Compositions: Grand Concerto in E Flat Major, Concertino in C Major, Andante & Rondo, Rondino sur un Thème favori de l’Opéra Le Maçon d’Auber
Performers: Rosemary Tuck p, English Chamber Orchestra/Bonynge
Catalogue Number: Naxos 8573998
Australian pianist Rosemary Tuck and maestro Richard Bonynge continue their exploration of Beethoven pupil Carl Czerny’s music with Czerny’s own ‘Emperor’ Concerto with the English Chamber Orchestra.
Czerny could play his teacher’s entire output from memory and was charged with creating piano transcriptions of Beethoven’s orchestral works, so it’s no surprise that his own concertos – overshadowed by his piano exercises and popular pieces – pay homage to his friend. In fact, Czerny began his Second Grand Concerto in E Flat in 1812, at 21, days after giving the Viennese premiere of Beethoven’s Emperor.
The piece opens with pastoral horn, played sensitively here by Hugh Seenan, who returns for a lyrical melody in the Andante Grazioso. Tuck proves a compelling advocate for Czerny, delivering crisp melodies and glittering figures – Czerny leans to the sparkly side of Beethoven (especially in the Rondo Finale), though there are nonetheless moments of drama.
Tuck pairs the Concerto with the Concertino Czerny dubbed his Op. 197, a charming, sunny work, before closing with a party piece – variations on the Ronde melody from Auber’s opera La Maçon.
While there is an obvious debt to Beethoven, Czerny’s Concerto proves a worthwhile listen, particularly for those interested in Beethoven’s legacy but looking for something new.