Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Piano Trio No.2 in F Major, Op.22
Hummel's Second Piano Trio, although composed in 1799, was not printed until 1807. The opening movement, Allegro moderato, has for its main subject a lyrical, lovely melody. It starts somewhat calmly but the music quickly becomes quite lively. The second movement, Andante con variazioni, has for its theme, a simple melody of child-like innocence. After the statement, there are five wonderful variations. (our sound-bite presents three). It is truly the epitome of this kind of movement. The breath-taking finale, Vivace, Rondo alla Turca, is reminiscent of Mozart's Piano Sonata, K.331 which also employed a Turkish rondo. (Mozart was Hummel's teacher-see below). If anything, Hummel's effort is even finer and more exciting than Mozart's.
Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) was not only considered one of the most important composers of his time but was also widely regarded as the greatest piano virtuoso of his era. We owe the transmission of Mozart's pianistic style and technique to him. From early on, Hummel was recognized as a prodigy and not just on the piano. Brought to Vienna from his native Pressburg (today Bratislava) at the age of 4, Hummel auditioned to study with Mozart. While Mozart accepted the occasional day student for the odd hour or half hour lesson, he refused to take on full-time students because he was too busy. In Hummel's case, immediately recognizing the extraordinary talent, Mozart not only made an exception, but insisted that Hummel live with him so that he could supervise every aspect of the his musical education. In fact, Hummel was the only full-time student Mozart ever had.
Stylistically, this trio represents the end of the Viennese Classical Era and the bridge period between it and Romanticism. It enjoyed considerable popularity during the 19th century but has been out of print for over a century.