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Hummel was a prodigious talent, who toured around Europe while still in short trousers.
He wowed audiences as a pianist wherever he went, but it is as the composer of a work for the trumpet that he is best known today.
He was a pupil of Haydn and ended up taking over his job. Hummel wrote his Trumpet Concerto for Anton Weidinger, the same player for whom Haydn had written his. Clearly Mr Weidinger was the man of the moment, with more than one of the significant composers of the time falling over themselves to write music especially for him to perform. Not only was Weidinger a bit of an animal with his technique, but his rather shiny new trumpet could reach the parts other trumpets couldn’t reach. Hummel and Weidinger premiered the work on the very day that Hummel arrived in Haydn’s old job, so it might well have been a case of ‘Anything you can do, I can do better’.
Although it is this work for which he is chiefly remembered, Hummel wrote all types of music, except for symphonies, out of respect for the work of Beethoven, whom he believed he couldn’t better.
Alison Balsom (trumpet); Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie. EMI Classics: 2162130.