Septett militaire : Work information

This work

Work name
Septett militaire
Work number
Op. 114
1829-01-01 02:00:00

This recording

Simon Lawman
Bob Auger
Recording date

The Composers

Johann Nepomuk Hummel

Hummel was born into a musical family on 14th November 1778 in Pressburg (part of modern Bratislava).  He became a pupil of Mozart when he was ten, and toured Europe, earning international fame.  After four years, he decided to retire from performing, devoting himself to the study of composition.  He was employed by the Esterhazy family at Eisenstadt as Konzertmeister, writing sacred music, occasional music and operas, but became more interested in writing minuets and waltzes for Vienna's fashionable ballrooms.  He moved there in 1811 to teach, compose and raise a family.  He was appointed Kappelmeister at Weimar in 1818.

His elegantly designed melodies anticipated the complexities and emotions of the Romantic composers to come after him, making his piano works interesting examples of 19th century music.  He also composed many vocal and choral pieces, a result of the demands of his court employment.  He is best known for the Piano Concertos in A minor, Op.85, and in B minor, Op.89

After several years of popularity, he was eclipsed in 1831 by Liszt and Paganini, whose superb virtuosity lured the public away from Hummel's more restrained music.  He died in 1837 regarded by many as a relic, but he had resisted the temptation to affect the style of the new generation of composers, and retained the admiration of true music lovers.

Related composers: LisztPaganini, Mozart

MIIDI FILE - From Piano Sonata op.81: Allegro (7'56'')

 MIDI FILE - Piano Fantasia op.18 (24'41'')

Track listing

  • Allegro con brio 10:52 min
  • Adagio 8:30 min
  • Menuetto: Allegro 5:07 min
  • Finale: Vivace 5:51 min


Composed for the unusual combination of piano, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, double bass and trumpet, Hummel's Septett militaire was written in 1829. A clean and bright work, still bearing the hallmarks of Viennese Classicism, the work's title owes more to its instrumentation than to the few martial characteristics in evidence.

The relatively modest piano part was written for Madame Adolphe de Lanneau, the work's dedicatee, and is used to particular effect in the Adagio where each instrument, except the double bass, has an accompanied solo passage. The sprightly rondo finale is particularly attractive, Hummel applying all manner of fugal techniques to a simple theme while providing plenty of contrast in the episodes.