When I reviewed Volume 1 of Carl Czerny's Piano sonatas (Nimbus NIM5832), I had nothing but unreserved praise for both Nimbus and pianist Martin Jones, a partnership responsible for bringing back to life the wonderful piano repertoire of a composer who in his heyday was extremely popular, but who since his death in 1857 aged 66 has been largely forgotten. A torchbearer at Beethoven's funeral, he was also the master's pupil, friend and protégé, and together with other composer-friends of Beethoven, notably Ferdinand Ries and Ignaz Moscheles, Czerny was one of those who carried the banner of the late-classical style into the early era of Romanticism, making a distinctive contribution to the development of keyboard playing in an age full of new aspirations and creativity. Despite teaching for as many as ten hours a day, Czerny managed to write over 1,000 works, and although much of this output remains unknown, there is plenty that is worth unearthing, such as the sonatas, which give him a definite claim to fame.
This second volume has some truly monumental pieces, such as the Op. 7 and Op. 730, which amply display the composer's fertile imagination and gift of melody. The programme also includes three miniature pieces, showcasing Czerny's natural ability to delight with a simple yet masterly palette. As in the first issue Martin Jones interprets this virtuosic music with fiery brilliance and his sublime dexterity on the instrument shines forth with constant radiance. Notes and sonics are first-rate. I'm looking forward to the next helping.
Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech.