Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778–1837)
Unknown artist, lithograph, after a drawing by Carl Heinrich Grünler, second half of 19th c., 227 x 194.
Collection: Muzeum Fryderyka Chopina, Warsaw [M/1171].
Johann Nepomuk Hummel—an Austrian composer and pianist of Hungarian origins, pupil of Mozart, Albrechtsberger and Salieri. He made numerous concert tours, including of Russia and Great Britain; in 1828, he performed in Warsaw at the Teatr Narodowy and the town hall, playing with orchestra his piano concertos and solo works, as well as improvising; the programmes also included his chamber works and vocal works, performed by Polish artists. Fryderyk had the opportunity of comparing his own technique with the art of the master pianist, about whom he had heard a great deal and whose works he readily performed. Moving in the same circles as Hummel during his stay in Warsaw, Chopin made his personal acquaintance, and the master had the opportunity of hearing his playing and compositions. Hummel was the leading representative of the style brillant and made a considerable contribution to the development of piano texture, which he enriched with new virtuosic pianistic figures; he was hugely influential on the development of piano playing during the first half of the nineteenth century. Hummel’s influence is noticeable in Chopin’s early compositions (rondos, concertos). Chopin’s attitude to Hummel’s oeuvre is best conveyed by words contained in a letter to the pianist Anne Caroline de Belleville-Oury in London: [Paris, 10 December 1842] ‘You convey so wonderfully those who are the masters of us all, the great authors, like Mozart, Beethoven and Hummel’ [Sydow, ii, 75–76].