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Cat. No. CHAN 10255 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10255 - Hummel: Violin Concertos in E & G/ Piano Variations/Potpourri
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Available From: 09 August 2004
The provenance of the manuscript of the Violin Concerto in G major is listed by one specialist as ‘unverifiable’. It is not significant that the manuscript is not in Hummel’s hand, but the virtuosity of the solo violin is unexpected. Hummel had learned the violin but was far from good enough to play the solo part. A possible explanation, which would account for the variety of different hands in the manuscript, is that this may have been a joint work, similar to a guitar concerto, now sadly lost, which he wrote with guitar virtuoso-composer Mauro Guiliani.

The format of the Adagio and Rondo alla Polacca may have its provenance in the slow-movement-joined-to-finale unit which became detached from the solo concerto. It opens on the strings in E major, a solo cadenza leading into the sprightly Polacca in the dominant of A.

Drawing on the popularity of their solo or small-chamber counterparts, variation-sets and rondos for solo instrument and orchestra were enormously popular in the early nineteenth century, not least because they were usually based on folk tunes or opera arias well known to audiences. The Variations in B flat was one of three works he wrote for performance during his extended concert tour of Paris and London in 1830.

Written in 1820, Hummel dedicated his Potpourri for viola and orchestra to a viola-playing friend. Up until recently it was known only in a truncated version for strings with a couple of clarinets which gave no idea of the piece’s richness. The work is, in fact, scored for a large orchestra.The ‘potpourri’ was an improvisatory form which brought together, and occasionally interwove, already popular songs and arias, and here Hummel includes pieces from the operas of his idol, Mozart, and of Rossini, whom he also admired.

'A warm welcome for this latest disc of concertante works by Hummel, superbly played and recorded, particularly since three of the works are new to the catalogue, notably the Violin Concerto.'

'This is music to lift the spirits, all of it crafted with Hummel's infallible taste, grace and unpretentious early Romantic sensibility' As on previous discs in this Chandos series, the playing is beautifully judged in scale, neither understating the music's virtues not over-egging its charm.'
The Telegraph

'Howard Shelley accompanies sympathetically, and throws off the cascades of notes in the Variations for piano and orchestra with apparent ease.'
BBC Music Magazine

'Ehnes relishes his every moment, supported to the hilt by Shelley and the London Mozart Players on top form. An unusually helpful note from Derek Carew and first-rate sound from Rachel Smith and Ralph Couzens round out another excellent release in Shelley's ongoing Hummel series.'
International Record Review


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