Without the correspondence of his friend Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the Czech composer Myslivecek (in Italy, where he lived, [he was known as] ‘Il Divino Boemo’) would scarcely have received any more attention after his death. His music is charmingly simple, and for that very reason Mozart recommended it be "played with much expression and fire”. At once, with the Keyboard Concerto No. 1, Clare Hammond shows through projection of the conversational solo part, how the gregarious theme can prove to be rougher and more challenging than the rather decorative orchestral ensemble. Thus the Grazioso of the ‘Andantino’ contrasts with the proud rondo-like gestures in the orchestra and the Capriccio temperament of the fine-sounding piano. Likewise, she articulates the momentum of the Keyboard Concerto no. 2 with coquettish and dynamic nuances, the ‘Larghetto’ is gentle and the ‘Minuet’ brisk. Contrasting playing styles enhance these relatively short works. This is a strategy that Clare Hammond also applies to the Six Divertimenti for solo keyboard, which she presents as stories in a children’s book ranging from naive curiosity to picturesque miniatures. In the slightly more sophisticated Six Exercises, she highlights the dramaturgy of the sonata form and their chromatic piquancy. It is a good thing that Clare Hammond took her research to heart, as that is why the modest piano oeuvre of Josef Myslivecek has been justly re-evaluated.

Interpretation 6/6, Sound 5/6, Repertoire 5/6

Hans-Dieter Grünefeld