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Hummel: Three String Quartets Op 30 / Delme Quartet

Release Date: 02/08/2005 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55166   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  Jonathan WilliamsJohn UnderwoodJohn TruslerGalina Solodchin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Delmé String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

One doesn’t normally associate the name of Johann Nepomuk Hummel with the string quartet, for it was as a composer of virtuoso piano music that he established and consolidated his reputation. While there is a respectable amount of chamber music in Hummel’s output, most of it (including the so-called Septett militaire) employs the piano to one degree or another. So the reappearance of the op. 30 string quartets affords those of us who missed their initial appearance on Hyperion CDA 66568 an opportunity to audition material from the darker recesses of the repertoire composed by this colleague and occasional rival of Beethoven.

The op. 30 quartets—the only ones composed by Hummel—followed by less than three years the appearance
Read more of Beethoven’s half-dozen quartets that were published in 1801 as his op. 18. As annotator Peter Holman observes, “The first years of the new [19th] century saw the string quartet established as the most important genre of chamber music. This was the period when the medium began to be defined by its past.” That said, stylistically the Hummel quartets are the spiritual and artistic heirs to the tradition of Haydn and Mozart, but they focus less upon equality between the parts and tend to point to Hummel’s attempt to resurrect the contrapuntal style of the Baroque.

The advocacy of the Delmé Quartet (violinists Galina Solodchin and John Trusler, violist John Underwood, and cellist Jonathan Williams) is persuasive and artistically unwavering. Their well-defined and technically accomplished readings are filled with vitality and spirit and marked by a thoughtful but not calculated and otherwise fussy approach that might hamper the spirit of the music. Intonation and ensemble are right on target, adding further to the pleasure this writer gleaned from the disc.

While this is not Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven, it is another of those interesting and pleasing reissues that are finding their way back into the catalogs and those who either missed or ignored it on its maiden voyage should strongly consider acquiring it this time around, for it will not disappoint.

Michael Carter, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings in G major, Op. 30 no 2 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  Jonathan Williams (Cello), John Underwood (Viola), John Trusler (Violin),
Galina Solodchin (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Delmé String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1804; Vienna, Austria 
Quartet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 30 no 3 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  John Underwood (Viola), Galina Solodchin (Violin), Jonathan Williams (Cello),
John Trusler (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Delmé String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1804; Vienna, Austria 
Quartet for Strings in C major, Op. 30 no 1 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Performer:  John Trusler (Violin), John Underwood (Viola), Galina Solodchin (Violin),
Jonathan Williams (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Delmé String Quartet
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1804; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Superior Chamber Music July 15, 2013 By Anthony G. (valley stream, NY) See All My Reviews "These quartets by Hummel are delicious and substantive. Not fluff. Personally, I often found them to be better than some of Beethoven's quartets and they more than hold their own with Haydn and Mozart. Only Boccherini wrote better." Report Abuse
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