Hummel’s piano sonatas at their best can match those of Haydn, and the E flat major work (1805) in Hae-won Chang’s hands makes an attractive introduction to the genre. The more thoughtful first movement of the F minor Sonata (1807) is interrupted by a recurring brief Adagio; the central Adagio maestoso is more imposing, with the tension released in the bravura finale. The F sharp minor Sonata is a splendid work, nearer to Beethoven than to Haydn, its kernel a memorable Largo con molto espressione, to be followed by a vigorous bravura finale. This is the first of a Naxos series, and very welcome it is when this accomplished Korean pianist is right inside the music, which she plays very persuasively indeed. She is excellently recorded.
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