On this final disc of Hummel's chamber arrangements of piano concertos by Mozart, the turn has come to Concerto No. 18 in B flat major. It was composed for the blind pianist Maria Theresia Paradis in 1784, immediately before the young Hummel's extended stay in the Mozart household. The arrangement of the work, for piano, flute, violin and cello on the commission of an English music publisher, was made some 50 years later, in the dawn of early romanticism. Even so, it is fair to say that the grown-up Hummel, who was viewed by his contemporaries as the last legitimate representative of the classical style, with these arrangements gives us new insights into the performance practice of the previous era, indeed into that of Mozart himself. This is very plain in the arrangement - for the same scoring - of the great G minor symphony (No. 40) where Hummel gives metronome markings that are much faster than we would normally expect today.
The three previous discs in the series have been received with great interest, both because of these aspects and because of the superlative performances which make the arrangements into exciting musical experiences in their own right. The first disc (BIS-CD-1147) was described as 'consistently refreshing' and 'full of unexpected illuminations' by the reviewer in Gramophone, which upon the release of the third instalment (BIS-CD-1537) selected it as an Editor's Choice. The same disc was hailed by the website klassik.com as 'rich in nuances as well as passionate' and described as an 'excellent calling-card for the pianistic skills of Fumiko Shiraga'.
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