin
and Field in his lifetime, yet tended to become consigned to the lists of
second and third stream innovators awaiting renewal of interest. 'Fine for
student pianists hoping to become concert artists', said the snobs who took
refuge behind the acknowledged masters without bothering to listen further,
but now we understand differently.
Here are skills and ideas combined on a wide canvas of achievement to
provide evidence of the man's sheer versatility, whether in the salon
or turning other composer's themes to his own advantage while looking
forward to the changing period ahead.
Howard Shelley's aims to revitalize interest have already had
great effects by placing the concertos back in the repertoire. In the solo
piano works, he is able to extend his choice to show Hummel's derived
influences and appreciations towards his immediate contemporaries.
The programme itself hints at romance: Rondo Op.11, Caprice Op.49, Variations
on a theme from Gluck's Armide Op 57, La Contemplazione
Op 107/3, Rondo all'Ungherese, Op 107/6, La bella capricciosa:
Polonaise Op.55 [listen - track 16, 12:03-13:03]
and the Sonata Op.13.
Copyright © 6 September 2000
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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