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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hummel, Piano Trios 2, Nos. 1, 4 and 5, Gould Piano Trio

The morning breaks sunnily here with a kindness that we all know could turn on us later in the week, but we trust in Mother Nature to give us these lovely spells and hope for the best. As it happens, I listen to an album that seems perfectly suited to a spring morning, or for that matter just about any morning. Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837), aside from having one of the more interesting middle names in the classical pantheon, happens to be one of my favorite lesser-known composers from the later classical-early romantic era. Certainly Mozart and Beethoven overshadowed just about everybody then, but nonetheless Hummel holds his own as a composer who is never mediocre, whose every work I have had the pleasure of hearing is filled with charm, craftsmanship and inspiration.

The volume at hand Piano Trios 2 (Naxos 8.573261) is no exception. It covers the Trios Nos. 1, 4 and 5. The Gould Trio have genuine class and dash in their performances, giving the music a tender sweetness and a more brusque brio depending on the movement. They always seem to capture the essence with brilliance.

From the very classically Viennese No. 1 to the more evolved concerted "Grand Trio Concertante" of the No. 5, we get a wonderfully inventive Hummel, early and later, 1803 to 1819.

I can scarcely imagine that anybody who cherishes this era of classical music would not appreciate this music and its fine performance. It is a breath of pure air. The Gould Piano Trio are real talents who rise to this music with enthusiasm and expressive clarity. A big bravo for this one!

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