Mozart: Concerto No. 18; Symphony No. 40 (Chamber Arrangements by Hummel)

Mozart: Concerto No. 18; Symphony No. 40 (Chamber Arrangements by Hummel)

by Fumiko Shiraga
     
 

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The arrangement of orchestral music for small ensembles was commonplace in the era before recordings, and various modern ensembles have tackled early nineteenth century versions of works by Mozart, Beethoven, and their contemporaries. These Mozart arrangements by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, however, stand somewhat apartSee more details below

Overview

The arrangement of orchestral music for small ensembles was commonplace in the era before recordings, and various modern ensembles have tackled early nineteenth century versions of works by Mozart, Beethoven, and their contemporaries. These Mozart arrangements by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, however, stand somewhat apart from the general run of such works. The "Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major, K 456" (not K. 537 as the back cover mistakenly indicates), and the "Symphony No. 40 in G minor" are arranged for an ensemble consisting of piano, flute, violin, and cello. The piano is listed first here, for it is very much the leader of the group -- the effect is something like that of the piano-and-violin sonatas from early in Mozart's career. The effect is tricky indeed in the piano concerto, where the strings must be assigned the melody in a few broad strokes at the beginning, while the piano paradoxically plays the roles of both orchestra and soloist. But that's the fun of it -- Hummel, who grew up steeped in Mozart's music, solves the technical problems in various delightful ways, lightly ornamenting the piano part for added contrast, and pianist Fumiko Shiraga, on whom the bulk of the challenges fall here, artfully makes the listener shift gears at the beginnings of the solos without quite even realizing what's happening. In the "Symphony No. 40" the situation is slightly different. Hummel here essentially creates a piano arrangement of the symphony, with the strings adding texture and the flute coming to evoke woodwind passages. A special point of interest is the set of tempo indications Hummel furnished, specifying what seem like blazing speeds. Some of the very rapid treatments of the slow movement that have come from authentic-instrument groups may be based on these. Without getting into issues of whether a metronome built in Vienna in 1800 was accurate, it can be said that the fast tempos work especially well in this small-group setting. Like the others in this BIS-label series of Hummel arrangements of Mozart, this one is beautifully and intimately recorded.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/30/2007
Label:
Bis
UPC:
7318590015674
catalogNumber:
1567

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Tracks

  1. Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major, K. 456  - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  - Robert von Bahr  - Fumiko Shiraga  - Tibor Bényi  - Peter Clemente  - Henrik Wiese
  2. Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550  - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  - Robert von Bahr  - Fumiko Shiraga  - Tibor Bényi  - Peter Clemente  - Henrik Wiese

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