The music of Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1778-1837) is becoming increasingly well known through recordings, performances and research, including the recent appearance of the first full-length biography in English. Once known primarily for his trumpet concerto, there has been a growing interest in a wide range of his output, especially works for piano and chamber music for diverse combinations of instruments. Hummel was a prodigy who traveled in lofty musical circles from a very young age, forming ties with a broad range of luminaries. He studied with Mozart as a boy (c. 1786-1788) and became a protégé of Haydn, whom he succeeded as Kappellmeister to Prince Esterházy at Eisenstadt (1804-1811). He developed a sometimes difficult relationship with Beethoven over a period of more than thirty years beginning in 1793, met Schubert in 1827, was admired by Schumann, and had many of his works performed by Liszt. Hummel also made extensive tours of Europe as a virtuoso pianist. Hummel and guitarist Mauro Giuliani became acquainted soon after Giuliani’s arrival in Vienna in 1807. The two went on to collaborate as both performers and composers in a fruitful partnership that resulted in several works for guitar and piano, as well as larger ensembles. The circumstances surrounding the premier performances of Hummel’s ensemble Serenades op. 63 and 66 are well documented. These uniquely scored works were composed for an outdoor concert series hosted by Count Franz Pálffy at Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace in 1815.
This edition is based on an early nineteenth century edition, originally published by the composer himself in what appears to have been a vanity publishing operation. This Serenade was composed and published simultaneously with another work with the same title, and for the same ensemble. The same title page was used for both serenades and the opus number, Op. 63 for the current work and Op. 66 for its companion, and the ordinal number of the work, Serenata prima for the current work and Serenata seconda for its companion, were written by hand on the respective title pages. Nevertheless, the opus number of each Serenade is printed on the first page of the piano part, and all the parts carry the designation of Serenata 1ma for Op. 63 and Serenata 2da for Op. 66. This score has been compiled from the separate parts of the original Artaria edition and include the principal instruments for the ensemble.
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