Thursday, September 14, 2017

Johann Nepomuk Hummel - At the Opera (Madoka Inui)


Composer: Johann Nepomuk Hummel
  • (01-05) Variations on Vivat Bacchus from Mozart's 'Die Entführung aus dem Serail', Op. 34 No. 3
  • (06-08) Variations on Theme from Gluck's 'Armide', Op. 57
  • (09) Quintuor des nègres from the ballet 'Paul et Virginie', Op. 41 (arr. for piano)
  • (10-12) Variations on the Aria 'Guide mes pas, o Providence' from Cherubini’s 'Les deux journées'
  • (13-17) Grand Fantasia on 'Oberons Zauberhorn', Op. 116 (version for piano)
  • (18-21) Variations on the March from Nicolò Isouard’s 'Cendrillon', Op. 40a
  • (22-27) Potpourri No. 1 from the opera 'Die Eselshaut', Op. 58

Madoka Inui, piano
Date: 2011
Label: Naxos




The music on this disc falls easily on the ear, but as you might well imagine it’s a touch light on substance. These are the sorts of opera and ballet arrangements that the great 19th century virtuoso pianists such as Liszt and Thalberg made famous, but of course Hummel’s technique is, comparatively, somewhat underdeveloped, and seems more so as played (and recorded) on a Bösendorfer grand piano, with its characteristically rich bass and relatively shallow treble. That said, if mere pleasantry is enough, then there’s plenty to enjoy here.

Madoka Inui certainly projects the music’s innocent fun with a polished technique and the necessary rhythmic point. The brief Quintuor des nègres from the ballet Paul et Virginie (whatever that was) even anticipates the famous ballet in the triumphal scene of Verdi’s Aida. The Grand Fantasia from Oberons Zauberhorn, very loosely based on Weber, is the major work, striking a deeper note than the rest of the program. The disc is worth a listen for this piece alone. Collectors of early romantic piano repertoire will surely wish to explore this collection, despite the caveats previously mentioned. [6/23/2011]

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday

More reviews:


Johann Nepomuk Hummel (14 November 1778 – 17 October 1837) was an Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist, whose music reflects the transition from the Classical to the Romantic musical era. Hummel was taught and housed by Mozart for two years, and later studied with Albrechtsberger, Haydn and Salieri. His main oeuvre is for the piano, on which instrument he was one of the great virtuosi of his day. Later 19th century pianistic technique was influenced by Hummel, through his instruction of Carl Czerny who later taught Liszt. Hummel's influence can also be seen in the early works of Chopin and Schumann.


Madoka Inui is a Japanese classical pianist, who was born in Kobe, Japan and has lived in Vienna since 1990. She studied at the Vienna Conservatory with Dianko Iliew, Roland Batik and graduated with distinction. Inui won the Città di Stresa International Piano Competition in Italy, making her début as a soloist in Austria, Japan and Spain. Since 1997 she has been very active in chamber music, particularly with members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. She recorded her first CD in 2000 for BMG Ariola (RCA Red Seal) with Franz Bartolomey, principal cellist of the VPO. Since 2002 Inui has recorded exclusively for Naxos.


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