Voces Intimae perform the complete piano trios of Johann Nepomuk Hummel on two CDs marking their first appearance on the Warner Classics label.
Founded by three musicians with a wealth of performing experience, individually and in ensembles, Voces Intimae gave their first concerts as a trio in 1998. Since that time the ensemble has performed in many of Italy’s major cities, from Turin and Milan in the north, to Florence, Rome, L’Aquila and Pescara in the centre of the country, and Messina and Catanzaro in the south. They have enjoyed notable success in London in performances at St John’s Smith Square and Wigmore Hall, the latter concert broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. The Strad described Voces Intimae’s Wigmore Hall concert as "a performance of inspired clarity and subtle expression, characterised by a transparent reading and flawless intonation.” Elsewhere in Europe, Voces Intimae has performed in Brussels, Barcelona, Bratislava, Utrecht, Vienna and, most recently, at the Kitzbühl Festival (Austria). Voces Intimae’s repertoire has concentrated on the work of musicians inspired and befriended by Johann Wolfgang Goethe, fantasias and paraphrases based on operas of Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi and Italian and French trios composed at the turn of the 20th century.
Voces Intimae regard Hummel as one of the most important figures of the romantic era, yet one who is more esteemed than admired. Born in Bratislava in 1778, Hummel became a piano student of Mozart at the age of eight and made his debut a year later under the baton of his teacher. He subsequently performed across Europe, studying with Clementi in London and with Salieri and Haydn on his return to Vienna in 1793. Hummel became a much sought-after piano teacher in his own right as well as a celebrated pianist and a fortepiano virtuoso admired by Haydn, Schubert, Schumann and Beethoven. As a composer, Hummel wrote many successful pieces, including piano concertos, chamber music and works for solo piano and piano duet. Among these were numerous transcriptions of symphonies and other compositions by Mozart, Beethoven and others, which brought these works to the attention of a wide public. At the end of his life, Hummel lived in Weimar, where he became one of the town’s major attractions, along with Goethe and Schiller.
“We incline to the idea of going back to the old days, and we take pleasure in playing lovely music without having to sound like a charge of artillery; we like to show here and there the rhythm of horse trot … and are delighted by the sound of the fortepiano, with its indisputable charm and its equally indisputable limitations. All this forms our project, our Intimate Voices, those of emotions, of inspiration,
of communication between similar souls…” (Voces Intimae)
“One listens with a joyous intensity: Voces Intimae travel with poetry as their fuel, their ideas are clear and thanks to an intelligent use of period instruments, give … a good cleansing to our perception of timbre, but not at the expense of vitality and expressivity. The future activity of this chamber group is worth following.” (Musica, on Voces Intimae’s recording of Mendelssohn Piano Trios)
“In these readings their interpretation continuously changes pace, following the subtle differences in the music: here speaking, there singing out (using exquisite portes de voix), one moment getting sombre, another moment serene, alternating ‘symphonic’ traits with intimate dialogues consisting of hints rather than words..." (Suonare)
"Voces Intimae give this music all its poetry and transparency…” (Le Monde de la Musique)
"Their reading is fluent, tender and elegant…" (Amadeus) (All on Voces Intimae’s recording of Schubert Piano Trios)