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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparkling and joyous
Both of these works are jofully exuberant. The slow movements prefigure Chopin in their grace and fantasy-like wistfulness. Stephen Hough plays immaculately and is dazzling in the faster outer movements. It is amazing that such beautifully-crafted music is not much better known: it is fluent and elegant and jam-packed with lovely tunes. Highly recommended performances of...
Published on 9 Dec. 2007 by Guy Whit

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars naxos / chang recordign of same coupling is my preferred option
sorry to upset you peeps, I felt this recording was plummy and failed to communicate, a bit too contrived

Naxos have the same coupling by Hae-Won Chang (who did an awful Bach concertos recording as far as I know). But his Hummel is much better, would recommend that one as a better recording for those who prefer their very late classical period a bit less mushy...
Published on 15 Dec. 2011 by rc_rc


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparkling and joyous, 9 Dec. 2007
By 
This review is from: Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto in A Minor and B Minor (Audio CD)
Both of these works are jofully exuberant. The slow movements prefigure Chopin in their grace and fantasy-like wistfulness. Stephen Hough plays immaculately and is dazzling in the faster outer movements. It is amazing that such beautifully-crafted music is not much better known: it is fluent and elegant and jam-packed with lovely tunes. Highly recommended performances of enchanting repertoire.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hough''s most enjoyable discs, 14 April 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto in A Minor and B Minor (Audio CD)
Hummel was a contemporary of Beethoven, outliving him by some ten years. Hummel was quite a prolific composer whose works are lyrical and well constructed.His piano concertos were written to display his considerable talents as a concert pianist and are full of good humoured flamboyance. As both a pianist and as a composer, he was held in high esteem by Beethoven.

The two concertos on this disc are relatively late works and are both skilfully written and full of interest. The style is more typical of the romantic leanings of Chopin rather than the constructional style of Beethoven. They are pieces aimed at entertainment rather than depth of musical thought or thematic development. The reason his music was so well admired during his life was that it was easy to like. The same considerations apply today.

Stephen Hough plays both concertos with all his customary verve and with a palpable feeling of enjoyment. He is a little less aggressive and driven at climatic points than in some of his more recent discs and that is all to the good. The orchestra plays well under the attentive guidance of Bryden Thomson and the 1986 Chandos recording quality is excellent.

I would suggest that this very enjoyable disc deserves serious consideration from anyone interested in the program.
On that note, Howard Shelley has also made several recordings of the Hummel concertos on the same label and with equal success.
Those too would be well worth investigating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two (of eight) of Hummel's Piano Concertos, 29 Jan. 2013
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto in A Minor and B Minor (Audio CD)
There are fine performances on this CD of two of Hummel's minor key piano concertos by Stephen Hough with the English Chamber Orchestra under Bryden Thomson. Hummel, who was a contemporary of Beethoven, composed eight piano concertos in all and was a concert pianist. He had some of the most eminent composers of the day as his tutors - Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart and Clementi among them. Although Chopin's life overlapped with that of Hummel's in its later stages, Hummel's concertos are rather more sophisticated in their construction and orchestration than the two that Chopin wrote. The a minor concerto is the lighter of the two here, but the b minor is just as easy on the ear with an equal measure of flamboyance in the writing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars astounding pianism, 21 Jan. 2015
By 
Stanley Crowe (Greenville, SC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto in A Minor and B Minor (Audio CD)
4 1/2 stars -- I have to subtract a bit for the sound. The orchestra has plenty of presence, but it lacks warmth as recorded here, and as a result, the slow movement of the Op. 89 suffers. The horns that are so important in that movement sound rough. The piano has plenty presence too and sounds fine on the whole, with maybe just a touch of glassiness in some of the higher passages. Apart from these reservations -- which have nothing to do with the music-making -- this is pretty astounding pianism by the young Stephen Hough, who was 25 when this was recorded close to thirty years ago.

The two concertos belong to 1819 (the B-minor) and 1821 (the A-minor). I mention the dates because the program booklet doesn't. In other words, Beethoven was still alive and being productive when these were composed, and one wonders if he heard them and what he thought. He had given advice to the young Hummel, who was eight years his junior, and Hummel had had two years worth of lessons with Mozart earlier in his life. The music has a kind of galant frame that, I think, owes more to Mozart than to Beethoven, but the nature of the thematic material, and Hummel's treatment of it, is all Hummel's own. The thematic material is basically gracious moderato themes that Hummel can slow down or speed up, with elaborate figuration in either mode, and it's as if he is more interested in what the piano can do than in the nature or development of the themes themselves. This gives his music an objective character -- in this respect he is more like some of the composer-pianists of later in the 19th Century than he is like, say, Chopin -- but the elaborations aren't just empty, tinselly glitter: they are held within the classical frame and evoke an energy that is most engaging for the listener. Hummel was a noted virtuoso himself, and the writing is fiendishly difficult -- but it has to be played as if there is no strain. It requires the athleticism of a Hough or a Hamelin to bring it to life, and this 1984 recording was really the first of these two concertos in their complete state. If you're a Chopin lover -- or even a Beethoven lover -- you'll miss the profound emotional expressiveness of the themes. The slow movement of the A-minor is little more than a graceful clearing of the throat before the final movement, though the equivalent movement of the B-minor is a bit more engaging. The outer movements have considerable internal variety, in shifts of tempo and kinds of elaboration, but what is as impressive in these movements as Hough's energy, agility. and sense of phrase is his ability, with help from the conductor Bryden Thomson, to create a seamless flow throughout the movements.

Hough is still going strong today, but this might have been his first recording. With that minor reservation about the sound, it's an absolute delight. We might hear more of Hummel of enough pianists were willing and able to bring Hough's sparkle and pizzazz to the table.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Time for a comeback, 12 Mar. 2011
By 
Wagner Fan (Oxon, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto in A Minor and B Minor (Audio CD)
Not as exciting as Beethoven at his best, but the recording quality is excellent and Hummel's music is very enjoyable and very easy to listen to. I explored this area of his music after being bowled over by his superb Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra. I have collected CDs of a number of his piano and violin works and I enjoy them all. I cannot understand why they are not performed frequently in the concert halls - specially the Bassoon Concerto!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 24 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto in A Minor and B Minor (Audio CD)
Brilliant.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hummel, 5 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto in A Minor and B Minor (Audio CD)
This is a present so have not opened it. Arrived before the date in v good condition. stars for packaging and presention. Think my friend will be very pleased with the product.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars naxos / chang recordign of same coupling is my preferred option, 15 Dec. 2011
By 
rc_rc (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Johann Nepomuk Hummel: Piano Concerto in A Minor and B Minor (Audio CD)
sorry to upset you peeps, I felt this recording was plummy and failed to communicate, a bit too contrived

Naxos have the same coupling by Hae-Won Chang (who did an awful Bach concertos recording as far as I know). But his Hummel is much better, would recommend that one as a better recording for those who prefer their very late classical period a bit less mushy and a bit more petits-pois if you know what I mean.
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