Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) was one of the greatest pianist composers of the early 19th century. Taught by Salieri, Albrechstberger and Mozart, he was a close friend of Beethoven from the late 1790s until the latter's death in 1827. Hummel replaced the elderly Haydn as Kappelmeister at Eisenstadt with Haydn's approval. His influence upon Schubert, Chopin and Liszt was profound, and his A minor and B minor piano concertos (1815/19) are fine examples of the early romantic concerto rivalled only by the masterworks of Beethoven.
Today however, it is probably his early (1803) trumpet concerto that he is best known for. A pity, as he was a truly well rounded, sophisticated musician, who, at his best produced many fine works that are today beginning to re-appear in the repertoire. He composed 15 operas, and none have been recorded until this release of Mathilde von Guise. Dating from 1810, and revised in 1821.
Premiered in 1811 in Vienna the opera was met with great acclaim, and in 1821 Hummel revised it for a new production, providing a 'new' overture (the earlier version's overture is included at the end of CD2) which he had extracted from his ballet Sappho of Mitilene of 1812!. The work was performed in Weimar, Berlin and Riga, then fell from the repertoire until the performances that led to this recording in Laon, France in 2008.
Hummel's score is beautiful, and is a supreme example of post Mozartian grace, allied to the modern style of Cherubini, Weber and a hint of early Rossini. It is also possible to detect how a work such as Mathilde von Guise would have appealed to Mercadante and the young Verdi. The writing for the singers is demanding, and with the composer's gift for melody and orchestration this is an important operatic recording premier.
- Overture in E-Flat (Weimar version 1821): Andante - Allegro molto
- Act 1: Recitative And Aria in A-Flat: Chi Mai Saprà Spiegar (Beaufort): Adagio sostenuto - Allegro moderato
- Act 1: Terzettino in A: Con Lui Solo Parlero (Baronness/Beaufort/Nicolo): Allegro comodo
- Act 1: Pezzo Concertato With Choir in A: Il Ciel Le Dia Felicità: Allegro con spirito - Allegro moderato - Tempo di marcia
- Act 1: Duet And Trio in D: Mi Fà Felice Amor (Mathilde/Beaufort/Valentino): Allegro con brio - Adagio e cantabile
- Act 1: Finale in E-Flat: O Ciel! Che Sento?: Allegro - Allegretto - Allegro - Larghetto - Allegro vivace
- Act 2: Duet in G: Tuo Amor Sol Per Mè (Claudina/Valentino): Allegro molto
- Act 2: Scena And Aria in B-Flat: O Ciel, Che Intensi Mai? (Mathilde): Allegro spirituoso - Larghetto sostenuto - Allegro
- Act 2: Trio in E: Rifletter Ben Fà D'Uopo (Mathilde/Beaufort/Duke): Allegro imposante - Sempre più vivo
- Act 2: Scene And Aria in D: Riuscito Sono Al Fin (Duke): Allegro con spirito - Larghetto - Allegro - Larghetto dolce - Allegro
- Act 2: Trio in B-Flat: Il Cor Brillar Mi Sento (Mahtilde/Baronness/Beaufort): Allegro guisto
- Act 2: Finale in D: Viva Il Nostro Buon Signor: Allegro con brio - Vivace
- Act 3: Vaudeville in G: Venite Tutti Quanti (Claudina/Nicolo/Valentino/Chorus): Allegro
- Act 3: Romanza in D: L'Ombrosa Notte, Vien (Mathilde): Larghetto
- Act 3: Duet in A Minor: O Ciel! Resistere Non Posso (Mathilde/Beaufort): Allegro moderato - Larghetto - Allegro vivo
- Act 3: Hymn in F: Padre Nostro, Gran Signor (Chorus): Adagio assai
- Act 3: Pezzo Concertato With Choir in C: Pria Che Spunti Il Nuovo: Allegro - Più presto
- Act 3: Finale in D: Son Finiti Tutti I Guai: Allegro vivace
- Appendix: Overture in C (Vienna Version 1810): Grave - Allegro con spirito
- Appendix: Pastorale Sul Palco in D for 2 Clarinets And 2 Horns