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The glow of its period

Hummel Piano Sonatas
considered by BASIL RAMSEY

Naxos    8.553296

Hummel Piano Sonatas Volume 1 © 1998 HNH International Ltd


This music has both pace and purpose. Hummel's music had clear direction and no excessive idling in mind. That may suggest to some a composer obssessed with tidiness rather than langorous decoration. Let's split this both ways, and regard Hummel as one who was good with balance of material and expansion.

To my ear, Hummel has a fanciful talent for developing his music, thereby avoiding a textbook ruling for this and that. He's a composer. But not a visionary flouting rules to show his claim to divine sovereignty. For that reason, Hummel, a modest musical practitioner, always shows a capacity for writing music with a generous share of promising development. The mix is first class, and we need in return to provide Hummel of our listening time.

Performances here are fruitful, stemming from the soloist's sympathy for music of this period. The later work, Sonata in F sharp minor Op 81 [listen -- track 9, 7:59-9:03], spirals and develops with colourful minor key qualities, a sure spur to action. There's no doubting that F sharp minor has proved a stimulus to deep feelings many times in the past.

Pianist Hae-Won Chang plays with spontaneity and thereby puts the music back in the glow of its period.


Copyright © 4 May 2002 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK



Hummel Piano Sonatas Volume 1

8.553296 DDD Stereo 76'30" 1998 HNH International Ltd

Hae-won Chang, piano
Sonata in E flat major Op 13; Sonata in F minor Op 20; Sonata in F sharp minor Op 81




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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Saturday series of shorter CD reviews