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Mozart Arranged By Hummel / Shiraga, Wiese, Clemente, Benyi [4-cd Set]

Mozart / Shiraga / Wiese / Clemente / Benyi
Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 9043   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Henrik WiesePeter ClementeTibor BenyiFumiko Shiraga
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 4 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Today, with authenticity a crucial concern in musical performance, the idea of arranging piano concertos by Mozart for chamber forces seems almost bizarre. But in the 1830s, when the publisher Schott commissioned Johann Nepomuk Hummel to produce these versions of seven of Mozart’s most popular concertos for piano, flute, violin and cello, it was a common practice aimed at facilitating performances of orchestral works in domestic settings. And few could have brought such insights to the procedure as Hummel, one of the earliest protagonists on the stage of the virtuoso era, but also regarded by his contemporaries as the last legitimate representative of the ‘classical’ style. As a young boy Hummel had lived and studied in Mozart’s household Read more for two years, which had given him the opportunity to follow the composition of the Concertos in C minor, K491, and C major, K503, at close quarters. His arrangements may be described as the result of a virtuoso’s approach to the works of a revered teacher, with a piano part which combines the orchestral parts, the solo line and Hummel’s own added ornamentations and decorative alterations, whilst the other instruments accompany or reinforce the piano writing. Fumiko Shiraga’s performances were originally released on single discs between 2003 and 2006, to critical acclaim, including a Gramophone ‘Editor’s Choice’ and a ‘CD des Doppelmonats’ in Piano News: ‘This is how Mozart must sound, exactly like this…’ Gathered here in an attractively priced box set, they now provide a wider audience with the opportunity of catching a glimpse of how Mozart’s music was perceived and handed down during the decades after his death.

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

"The pupil’s handling of his master’s concertos is fascinating. Hummel incorporated much of Mozart’s original orchestral detail in the piano part and added his own ornamentation and cadenzas. The flute, violin and cello function to lend an impression of Mozart’s scoring, but where the original concertos present an equal dialogue between soloist and orchestra the arrangements are dominated by the piano...Fumiko Shiraga’s rippling and sustained piano is certainly the ringmaster of ceremonies, although her dramatic playing never unduly enforces its dominance over her skilled accomplices. Wiese, Clemente and Bényi are alert to the drama or sensitivity of the moment....civilised and intricately balanced performances."

-- Gramophone

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Following her studies in Germany with Detlef Kraus and others, pianist Fumiko Shiraga has established a solid international reputation as a soloist and chamber musician. She is known particularly for her BIS recordings of “concertos in disguise”—that is, chamber music arrangements of piano concertos by Chopin, Beethoven, and Mozart. Mozart himself tried his hand at this in his arrangements of K 413, K 414, and 415 for piano quintet. Shiraga’s current project is to record Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s arrangements of seven of Mozart’s concertos—the present two, plus K 456, K 466, K 482, K 503, and K 537—for piano, flute, violin, and cello. Hummel, the most gifted of Mozart’s students, lived in the master’s home at the time of the composition of K 491 and certainly knew his style intimately. In these arrangements, completed for an English publisher in 1836, Hummel elaborated on the piano parts, extending the range, adding embellishments, doubling scales in thirds, sixths, and octaves, and composing some quite virtuosic cadenzas. Naturally, Mozart’s rich orchestration can only be suggested, though the harmonies are for the most part retained by having the piano fill in during the tutti sections. The piano is therefore heard almost constantly, a fact that tends to homogenize the textures and timbres. It is a bit like fleshing out and dressing up a skeleton—and the original piano part of K 491 is indeed skeletal in the places where Mozart knew but didn’t bother to indicate the details. We have to admire Hummel for taking his work seriously and for perhaps even realizing some of Mozart’s intentions. The task of arranging K 365 was made easier by the fact that the two pianos in Mozart’s original are often in dialogue with each other. Thus, Shiraga has to handle not only the two solo parts but also the harmonic filler during the tuttis. She and her partners acquit themselves admirably in both works, and the recorded sound is fully up to BIS’s high standards.

FANFARE: Charles Timbrell

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If you’ve never had any desire to hear one of Mozart’s piano concertos and one of his symphonies reduced—by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, no less—to a piano, flute, violin, and cello arrangement, you can skip this review and the disc. Hummel, we are told, was commissioned to score seven of Mozart’s piano concertos for chamber ensemble by English publishers from the Chapel Master to the Duke of Saxe-Weimar. With this concerto—No. 18 in B? Major, K 456—Hummel completed the set in 1836. Even earlier, from the beginning of the 1820s, similar arrangements of Mozart’s last six symphonies were widely published. The incentive for this sort of thing is easy to understand. There was a voracious market for such works to be arranged for modest forces so that they could be played at home by amateur musicians. With the advent of radio and recording, we lost an entire culture of home music-making among family members and friends.

Ordinarily, I’m not receptive to this sort of thing, but I have to admit to being quite pleasantly surprised at how effective and truly delightful these arrangements are. The symphony works better, I think, than the concerto, and for a very simple reason. In the concerto, the piano must play a dual role as both soloist and member of the ensemble. As a result, the piano is heard from the very beginning and throughout all the “orchestra”-only sections during which it would normally remain silent. Thus, the concerto contrast principle between soloist and ripieno is compromised. The symphony, however, has no such distinguishing difficulties, and, amazingly, it almost sounds as if this is the way Mozart wrote it.

Hummel, of course, gets credit for being no ordinary hack arranger. But the four musicians playing these pieces on modern instruments deserve at least equal billing. They are phenomenally good. And BIS’s sound (do the initials stand for “Best in Show?”) is among the best in the business. No one could be more surprised than I, but I accord this release a very strong recommendation.

FANFARE: Jerry Dubins


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Works on This Recording

1.
Concerto for Piano no 20 in D minor, K 466 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Henrik Wiese (Flute), Peter Clemente (Violin), Tibor Benyi (Cello),
Fumiko Shiraga (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 31 Minutes 34 Secs. 
2.
Concerto for Piano no 25 in C major, K 503 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Tibor Benyi (Cello), Peter Clemente (Violin), Henrik Wiese (Flute),
Fumiko Shiraga (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 32 Minutes 56 Secs. 
3.
Concerto for 2 Pianos in E flat major, K 365 (316a) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Peter Clemente (Violin), Fumiko Shiraga (Piano), Henrik Wiese (Flute),
Tibor Benyi (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1779; Salzburg, Austria 
Length: 25 Minutes 48 Secs. 
4.
Concerto for Piano no 24 in C minor, K 491 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Peter Clemente (Violin), Fumiko Shiraga (Piano), Henrik Wiese (Flute),
Tibor Benyi (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 30 Minutes 57 Secs. 
5.
Concerto for Piano no 26 in D major, K 537 "Coronation" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Peter Clemente (Violin), Fumiko Shiraga (Piano), Henrik Wiese (Flute),
Tibor Benyi (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 29 Minutes 13 Secs. 
6.
Concerto for Piano no 22 in E flat major, K 482 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Peter Clemente (Violin), Fumiko Shiraga (Piano), Henrik Wiese (Flute),
Tibor Benyi (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1785; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 38 Minutes 16 Secs. 
7.
Concerto for Piano no 18 in B flat major, K 456 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Fumiko Shiraga (Piano), Henrik Wiese (Flute), Peter Clemente (Violin),
Tibor Benyi (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1784; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 32 Minutes 35 Secs. 
8.
Symphony no 40 in G minor, K 550 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Fumiko Shiraga (Piano), Henrik Wiese (Flute), Peter Clemente (Violin),
Tibor Benyi (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1788; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 28 Minutes 6 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): I. Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): II. Romance
Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): III. Rondo: Allegro assai
Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): I. Allegro maestoso
Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): II. Andante
Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): III. Allegretto
Concerto for 2 Pianos in E flat major, K. 365 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): I. Allegro
Concerto for 2 Pianos in E flat major, K. 365 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): II. Andante
Concerto for 2 Pianos in E flat major, K. 365 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): III. Allegro giocoso
Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): I. Allegro
Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): II. Larghetto
Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 (arr. J.N. Hummel for flute, violin, cello and piano): III. Allegretto

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