Let's say you really like Beethoven and Schubert and Weber and the whole late-Enlightenment-early-Romantic German style period but you haven't heard anything by Johann Nepomunk Hummel and you'd like to know where to start. By all means, start here. Not only does the disc have Hummel's ‘greatest hit' -- his stormy A minor Piano Concerto -- and Hummel's ‘novelty hit' -- his hilarious "O du lieber Augustin" Variations -- but it's got his barely known but still highly characteristic L'Enchantment d'Oberon and his heretofore unrecorded but also highly characteristic Le Retour à Londres. And not only does it have the supremely virtuostic Howard Shelley at the keyboard, it also has him directing the superbly skilled London Mozart Players -- a combination which brings out the best in both of them, that is, a certain amount of restraint on Shelley's phenomenal digital prowess and a certain amount of freedom for the LMP's wonderful musicality. If you like Beethoven in a tempestuous mood, you'll probably like Hummel's furious A minor Concerto. If you like Schubert in a sunny mood, you'll probably like Hummel's smiling "Augustin" Variations. And if you like Weber in a dramatic mood, you'll probably like Hummel's just this side of histrionic L'Enchntment d'Oberon and Le Retour á Londres. And if you like Hummel at all, Chandos' richly detailed and marvelously evocative sound will certainly enhance your musical experience.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Le retour à (de) Londres, rondo brillant for piano & orchestra in F major, Op. 127|
|Piano Concerto in A major, WoO 24, S. 4|