During the year 1812 Carl Czerny gave the Viennese première of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. Just ten days later he sat down to begin composing a grand E Flat Major Concerto of his own.

Rosemary Tuck and Richard Bonynge Rosemary Tuck and Richard Bonynge at Australia House, London

A monumental work, it promised much to come in the future of the young composer – then only 21 years old. The sheer scale of the work and taxing demands on the soloist push the boundaries towards the romantic concerto further and beyond his great friend and mentor.

Czerny was Beethoven’s favourite pupil, and their continuing friendship and mutual admiration was sealed when the young composer read at sight Beethoven’s Waldstein at the home of his patron, Moritz von Lichnowsky. As Czerny recalled in his reminiscences “From that time on Beethoven remained favourably inclined towards me and treated me in a friendly way up to his last days.”

It was only through searching for piano duets on operatic themes that I started to look at Czerny in a different light. Along with many of my colleagues, Czerny for me at that stage still meant endless pages of studies and...

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