commentary to opus 45
Biblical Scenes for Oboe and Organ, op. 45 (1972)
III. The flood
IV. The rescue of the Ark
V. The Rainbow
performance: June 16, 1972, Nürnberg, St. Lorenz
Duration: 17 Minutes
Publisher: N. Simrock Hamburg-London (Boosey & Hawkes) ISMN 9790221108531
Unified basic material provides consistency amongst the different compositional structures. Free declamation in certain parts contrasts with sections with strict formal construction. Sub-titles for the movements are to be understood as fundamental imaginative ideas for the movement in question - a kind of verbal programme, as for example placed by Olivier Messiaen at the beginning of a number of works.
In a concert, it is a good idea to read the relevant texts before each movement.
1. The people
rebel (Gen. 6: 5)
Noah's faith (Gen. 6: 9, 13, 14, 17, 22, 18, 19)
The Flood (Gen. 7: 17, 23, 24, 8: 1, 2)
The rescue of the Ark (Gen. 8: 15, 16, 20)
The Rainbow (Gen. 9: 12, 13, 16)
The performers are urged "to play the sections together and avoid any quick changes of registration". the piece is a true concert work and is difficult for both performers. very descriptive writing, especially in the flood movement. Appropriate for concerts.
James H. Laster (in: Catalogue of Music for Organ and Instruments, Oxford 2005)
fonoforum, 6th June, 1978
In the "Biblical Scenes", organ and oboe paraphrase texts from the book of Genesis. The five movements evoke for me formal associations such as Toccata, Meditation, Fantasy, Elegy and Contemplation in a late-Romantic sense, very much as in French organ music. At the same time, the oboe continually punctuates the form, creates moments of tranquillity, caesuras, appears in alternation or in combination with the organ. Cantabile or, better, expressive solo figures occur in the oboe part, in which the organ intervenes, there are two-part pedal passages, motif development arises out of recitativo passages, striking cries in the oboe combine with massive mixtures in the organ to create dramatic scenes. Hummel's "Biblical Scenes" are a remarkable example of meditative, text-based church music.
Donau-Kurier Ingolstadt, 21st June, 1972
With his "Biblical Scenes", Hummel has enriched the repertoire in this area with a very varied and distinctive work. In the refined melodic ideas and the always well-sounding whole, we hear a convincing expression of total musicianship. .
Fränkisches Volksblatt, 3rd December, 1974
Bertold Hummel's "Five biblical Scenes" for oboe and organ, inspired by texts from the book of Genesis, are concentrated on unified basic material which emphasises the consistency of the several compositional structures and reflect vividly and concisely, with meditation, illustration and in thought-pictures the fundamental concepts of the relevant texts. Hummel remains true to his principles here: clear forms, no unnecessary "chattering" around the theme, a lively sense for refined effects in sonority and compact expression..