Johann Nepomuk Hummel
String Trio No.2 in G Major
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.
Hummel was widely regarded as Europe's leading pianist for more than two decades and most of the next generation's leading pianists at one point or another studied with him. His compositions were widely played during his lifetime and throughout the 19th century. Stylistically, Hummel's music generally represents the end of the Viennese Classical Era and the bridge period between it and Romanticism. His two string trios are perfect examples of Hummel as a bridge composer between the two eras.
The opening movement to the String Trio in G Major, Allegro moderato, after an introductory "trumpet call" to order, has for its main theme a light Mozartean melody which given a bright and elegant treatment. The second movment, Andante, begins in an almost religious vein, but slowly the mood lightens and and the second theme is given a playful treatment. A very typically classical Menuetto follows with a wonderful trio which provides a striking contrast. The finale, Rondo alla burlesca vivace, is full of good humor and plays a few musical jokes (on a tune from Mozart's opera The Magic Flute) on the listener.
Just as in the first string trio, we find lovely melodies and fine part writing, which makes this a desirable addition to any chamber musician's library.