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HUMMEL Piano Concerto in A major, O du lieber Augustin, L’Enchantment d’Oberon, Le Retour a Londres. London Mozart Players / Howard Shelley. Chandos

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Hummel Piano Concerto In A Mozart Players Howard Shelley Chandos

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837)

Eight Variations and Coda on ‘O du lieber Augustin’

L’Enchantment d’Oberon

Piano Concerto in A major

Le Retour à Londres

London Mozart Players

Howard Shelley (conductor/piano)

Howard Shelley and the London Mozart Players, one of the UK's most distinguished chamber orchestras, have recorded many works by Hummel. Chandos has been renowned for championing Hummel’s music since the premiere recordings of his piano concertos in 1987 received the Gramophone ‘concerto’ award. The company’s exposure of this increasingly admired composer has ensured that he is finally beginning to enjoy the popularity he deserves.

L’Enchantment d’Oberon, a fantaisie caractéristique for piano and orchestra, was composed in November 1830 as one of a series of compositions to be used in a tour of France and England the following year. It belongs to a class of works whose aim is less the seriousness of the concerto and rather more to be shorter, highly colourful and unfailingly entertaining pieces. Clearly influenced by Weber’s opera Oberon, this ‘fantasy’ was likely written in tribute to Weber, who had died only three years before. The title and circumstances of the next work, Le retour à Londres, give an interesting insight into the politics of concert-giving in the early nineteenth century. Most virtuoso-composers wrote a ‘return to…’ and a ‘farewell to…’ when on tour, in the spirit of urban and national flattery. This example was written for Hummel’s first grand farewell tour of 1831 and here receives its premiere recording. The Piano Concerto in A major is one of two early piano concertos in that key. Comparison with other works for piano and orchestra from this period would suggest a date of composition near the turn of the century, c.1798, when Hummel was just ending his teens. The concerto is extremely confident and competent for someone of that age and bears testimony to what he absorbed from his principal teacher, Mozart. The form is indeed Mozartian as is the handling of thematic and harmonic material. This is a very restrained Hummel composition, yet in the Rondo finale is reminiscent of Haydn in its popular appeal.

Chandos CHAN10374

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