Hummel: Johann Nepomuk: 14 Nov 1778 – 17 Oct 1837

By | June 30, 2020

Introduction

Black and White portrait of Johann Hummel dressed elegantly of Joseph

Johann Nepomuk Hummel was an Austrian composer and virtuoso pianist. He delighted audiences as a pianist wherever he went, but he is best known today as a composer for the trumpet. 

At the age of eight, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart offered Hummel music lessons cementing a long-term friendship. Hummel lived with Mozart free of charge for two years.

His music reflects the transition from the Classical to the Romantic musical era.

Works

Hummel wrote his Trumpet Concerto for Anton Weidinger, as had Joseph Haydn. Weidinger was the trumpet player of the moment, considered an artist using the instrument in ways others never had.  Consequently a few significant composers wanted to write music specifically for him. Weidinger’s new trumpet had at least five keys and his technique raised the fundamental pitch to E. Haydn’s concerto was written in old Baroque style and Hummel’s the first modern one. The key for Hummel’s composition, E major, was an unusual one and proved to be technically difficult. Many editions have subsequently transposed it into the easier key of E flat.

Click on the link below to listen to Hummel’s trumpet concerto – the trumpet starts at just over 2 minutes 10 seconds in.

There are places, mostly within the second movement, it is believed that Weidinger changed the music because of the execution of the instrument. It is unknown whether this was in agreement with Hummel.

Hummel was famous until his death but sadly his music quickly went out of fashion and any revival was overshadowed by Mozart due to the large availability of his recordings.  His music is now becoming re-established in the classical repertoire.

Interesting Facts:

He was friends with Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart.

He toured around Europe with his father for four years as a child prodigy, then proceeded to London where Haydn wrote a symphony for the young pianist. Hummel performed it in Hanover Square Rooms in the presence of Haydn.

On his return to Vienna he was taught by Haydn who also taught a young Beethoven.

Franz Schubert dedicated his last three sonatas to Hummel, but by the time they were published both composers had died and they were dedicated to the active Robert Schumann.

Further Reading & Musical Downloads

On music-scores.com we have Johann Hummel Sheet Music for you to download.

For further information take a look at Wikipedia and Britannica.

2 thoughts on “Hummel: Johann Nepomuk: 14 Nov 1778 – 17 Oct 1837

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