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CD Review

Carl Czerny

Complete Piano Sonatas, Volume 1

  • Piano Sonata #5 in E Major, Op. 76
  • Piano Sonata #6 in D minor, Op. 124
  • Piano Sonata #8 in E Flat Major, Op. 144
  • Piano Sonata #9 in B minor, Op. 145
  • Nocturne in E Flat Major, Op. 647
Martin Jones, piano
Nimbus NI5832/33 2CDs 151m DDD
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With this first issue dedicated to the complete piano sonatas by Carl Czerny (1791-1857), Nimbus has initiated another project which will undoubtedly prove to be of inestimable value and immense interest. Beethoven's pupil, friend and protégé, Czerny was also a torchbearer at the master's funeral. He began teaching at the tender age of 15 and all throughout his life, he always found time to share his knowledge with others.

His output is prodigious, over 1000 pieces, and apart from all this creative energy he also found the time to perform. But despite these gigantic achievements his music remains sadly unknown and during the last 150 years, only a handful of so-called educational pieces have remained in the repertoire. Still, there is an abundance of music which is well worth investigating and as a virtuoso pianist. His substantial piano works, particularly the sonatas, give him a natural right to fame.

Listening to the programme on this double-album induced me to wonder how on earth such lovely music was consigned to almost complete oblivion. It is imbued with several qualities notably passion; drama, humour, joy, sadness and even moments of doubt and resignation. And all this humanity is framed by a mesmerizing virtuosity and richness of melody which is nothing short of revelatory.

Martin Jones' interpretations are thrilling and full of impressive "bravura" and which do true justice to Czerny's imaginative powers. Technically he is awesome and one is never in doubt as to his love of these works. The notes by Calum MacDonald are also a labour of love and make for essential reading. One looks forward to what is expected to be quite a memorable series.

Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech