The start of an important and exciting series: the complete piano concertos of Hummel played on period instruments.
Johann Nepomuk Hummel (a contemporary of Beethoven, and highly esteemed by him) while firmly rooted in the Classical Style, became one of the most important composers of the Early Romantic Style. A virtuoso pianist himself, he wrote a substantial oeuvre for his instrument. His piano concertos are written in “Bravura” style, displaying an incredible virtuosity and brilliance, featuring (double) runs of parallel thirds and sixths, intricate arpeggios and thundering octave passages. Even today the technical level of this piano writing proves to be a daunting challenge to many pianists.
Fortepianist Alessandro Commellato displayed his great skills in the performance of Hummel’s Septet (BC 94041) and Solamente Naturali conducted by Didier Talpain proved their championship of Hummel with the recording of the opera Mathilda (BC 94043) and the Masses (94115).
As the vibrant works on this new recording demonstrate, the music of Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778–1837) deserves to be far better known today than it is. While he was one of the most famous and celebrated composers of the Classical period, his popularity declined rapidly after his death, with the onset of Romanticism, and it is only now that musicians have begun to effect a serious revival of his repertoire. Hummel’s parallel career as a concert pianist is evident from the sparkling virtuosity of the works heard on this disc, all for fortepiano and orchestra: they span his development from a young composer in the thrall of his mentor Mozart (heard in the charming Piano Concertino in G) to the drama and supreme virtuosity of his final period of creativity (Introduction & Rondo brillant in F minor). It is clear that Romanticism was beginning to take root during his lifetime; the Piano Concerto in A minor, for example, prefigures Chopin in its delicacy, and it is unsurprising that Hummel’s music proved an inspiration to the younger composer.
Alessandro Commellato, Solamente Naturali and Didier Talpain are specialists in the performance of Hummel’s works, having already recorded a number of his compositions for Brilliant Classics – from chamber music to opera. As their performances demonstrate, Hummel’s music is highly deserving of revival, and will particularly delight listeners who enjoy the piano concertos of Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin.