Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

HUMMEL: Chamber Music

Cello Sonata in A major, Op. 104 • Piano Quartet in G major, Op. posth. • Piano Trio in F major, Op. 22 • Piano Trio in G major, Op. 35

THE MUSIC COLLECTION Susan Alexander-Max, fortepiano / Pal Banda, cello / Micaela Comberti, violin / Jane Rogers, viola / Simon Standage, violin

Naxos 8.557694 [TT 69 mins, recorded 2002/3]

This has given us great pleasure. One problem for critics is that music which seems to be marginal when given with modern pianos can come to life so vividly on appropriate period instruments that one may feel it is better than received opinion which, for Hummel, has never been very enthusiastic.


Susan Alexander-Max on fortepianos from the Derek Adlam workshop with her colleagues bring huge conviction and vitality to this well varied programme. The late quartet in two substantial movements is nearly a piano concerto, receiving considerable keyboard virtuosity, and the Grande Sonate for cello is another big piece that would be a welcome change from the usual cello warhorses in recital programmes.


Well recorded at Weston Church and with good informative notes by Keith Anderson, this is another feather in Naxos's capacious cap, a great bargain as everyone knows, well worth risking a Fiver.


HUMMEL: Fantasies
Madoka Inui (piano)
Naxos 8.557836 [TT 69 mins, recorded 2005]

Hummel is enjoying good exposure currently in the CD releases, and this is another which supports the growing feeling that he has been undervalued until recently. I should have preferred a contemporary fortepiano, but failing that, Madoka Inui gives a characterful account of this music on a new Bosendorfer Imperial.

Some of these are substantial works which could equally be dignified as sonatas. Fantasie in E Flat Major is in four well contrasted movemnets, 23½ mins. Op. 123 is programme music in five sections; Introduzione, The Hunter's Song, Marcia, The Bloodhound, and The Roaming Mariners based on songs of the time, with introduction and march by Hummelhimself. There are pre-echoes of Bellini and Field, and Chopin comes to mind too. The best known tune will be that of Mozart's "Non piu andrai".

An up-to-date recording this year, released without delay, and suggesting that Naxos may be on to a promising future harvest from this prolific and once very popular composer.


© Peter Grahame Woolf