CD BAM 2011
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the belair collection

Johann Nepomuk Hummel,
virtuoso pianist, composer, conductor, and teacher was born in Austria in 1778 and, as a young child, was introduced to W.A. Mozart. After studying with Mozart for two years, Hummel toured widely as an outstanding child prodigy. Upon returning to Vienna in 1793, Hummel continued his studies of counterpoint, composition, and organ with Haydn, Salieri and Albrechtsberger. In 1804 Hummel became Konzertmeister to Prince Esterházy, composing for the chapel, teaching, and assembling the Haydn archives. He was Kapellmeister in Stuttgart from 1816 to 1818 and later moved to the same post in Weimar. Here he conducted the court theatre while making major trips to France, the Netherlands, Russia, Poland, and London.

He was a prolific composer producing 127 compositions with opus numbers, nine posthumous works, and 39 works without opus numbers-most of them unpublished. He composed in all genres, including operas and incidental music, ballets, sacred and secular vocal music, orchestralovertures and dances. However, it is his many works for solo piano, piano duets and most of all his piano concertos that really illuminate Hummel’s importance as a composer. Hummel composed his first two piano concertos, both clearly written in the Mozartean classical style, in 1813 and 1816. However, after his move to Weimar, Hummel, who had befriended Beethoven, wrote his first romantic works that clearly reflect Beethoven’s influence. This is especially noticeable in the piano concertos in A minor, Op. 85  and the B minor, Op .89.  It has been suggested that the two larghetto movements in these works later influenced Chopin as models for his own larghetto compositions.
Piano Concerto in F major (posth.), No.1.
The richness and emotional poetry of Hummel’s last two piano concertos, the F major (posth.), No.1 and the A flat major, Op.113, firmly place him as a composer of considerable depth and craftsmanship. It is further suggested that these concertos later influenced Chopin considerably. There is a similar layout in both works, each written with a long orchestral exposition in the first movements, followed with larghetto movements completely dominated by the piano solo, followed by third movements in rondo form. Hummel composed Piano Concerto in F major (posth.) No.1 in 1826 and dedicated it to “Son Altesse Imperiale Madame La Grand-Duchesse de Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach”.


John Field, Irish composer and virtuoso pianist, was born in Dublin in July 1782. As a young child he showed an exceptional musical talent and gave his first public performance at the age of nine. His family, realizing the talent of the young Field, decided to move to London where Field became a student of Muzio Clementi-- talented composer, pianist, teacher, and later,  piano-maker and music publisher. At the age of seventeen, with considerable success, he gave the first performance of Piano Concerto No.1, the first of his seven piano concertos. When he was twenty, he embarked on a long tour together with Clementi that was to take them to Paris, Vienna and on to St. Petersburg where he arrived in 1802. Field was exceptionally well received in the musical circles of Russia, which could account for one of the reasons why he decided to spend most of his life there.

His importance as a musical innovator, especially for the keyboard, has generally gone quite unnoticed but should never be under-estimated as he is regarded as the creator and pioneer of the nocturne. Field introduced an expressive style of playing that anticipated Chopin’s.  Indeed, Field’s nocturnal style was later taken up and developed extensively by Chopin. With Field’s unusual addition of technical devices and pedal effects, he won many admirers in Europe and Russia and became the inspiration for a number of famous names such as Liszt, Schumann, Debussy and Rachmaninov. In his relatively short life, Field produced a large volume of works for solo piano, piano duets and the seven piano concertos. Field, who was the first great virtuoso pianist to come to live in Russia, became adored by the Russians and had a large following there, but sadly, due to conducting a rather exhausting and unhealthy lifestyle, he died early in Moscow in 1837.

Piano Concerto No. 5 in C major, L’incendie par l’orage. Field, who composed Piano Concerto No.5 in 1815, had become inspired through the success of a concerto called The Storm written in 1798 by German pianist and composer Daniel Steibelt, also of St. Petersburg. In addition, it is thought that Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, written seven years earlier, further inspired Field. The first movement of Piano Concerto No.5 begins in a lyrical fashion and gives nothing away to the approaching “storm” that comes later in the movement. The following short adagio is mainly dominated by the melody carried by the clarinet. The orchestra continues without pause into the third movement, the rondo: allegro, thus ending the concerto in a joyous finale.


Forgotten Fields   


    Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837)
        Piano Concerto in F major (posth.), No.1.

     1. Allegro moderato               14:26

     2. Larghetto e Capriccio          7:26

     3. Finale (Allegro con brio)      8:44


John Field (1782-1837) 
Piano Concerto No. 5 in C major, L’incendie par l’orage
1. Allegro moderato     17:06
2. Adagio                   
3. Rondo: Allegro      


Total Time 56:04

Polina Osetinskaya, Piano
The Russian State Orchestra, Dmitry Yablonsky, Conductor

 download digital quality MPEG3 sound sample
Free MP3 sample from track no. 3, Hummel Piano Concerto no. 1

 DDD Digital Recording. Moscow Radio Studio Five,  2/2001
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