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CHAN 10255
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CHAN 10255

Hummel: Violin Concertos in E & G/ Piano Variations/Potpourri

The Classical Shop
release date: August 2004

Originally recorded in 2003


London Mozart Players

Howard Shelley

James Ehnes



Blackheath Halls, London


Rachel Smith


Ralph Couzens

Michael Common


Record Label




Total Time - 66:02
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Potpourri (mit Fantasie), Op. 94*

  For viola and orchestra  
  in G minor - in g-Moll - en sol mineur  
  Edited by Franz Beyer  
  Grave - Andante con moto - Allegro con brio -  
premiere recording

Adagio and Rondo alla Polacca†

  For violin and orchestra  
  in A major - in A-Dur - en la majeur  
  Edited by Stephen Hogger and Howard Shelley  
2 Adago con moto - 2:08
3 Rondo alla Polacca 8:29
premiere recording

Variations, Op. 115

  On a theme from the Berlin 'Singspiel' Das Fest der Handwerker'  
  For piano and orchestra  
  in B flat major - in B-Dur - en si bémol majeur  
  Edited by Stephen Hogger and Howard Shelley  
4 Larghetto - 1:53
5 Allegretto - Larghetto - 9:10
6 Finale. Vivace 4:02
  Howard Shelley piano  
premiere recording

Violin Concerto†

  in G major - in G-Dur - en sol majeur  
  Edited and completed by Stephen Hogger and Howard Shelley  
7 I Allegro risoluto - Rallantando 10:46
8 II Adagio 2:40
9 III Rondo 8:12
Chandos has made Hummel something of a speciality, and this month has come up with some bravoura concertante works for violin, viola and piano. The young soloist James Ehnes is noted for the brilliance of his violin playing, and here he makes his debut as violist in the Potpourri – as well as appearing for the first time on Chandos Records. Howard Shelley – a seasoned Chandos artist – has made several outstanding recordings of Hummel for Chandos, and here adds another.

Premiere recording of the Violin Concerto.

Both the Piano Variations and Potpourri are rarely heard.

Howard Shelley is famous for his Hummel recordings.

James Ehnes is a young Canadian star violinist, and here makes two debuts: as a recording artist on Chandos, and as a viola player (he plays both violin and viola on this CD).

The provenance of the manuscript of the Violin Concerto in G major is listed by one specialist as ‘unverifiable’. It is not significant that the manuscript is not in Hummel’s hand, but the virtuosity of the solo violin is unexpected. Hummel had learned the violin but was far from good enough to play the solo part. A possible explanation, which would account for the variety of different hands in the manuscript, is that this may have been a joint work, similar to a guitar concerto, now sadly lost, which he wrote with guitar virtuoso-composer Mauro Guiliani.

The format of the Adagio and Rondo alla Polacca may have its provenance in the slow-movement-joined-to-finale unit which became detached from the solo concerto. It opens on the strings in E major, a solo cadenza leading into the sprightly Polacca in the dominant of A.

Drawing on the popularity of their solo or small-chamber counterparts, variation-sets and rondos for solo instrument and orchestra were enormously popular in the early nineteenth century, not least because they were usually based on folk tunes or opera arias well known to audiences. The Variations in B flat was one of three works he wrote for performance during his extended concert tour of Paris and London in 1830.

Written in 1820, Hummel dedicated his Potpourri for viola and orchestra to a viola-playing friend. Up until recently it was known only in a truncated version for strings with a couple of clarinets which gave no idea of the piece’s richness. The work is, in fact, scored for a large orchestra.The ‘potpourri’ was an improvisatory form which brought together, and occasionally interwove, already popular songs and arias, and here Hummel includes pieces from the operas of his idol, Mozart, and of Rossini, whom he also admired.

'A warm welcome for this latest disc of concertante works by Hummel, superbly played and recorded, particularly since three of the works are new to the catalogue, notably the Violin Concerto.'

'This is music to lift the spirits, all of it crafted with Hummel's infallible taste, grace and unpretentious early Romantic sensibility' As on previous discs in this Chandos series, the playing is beautifully judged in scale, neither understating the music's virtues not over-egging its charm.'
The Telegraph

'Howard Shelley accompanies sympathetically, and throws off the cascades of notes in the Variations for piano and orchestra with apparent ease.'
BBC Music Magazine

'Ehnes relishes his every moment, supported to the hilt by Shelley and the London Mozart Players on top form. An unusually helpful note from Derek Carew and first-rate sound from Rachel Smith and Ralph Couzens round out another excellent release in Shelley's ongoing Hummel series.'
International Record Review

B Roberts

Delightfull choice of music, beautifully played and will certainly consider more of Hummel,s recordings by Howard Shelly.
J turvey