Introduzione e Rondo Brillante in B flat minor; Piano Concerto in D minor; Introduction, Variations and Rondo on Weber’s Hunting Chorus from Euryanthe
Rosemary Tuck (piano); English Chamber Orchestra/Richard Bonynge
Naxos 8.573688 79:31 mins
The music of Carl Czerny (1791- 1857) adorns most piano students’ desks: the composer is best known for his copious technical pieces and etudes, created as he passed on the knowledge he gleaned from his mentor and muse Beethoven to his pupils – including Liszt and Thalberg. But Czerny produced much more besides teaching aides, including several piano concertos, the first of which receives – incredibly – its premiere recording here. Australian pianist Rosemary Tuck demonstrates the beauty and delicacy of the filagree melodies in the first movement, and the cadenza, written by Tuck and Alan Jones, glints and glitters. Tremolo passages in the compact second movement dance like butterflies. There is thoughtful balance between soloist and ensemble (the English Chamber Orchestra). The third movement sees Tuck tear up and down the keyboard, masterfully managing the scale-like passagework. Throughout, the Beethovenian four-horn orchestration lends a pleasant sense of pastoral pastiche. However, while there is no doubt that this is a very pretty concerto, there’s not much sustenance beneath the frosting. The same might be said of the Variations on Weber’s Hunting Chorus from Euryanthe, which is also recorded here for the first time. The compositional style remains technically brilliant, rather than imaginative. Tuck does her best to put a virtuosic stamp on the fast-moving iterations of the theme, and achieves a degree of success. Happily, Czerny’s more mature Rondo reveals a change of pace: the Chopinesque Introduzione is delightfully luxuriant, while the subsequent dance leaps and twists.