This disc completes John Khouri's survey of Hummel's later piano works begun with his earlier disc of the two greatest piano sonatas on Music and Arts CD-1103. The present recording includes first the 24 Etudes published in 1833 and is followed by the 3 Amusements from 1824 and 2 substantial Rondos-those in B minor, 1825 and C major from 1831 in first recordings on early pianos. Hummel's 24 Etudes were his last major work for piano, and apart from the large Rondo for violin or flute and piano Op. 126, this set of studies effectively closes his composing career. It is surprising that Hummel waited so long to publish a set of etudes. After all, he was undoubtedly the greatest of all the pianists on the continent and a prolific composer for his chosen instrument. He wrote in many different forms and genres-variations, sonatas, rondos, character pieces, suites, preludes and even a massive and comprehensive piano school, yet conspicuously lacking in his output was a set of studies. When the set finally appeared, the critics and the public were disappointed. That Hummel's 24 etudes should be received so negatively is to some degree understandable as they are written with great restraint and are mostly of short duration. Gone is the extravagantly virtuosic writing of earlier times and although at least 9 of the etudes require great athletic ability, Hummel seems more interested in delicacy, color, expressiveness, emotional directness and, interestingly, veneration for the keyboard works of J.S. Bach. Today's listeners will be stunned by the novelty of conceptions and the emotional immediacy of these pieces.
A native of New Zealand who now lives in California, John Khouri specializes in the literature for fortepiano. He has recorded on his instrument widely acclaimed discs of Beethoven, Weber, Chopin, Clementi, Dussek and Cramer, among others. piano. Originally released in 1995 on CD-937.
JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL (1778-1837): 24 Grande Etudes Op. 125. Trois Amusements en forme des Caprices Op.105. Rondo brillant Op.109. Rondo Villageois Op. 122. John Khouri playing fortepianos by Jacob Pfister c. 1820 and John Broadwood & Sons 1832. Total Time: 75:39. DDD, UPC# 0-17685-11652-0.
67:30. UPC # 017685-11642-1.