‘This program is simply delicious... As with other releases in this series, Howard Shelley plays Hummel with elegance and flair. Much of this music, particularly in the shorter concert works, is very brilliant and highly decorative, but Shelley never makes you feel as though it consists of empty note-spinning. The London Mozart Players accompany sensitively and with aplomb. A good time was clearly had by all, including the engineers, who provide vivid sonics.' ClassicsToday.com
‘Collectors of the series can rest assured that this latest volume fully sustains the high standard already set. Shelley couldn't play a dull or ugly note if his life depended on it, so all those long-spun, mellifluous cantilenas flow with a meltingly lovely tone, and when the music begins to dance and goes into note-overdrive, he makes everything sound vital and compelling, never merely ‘notey'. Judging by the London Mozart Players' devoted and foot-tappingly accurate playing throughout this series, Shelley is also no mean baton-waver. Recommended with the greatest enthusiasm.' The Independent on Sunday
‘All these pieces, plus the purely orchestral variations on the tune of ‘O du lieber Augustin' (which curiously throws in a ‘Turkish' percussion ensemble), are vividly performed by the London Mozart Players, while pianist Howard Shelley throws off Hummel's copious cascades of notes with appropriate panache.' BBC Music Magazine
L'Enchantment d'Oberon, a fantaisie caractéristique for piano and orchestra, was composed in November 1830 as one of a series of compositions to be used in a tour of France and England the following year. It belongs to a class of works whose aim is less the seriousness of the concerto and rather more to be shorter, highly colourful and unfailingly entertaining pieces. Clearly influenced by Weber's opera Oberon, this ‘fantasy' was likely written in tribute to Weber, who had died only three years before. The title and circumstances of the next work, Le retour à Londres, give an interesting insight into the politics of concert-giving in the early nineteenth century. Most virtuoso-composers wrote a ‘return to...' and a ‘farewell to...' when on tour, in the spirit of urban and national flattery. This example was written for Hummel's first grand farewell tour of 1831 and here receives its premiere recording. The Piano Concerto in A major is one of two early piano concertos in that key. Comparison with other works for piano and orchestra from this period would suggest a date of composition near the turn of the century, c.1798, when Hummel was just ending his teens. The concerto is extremely confident and competent for someone of that age and bears testimony to what he absorbed from his principal teacher, Mozart. The form is indeed Mozartian as is the handling of thematic and harmonic material. This is a very restrained Hummel composition, yet in the Rondo finale is reminiscent of Haydn in its popular appeal.