commentary to opus 106

Back to work register

Quintet for Oboe, Clarinet in B-flat, Horn in F, Bassoon and Piano, op. 106 (2001)

I. Reminiscences

II. Recitative with Chorale beginning

III. Capriccio beginning


Première: September 19, 2001, Straubing
Ralf Ebner / Venelin Piperov / Till Heine / Johannes Schuster / Andreas Skouras

Duration: 17 Minutes

Publisher: Vogt & Fritz (score and parts) VF 1369 - M 2026-0256-0


CD available: Ralf Ebner (Oboe), Venelin Piperov (Clarinet), Tobias Albrecht (Bassoon), Johannes Schuster (Horn), Andreas Skouras (Piano)
Bluval 1

Video: Works by Hummel on youtube

The Reminiscences (1st movement) are concerned with intervals which always play a favourite role in my works: minor second, minor third, fourth, tritone and seventh. Tempos on two levels - Adagio and Vivace - alternate twelve times in the course of the movement, whereby the proportion of Adagio decreases, that of Vivace increases. Often mixtures in up to six parts develop, serving in Adagio more as representations of Nature, in Vivace more as animatedly rhythmical structures.
The 2nd movement, Recitative with Chorale, provides the individual instruments with the opportunity of commenting on the chorale-like sections. Three times, each time at the end of a line of the chorale, we hear the 1st bar of the Larghetto (KV 452) and once again, in the original Mozart instrumentation, just before the end of the movement.
The Capriccio (3rd movement) begins with a signal-like introduction, followed by a theme with dance character, dominating the whole movement with its variable metre. At different points it is interrupted, on one occasion by a Waltz, later by a chorale-like episode and additionally by a metamorphosis of the introductory bars. The apparent conclusion is followed by a little musical question mark.

Bertold Hummel

Commission for the Bluval Festival, 2001



OBOE-FAGOTT Nr. 68 (2002)

The Quintet, op.106, written as a commission for the Bluval Festival 2001 and given its first performance on 19th September, 2001 in Straubing, makes completely different claims on our attention. It has the classical instrumentation of Beethoven's op. 16 and Mozart's KV 452 and refers directly to the latter in the 2nd movement ("Recitative with Chorale") by adapted, and then at the end direct, quotation. The Quintet, lasting 18 minutes, is written for a professional ensemble and makes corresponding demands. These are not only technical, as the piece is comfortable to play, but more in the area of good ensemble and shared understanding. For there is a great danger in this piece that through the numerous tempo changes, insertions, quotations and recitative sections the total concept of the work is lost, leaving a collection of individual sections. The players must work hard to prevent this happening, for the piece is very suitable as a complement to a programme of Mozart or Beethoven (s. above).
Eberhard Holbein


Straubinger Zeitung, 21st September, 2001

In the light of this enormous challenge - model and inspiration for the composition was Mozart's famous Quintet KV 452 - we have got to know a completely different Hummel, one who has concentrated, as if in a concave mirror, his characteristic enormous spectrum of a musicality and the multiplicity of his creative techniques. How well he can write for wind instruments is already well documented by a rich segment of his oeuvre - one need only recall his saxophone quartets. Hummel's op. 106 with its inclusion of short Mozart quotations is not tight-fisted with good features known to us from his other compositions: exciting metamorphoses of the material, above all during the first movement in combination with marked rhythmic effects, strong contrasts of various musical states from simple to highly artificial, and in general rich fantasy in sound in a satisfying balance. One can only wish the work a future not spent predominantly locked in a drawer.

Back to previous page

Deutsch - Français