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Hummel, Johann Nepomuk
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Hummel, Johann Nepomuk

(Born; Bratislava, 14 Nov 1778; Died; Weimar, 17 Oct 1837). Austrian pianist and composer. A child prodigy and a pupil of Mozart (Vienna, 1786-8), he undertook an extended tour (1789-92) throughout northern Europe with his father, arousing particular interest in England, where he met Haydn. Back in Vienna he studied with Albrechtsberger, Salieri and Haydn, giving lessons to support himself. He held a position as Konzertmeister to Prince Nikolaus Esterhá;zy (1804-11) and, after a period of writing piano and chamber music for Vienna, returned to the concert platform. He was Kapellmeister in Stuttgart (1816-18) and Weimar (from 1819), where he conducted the court theatre and many concerts, knew Goethe and other luminaries and still had time to teach and compose; he toured regularly as a pianist and worked tirelessly on his important piano method (1828). The climax of his career came in 1830 with a trip to Paris and London. Despite his public and financial success - he had an excellent business sense and systematized multinational music publishing - he remained a warm and simple person. His playing was praised for its clarity, neatness, evenness, superb tone and delicacy, products of his preference for the light-toned Viennese piano; he excelled at improvisation. Ferdinand Hiller was among his pupils. Hummel wrote some of the finest music of the last years of Classicism, with ornate Italianate melodies and virtuoso embroidery; his later music shows more expression and variety, including imaginative harmony and long flights of lyricism.

Piano music6 solo sonatas; over 50 other solo works, incl. variations, rondos, fantasies pf duets Chamber musicSeptet, d (Circa;1816); Septett militaire, C (1829); Pf Qnt, eFlat;/EFlat; (1802); 3 str qts (before 1804); 2 str trios; 8 pf trios; 7 acc. kbd sonatas; Circa;20 other works Orchestral music8 pf concs.; Tpt Conc., EFlat; (1803); other works for solo inst(s)(s) and orch; dances, marches

Dramatic musicCirca;12 operas; contributions to other composers' operas; incidental and ballet music

Vocal music5 masses; oratorio; other sacred works; secular cantatas, partsongs, solo songs

(c)Groves Dictionaries, MacMillan Publishers Limited, UK

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