collection in this audio gallery will give you a first audible impression of the
different facets of Bertold Hummel's music.
numerous other samples on this web site are available under Work
index by clicking on .
In the Complete works
listed by opus number simply click on the work required and the information
page opens automatically. Here sections of the work marked with ,
unless otherwise indicated, can be heard complete on an MP3 player.
large-scale symphonic works are the centre-piece of Bertold Hummel's compositional
production. The scores are colourful and clearly structured, finding expression
through eruptive force, as here in the Allegro
from Episodes, op. 23
or through a sweeping symphonic arch as in the Lamentationes
Jeremiae of the 3rd Symphony, op.
In the 3rd movement of his 2nd Symphony op.
30, Hummel sets the Gregorian "Te deum laudamus" in contrast
against a fully chromatic 12-tone theme. Here is the beginning
of the Finale concertante.
Visions after the Apocalypse of Saint John op.
73 was premiered by the
Berlin Philharmonic and afterwards performed by such renowned conductors as Marcello
Viotti and Klauspeter Seibel. Now listen to the beginning
of the work.
for the theatre
Hummel's musical language is in every way predestined for dramatic scenes on the
stage. Although the number of works for the theatre is relatively small, we find
here powerful compositions which - whenever they are put on stage - are always
perceived as extremely effective for the audience.
anti-war ballet The Last Flower, op.
55a from the year 1975 touched, at the height of the Cold War, the nerve
of the times: the fear of atomic catastrophe was everywhere. Here you can hear
the Entry of the dictator
at the beginning of the ballet and the Intermezzo
mechanico in which inventors experiment on their death-bringing machines.
In his Scenes
from Faust op. 72, Hummel set
Heinrich Heine's Dance Poem in 6 scenes. Here is the beginning
of the Witches' Sabbath, which leads into a jazzed-up version of the Gregorian
work The Emperor's New Clothes, op.
10 sadly remained his only opera, although Hummel was throughout his life
looking out for the right libretto. Now listen to the Entry
of the Lord Chamberlain in scene 2.
Concerto for Percussion op. 70
is with its 110 performances the composer's best-known work and is furthermore
the most successful concerto for percussion of its time. Hear now the beginning
of the virtuosic final movement Finale-Vivace.
relatively late work is the Music for Saxophone and large Orchestra, op.
96b, which also exists in alternative versions for Clarinet or Horn. A
7-section concert piece in one movement. Now you can hear the cadenza
and end of the work.
these concertos with large orchestra, there are 8 further solo concertos accompanied
by string orchestra. Amongst these are three Percussion Concertos (op.
53, op. 86, op.
105). Especially significant is the Poem for Violoncello and Strings, op.
80 from the year 1984, based on the famous "Stufen-Gedicht"
("Stages-Poem") by Hermann Hesse. Now listen to the beginning
of the second part.
a time of increasing secularisation, creative and interpretive artists have without
doubt the task of making their fellow man aware of the transcendent, the inexplicable
and the unprovable," wrote Bertold Hummel a year before his death. This inner
attitude lay behind numerous compositions.
opus summum in this genre is considered to be the almost two-hour oratorio, Der
Schrein der Märtyrer (The Shrine of the Martyrs) op.
90. With gigantic instrumental forces, he set old Irish texts on the martyrdom
of the Franconian apostles and biblical texts such as the Sermon on the Mount
or Psalm 150. Here are the
close of the Oratorio and the Storm
at Sea, which with two organs and percussion groups leaves no wishes unfulfilled
in terms of suggestive power.
liturgical purposes, Hummel composed countless organ and choir works, which are
sung and played with pleasure in Christian churches. He wrote 5 Latin Masses and
numerous motets, which can also be performed by amateur choirs. The Ave Maria,
op. 97e2, which he wrote on
the death of his sister, was particularly dear to him. Listen now to the beginning
of the Ave Maria.
Hummel worked not only as a composer but also appeared frequently as a cellist
and chamber musician and created an abundance of works for strings. Beside his
1st Symphony for Strings, op. 20,
written for large forces, there are 7 further works for string orchestra (op.
19b, op. 43, op.
50, op. 62a1, op.
69a, op. 95b, op.
first movement of Contrasts, op.
50 we hear at towards the end a for Hummel typical series of chords, heard
almost like a signature in most of his works. Here is the Introduction.
Adagio in memoriam Benjamin Britten, op.
62a1 can be performed as a string trio or as an orchestral work. Now listen
to the beginning of the string
the 2nd String Quartet, op. 46
the full range of sounds available on the instruments is subtly brought out. Here
is the beginning of the beginning
of the 1st movement, titled Mosaici.
saw the composition of a Suite for Violin solo, op.
78 as a great challenge. You can now hear the beginning
of the last movement with the title Metamorphosen (Metamorphoses), in
which he artistically interweaves material from the preceding movement with new.
In his early
Sonata in F for Violoncello and Piano, op.
2 one already hears, despite
reminders of Bartok and Hindemith, the genuine musical language of Hummel. Listen
to the beginning of the 3rd
his 4 Concertos for Percussion, there are also about 25 works for 1, 2 (op.
58), 3 (op. 88d), 4 (op.
38) and 5 (op. 72b) percussionists.
Hummel was amongst the first composers to include percussion on equal footing
with other instruments in chamber music (e.g. Ludi a tre op.
29 and Trio op. 82a).
Duettino, op. 82b
a piano accompanies "classically". Now you can hear the beginning
of the 2nd movement with the title Ostinato.
Quattro pezzi, op. 92 are
a difficult test for percussionists and are therefore often chosen as compulsory
pieces in competitions. Hear now the meditative 3rd
movement: A la sarabande.
work Frescos 70, op. 38 has
in the meantime become a classic of percussion literature. Now listen to the 4th
movement with the title Polymetry.
the way, it is regrettable that amongst his unfulfilled plans was a symphony to
be played exclusively on percussion instruments.
every orchestral wind instrument, Bertold Hummel also wrote chamber music. In
8 solo pieces, he gave the instrumentalists an opportunity to explore the full
range of sounds on their instruments. The Suite für Oboe solo, op.
26b begins with a Fanfare.
wrote small-scale sonatas with piano accompaniment for recorder, op.
87b, Flute, op. 107a, Trumpet,
op. 1a, Tuba, op.
81a, Bassoon, op. 59b, Trombone,
op. 59a and Saxophone, op.
95a. The Sonatina for Horn and Klavier, op.
75a is amongst his best-known works. Here is the
beginning of the 3rd movement Finale-Presto.
saxophone, he wrote some important works. They include the Music for 4 Saxophones,
op. 88f. The 3rd
movement has the title Mixture.
Little Wind Music, op. 61 takes
its orientation from typical charakter pieces of the 19th century. Thus there
is an unusual mixture of archaic sonority with contemporary rhythm. Listen to
march rhythms that dominate in the last movement of his Wind Octet, op.
47 are "not completely
without satirical elements", as Hummel himself put it. Now listen to the
of the Allegro marciale.
for symphonic wind orchestra
three large-scale works, Bertold Hummel made his contribution towards creating
a repertoire reflecting the true potential of symphonic wind music.
the fourth movement of the Sinfonietta, op.
39 a melancholy mercenary's song from the Thirty Years' War is repeatedly
interrupted by threatening march music. Here is the beginning
of the Finale concertante.
song of olden times, "Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen" is quoted by
Hummel in the Oregon Symphony, op.
67, written for a wind music congress in the American State of Oregon.
In the Finale of the Symphony, he collages various American folk songs (here is
the middle section).
For the anniversary
of his home town, Hüfingen, he composed an entertaining piece for the City
Band, Musica urbana, op. 81c,
in which he reworked musical impressions from his youth. In the 2nd movement,
a locally very popular march motif undergoes an ironic and grotesque treatment.
This is the beginning of
the 2nd movement with the title March.
rich variety of sounds on the organ fascinated Bertold Hummel throughout his life.
Thus there are works form every phase of his compositional work either for organ
alone or organ partnering other instruments.
like the Alleluia, op. 44
and the Three Marian Frescos, op.
42 are, in the same way as the 25 minute work, in memoriam Anton Bruckner,
op. 91a, symphonically conceived
(and in sections even calling for a large orchestra); all are based, as is his
last work for organ, Benedicamus domino, op.
102, on Gregorian themes. Here is the beginning of the "Alleluja"
and of the "Benedicamus
the 5 large-scale works for organ and instrument (op.
74 and op. 98a for percussion,
op. 45 for oboe, op.
68a and op. 68b for optionally
trumpet or saxophone, op. 63 for
violin), we also find the frequently performed "in memoriam", op.
74, from which you can now listen to the beginn
of the Toccata. As a reminiscence of the arias of Johann Sebastian Bach,
Hummel composed the Arioso
from the Dialogue, op. 63.
could describe the Metamorphoses on the notes Bb-A-C-B, op.
40 as a kind of organ concerto. In 3 movements, the famous four-note series
is heard in the most varied combinations of sonorities. Listen here to the beginning
of the Toccata.
Children grew out of his experiences in teaching and in making music at home
with his six sons. The pieces are for performers who are just learning to master
the basics of their instrument, are easy to play and stimulate enthusiasm in listeners
and players through their cantabile and rhythmic characteristics. The most successful
work of this category is probably the Sonatina for Violin and piano, op.
35a, from which you can now hear the final movement, Finale-Vivace.
String Music, op. 95b is a
short work which can encourage young people into string quartet play. Here is
piano pieces for children are collected in three volumes (10 Piano Pieces for
children, op. 56b, Playing
keys - a little Piano Album for my Grandchildren, op.
103d and Mimi's
are little miniatures, sometimes cheeky as in Knees-up,
sometimes elegiac as in the The
wailing Nightingale, which are fun for young players. His last piano piece
of this kind was composed in May, 2002: "Good
combinations of instruments
Hummel often wrote works for unusual combinations of instruments. Seeking for
the most varied mixtures of sounds, he produced pieces which are received well
by performers and listeners alike.
special work is the Fantasia poetica for Dulcimer and Viola, op.
101b. It is dedicated to the memory of the poet Wolfgang Borchert, convincing
in its expressive musical language. Listen now to the beginning
of the Fantasia poetica.
work with electronic sounds - which he often used in film and theatre music -
led him to compose the piece Yume I-IV, op.
41a. The technical resources available at the time are exploited skilfully
to accompany a live flute with distorted or metamorphosed flute sounds. Listen
now to the beginning von
Yume I, a recording which, with tape effects that can hardly be produced
today, can confidently be called historic.
Sinfonia piccola for 8 double basses, op.
66 (here with the beginning
of the Burlesque) is a touchstone for double bass ensembles world-wide
regarding intonation and ensemble.
for the Kleine Unterhaltungsorchester (Little Light Orchestra) of the SWF (South-West
the beginning of his composing career, Bertold Hummel freelanced for the SWF in
Freiburg. One of his tasks here was to provide arrangements of well-known pieces
for the then famous Little Light Orchestra, led by Willi Stech, and also to compose
works of his own for light entertainment concerts. He later grouped these works
together under the opus number 13.
the South African Suite, op. 13a
he drew on impressions during the several months of his concert tour in the former
German South-West Africa. In carefree mood, the 30-year old composer gave the
final movement the title Heia Safari.
concert pieces for flute, op. 13d,
bassoon op. 13e, viola op.
13f and piano op. 13g were
written by Hummel for the excellent soloists of the Orchestra.
Here is the
beginning of Pan 56
for Flute and Chamber Orchestra, op.