Let’s all get to know
Johann Nepomuk Hummel—
Best you’ve never heard.
Viola, bassoon, and flute—
He composed for all.
Enjoy music from
Johann Nepomuk Hummel.
Then go spread the word.
Wow, that’s better than caffeine! It’s the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, and the trumpet soloist is Elmer Churampi. I love seeing the performers smiling. Music should be fun!
Hummel was a virtuoso pianist as well as a composer. As a child, he caught the attention of Mozart, who was so impressed with his ability that he took him into his home and provided him with free lessons for two years, after which he studied with Muzio Clementi in London, and Haydn and Salieri in Vienna. Hummel was friends with Beethoven and Schubert. He worked with Haydn at Prince Esterházy’s court.1
Hummel was surrounded by greatness—and that perhaps is part of his anonymity problem. A star may be bright, but you will never see it when the sun is shining. Over time, his more stellar contemporaries got more attention, and his works were nearly forgotten.
Hummel’s music is not performed very often, and it is a pity, because he wrote some very enjoyable music. Here is his Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano (Op. 78). Bassoon fan? Here is Hummel’s Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra. Here is the compelling (and fast fingering-intense) Return to London for piano and orchestra (Op. 127) (oh, did I forget to mention that Carl Czerny was Hummel’s student?). Finally, I think you will enjoy the charming Rondò brillante in B Minor for piano (Op. 109).
For a detailed account of Hummel’s life and links to videos, performances, and scores, see The Hummel Project webpage. You can also find more of Hummel’s music on YouTube. Those who read German may want to visit the website of the Hummel Gesellschaft Weimar.
I hope you have a Hummel-ful day!
- The Hummel Project webpage, http://www.jnhummel.info/en/index.php
Image attribution: Engraving of Johann Nepomuk Hummel by Pierre-Roch Vigneron, based on a portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820, [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Nepomuk_Hummel#/media/File:JNHummel_2.jpg . Also viewable at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b84212189 .