Hummel Bloggers

Here’s an interesting set of blog posts from hella frisch, blogic, and AC/DC, all on their recent performance of the Hummel Quintet for violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano.

Blogic notes that Johann Hummel’s middle name was “Nepomuk”, and his post is even titled “Nepo-who?!?” There are actually two Nepomuks worth noting in history. One is of course our hero of the hour, the composer Hummel, who gave us bassists one more worthy piece of chamber music. The other was St. John Nepomuk, a martyr and the patron saint of Bohemia.

Nepomuk is certainly a Bohemian style of name, and interestingly many of the prominent small chamber works that include the double bass have such a slant, including works like the Dvorak Quintet Op.77, or the last movement of Schubert’s Trout Quintet. Indeed just about any chamber work that includes a double bass is not naturally going to lend itself to the refined raised-pinky orchestration. The addition of a double bass gives the chamber work an instant sense of mystery, gypsy, deviance, cojones. I just wish there were more.