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(arr. J D Rose)
flute/piccolo, clarinet(E flat), 3 clarinets, 2 horns, trumpet, bass trombone, 2 bassoons
Catalogue Number: HV065
Score and parts: £27.00
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Skill level (A-E): D/E

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Johann Nepomuk Hummel was born in Pressburg (now in Hungary) in November 1778. He was something of a prodigy, starting his musical tuition at the age of three and was able to play the piano so well by the age of six that he became a member of Mozart's household for two years. In parallels with Mozart's life he and his father made a successful tour of several European countries, returning to Vienna in 1793.

He continued his studies there with composers such as Haydn and Salieri, eventually becoming one of the most celebrated virtuoso pianists of the time. It is probable that the professional rivalry between Beethoven and Hummel started during his early years in Vienna as they both had the same tutors. Opinion was divided on who was the better performer: Hummel, known for his open and modest character, was probably more exact in his playing than the more complex character of Beethoven — although the record of the rivalry is coloured by the clearly partisan approach of the writers of the time. Despite this there was a respectful friendship between the two composers and Hummel played at Beethoven's memorial concert, fulfilling the latter's wishes.

Hummel was a prolific composer for piano, but he also wrote chamber, concerti, orchestral and choral music, including operas and masses. His style is classical and when he died in 1837 a musical era that started with Haydn and Mozart came to an end.

This Notturno (Op. 99) was originally written for piano (four hands) with a pair of optional French horns. Hummel himself arranged it for flute (or oboe) and orchestra (Op. 102); later Glinka arranged it for 2 violins and orchestra. The arrangement here is by J.D. Rose about whom we have no information. It was probably arranged for a military band style of ensemble during the mid to late 19th Century. The original cover indicates that it was arranged for Piccolo, Clarinet in F, 3 Clarinets in B flat, 2 Horns, 2 Bassoons Trumpet and Trombone. However the parts are clearly marked for Flautino in F (Piccolo) and Bass Trombone (Trombone).

Flautino in F

During the 19th Century wind bands consisting entirely of flutes of various sizes were popular. These sizes and, therefore, pitches were named and written according to a different scheme to that which is common today. Instruments were named according to the lower note that was produced when all six fingers were down. For example on bassoons this is G, on a clarinet it is g, and on flutes (and oboes, cor anglais and saxophones) it is d. However only on a modern orchestral flute and oboe does it actually sound as d. For example, within this scheme an orchestral piccolo produces a d when all six fingers are down; however the note is written as d meaning that it sounds an octave above the flute for the same written note. This is why a Flautino in F is written in E flat.

The Flautino in F for which this Notturno is scored would seem to be the F Piccolo instrument. However the part indicates several instrument changes that may make this uncertain:

  • Bars 1 – 5 : Flautino in F
  • Bars 19 –47 : Fl. ordinaire
  • Bars 50 –112 : Flautino in F
  • Bars 116ff : Flauto 3tio
  • Bars 140ff : Flauto 3tio
  • Bars 237ff : Flauto 3tio

The Soprano or F Flute sounds a minor third higher than the concert flute and has, at times, been referred to as the Terzflöte, Flauto 3tio, or Third flute. It is difficult to know whether this was a term used interchangeably with Flautino in F or whether it was a separate instrument (thus requiring the use of three instruments within the single part). The current edition reproduces the original part, together with a suggested part using modern orchestral piccolo and flute.

Clarinetto in F

This clarinet was popular amongst bands of the early to middle 19th Century but has now completely disappeared from use. This edition gives an E-flat part (as well as the original F) for this clarinet.

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