Czerny isn’t remembered in history with as much prestige as Mozart and Beethoven, but his works have just as much to say.
While the weighty strings which open the Grand Nocturne Brilliant, Op. 95 sound reminiscent of Mozart’s Requiem, the work is quick to form its own identity. Remarkably balanced winds and strings give way to the main feature: Tuck. At once, she is romantic, aggressive and pronounced; her melodies don’t flow smoothly, but this sheds light on her precision and accuracy (and the clear recording).
The title concerto is next, off to a modest start. The work and its interpretation are as predictable as we’ve grown to expect (largely thanks to Mozart, who Czerny was performing at nine years old). But Czerny’s concertos offer similar pleasures and complexities – without the ego. This honours the pianist’s virtuosity but pays respect to the form, which relies on other instrumentalists. Thankfully, this collection of musicians under Richard Bonynge is remarkable.
Finally we come to the Variations de Concert de l’Opéra Le Siège de Corinthe, Op. 138. The disjointed opening takes a good 30 seconds to find its way into a building melody. A couple of minutes in, the horns interject with a fanfare that could signal the end, but it journeys along in good humour. It’s a world premiere recording – and I don’t imagine we’ll hear better.