Notes for Hummel Viola Sonata op.5 no. 3
Hummel’s viola sonata can be understood in the context of a fin-de-siecle predilection for that which is elegant, operatic, and/or grotesque. Ostensibly paradoxical, these categories provide a conceptual framework within which we can understand proto-romantic/post-enlightenment art. A quintessential example of the epoch, Hummel’s viola sonata—in its three movements—exemplifies the aforesaid aesthetic triumvirate. Where the opening Allegro tips its musico-proverbial hat to the gallant style of years past, the Adagio Cantabile is understood as a diva’s lament; the Rondo a “low” dance on the edge of good taste.