Hummel: Violin Concerto in G; Potpourri (mit Fantasie), Op. 94; Adagio and Rondo alla polacca; Variations, Op. 115

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COMPOSERS: Hummel
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Violin Concerto in G; Potpourri (mit Fantasie), Op. 94; Adagio and Rondo alla polacca; Variations, Op. 115
PERFORMER: James Ehnes (violin, viola); London Mozart Players/Howard Shelley
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 10255
There’s been a surge of interest in Hummel’s music of late, and certainly some of his pieces show real depth and originality. This latest instalment of Howard Shelley’s on-going series with the London Mozart Players offers a glimpse or two of what Hummel could do when he put his mind to it, but in the main these are strictly crowd-pleasers. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it would have been nice to have had at least one really substantial work. As it is, there’s even some doubt about the authenticity of the largest item here – a G major Violin Concerto – though the way the soloist’s first entry overlaps with the end of the opening tutti, as though in homage to some of Mozart’s great piano concertos, is a typical Hummel gesture. James Ehnes’s sweet-toned violin is a decided asset in the Concerto, and he also plays the Potpourri for viola and orchestra – a piece that borrows tunes from Mozart and Rossini – quite brilliantly. Howard Shelley accompanies sympathetically, and throws off the cascades of notes in the Variations for piano and orchestra with apparent ease. The recording, in the acoustically generous Chandos house-style, is first-rate. Misha Donat

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