Hummel Trios

0 of 5 stars

Trio in F, Op.22
Trio in E, Op.83
Trio in E flat, Op.93

Voces Intimae
[Riccardo Cecchetti (fortepiano), Luigi De Filippi (violin) & Sandro Meo (cello)]

Recorded 23-27 March 2004 at Teldex Studio, Berlin

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: December 2004
Duration: 61 minutes

This is a thoroughly delightful issue of a composer always worth exploring, one of wit and warmth – Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837). The musicians of Voces Intimae make some beguiling sounds on instruments made between 1648 (the violin) and 1815 (the fortepiano).

And what enjoyable works these are. The opening movement of the compact F major Trio is pure, lilting pleasure. A profound slow movement would then make an effective contrast; instead Hummel takes a ditty and makes light-hearted variations on it. The finale, with its Turkish intimations, and rather more than that when some ‘local colour’ is invented, is an exuberant conclusion.

With the later E major Trio, Hummel, after his Haydnesque opener, is now more allied to Beethoven, and his ideas are fresh and admirable, easeful and imaginative. This is a rich, ornamental work, the expansive opening movement beautifully worked out and never predictable in its fantasia-like shaping. The slow movement is flowing and songful with some teasing modulations and the urbane finale is dominated by an affable tune that could have been heard on a street corner played by a barrel organ.

The remaining trio – but with more to come, this release is marked Volume 1 – is tightly organised and maybe the most serious and searching of the works here. Its grace and energy are noteworthy, the slow movement’s veiled expression is especially touching and the lively finale moves with purpose and intimate skill.

This thoroughly fine music is given readings of perception, sensitivity and zest; each player of Voces Intimae is a master of his attractive-sounding instrument, and the three together make delightful chamber music. The recording, immediate and ambient in just about the right balance helps to make the music sparkle.

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