Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Piano Trio No.7 in E Flat Major, Op.96
Piano Trio No.7, which he completed around 1825 is the last of his seven piano trios, and as such, his final word on the subject. The opening Allegro con spirito, exhibits all of the grace and elegance for which his pianism was famous. He seamless weaves it around the string parts and then has them join in the fast moving theme. The middle movement, a slower but not particularly slow Andante quasi allegretto, is a theme and lovely set of variations in which each instrument has its chance to shine. In the brillian finale, Rondo alla Russa, Hummel takes a then popular Russian folktune as his main theme and creates a real showcase.
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. The general consensus was that Hummel was the greatest prodigy ever, save Mozart. After returning to Vienna in 1792, he spent the next decade studying with Vienna's leading composers, taking lessons from Albrechtsberger, Salieri and Haydn.
His compositions were widely played during his lifetime and throughout the 19th century. Even in the 20th century, the general opinion has been that Hummel's works reached the highest possible level accessible to someone who was not an ultimate genius. Hence of his generation, only Beethoven's works could be ranked higher. Yet despite this, his marvelous music disappeared throughout much of the 20th century. And though recently it has begun to be recorded with some frequency, the same unfortunately cannot be said for its appearance on the concert stage.
This is a first rate early romantic era piano trio which we feel should interest amateurs and professionals alike.