Rosemary Tuck, English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge – Czerny: Bel Canto Concertante (2015) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Rosemary Tuck, English Chamber Orchestra, Richard Bonynge – Czerny: Bel Canto Concertante (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:09:01 minutes | 1,17 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Naxos

This album of world premieres is the first volume in a series of Carl Czerny’s works for piano and orchestra starring Australian pianist Rosemary Tuck. She is accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra under conductor Richard Bonynge on this programme, inspired by the most famous and attractive themes from Bel Canto operas which were hugely popular in their time and are still performed today. The sets of variations as performed here give full rein to the soloist and are a major contribution to the great pianist composer tradition.

Carl Czerny’s music, after more than a century of neglect, is enjoying a mild revival, and this release marks the beginning of a series of Czerny piano-and-orchestra recordings from Naxos, the completist’s abundant playground. The album explores what is indeed one of the most frequent genres in Czerny’s output, the set of variations on famous operatic airs of the day. Once listeners hear the Introduction, Variations, et Presto Finale sur un Thème favori de l’Opéra Norma de Bellini, Op. 281, they’ll pretty much have absorbed Czerny’s bag of tricks: a two- or three-part structure, with bits of contrast and periodic quasi-sonata moves or other Beethovenian gestures thrown in (the final Introduction and Variations Brillantes sur le Marche favori de l’Opéra Gli Arabi nelle Gallie de Pacini, Op. 234s), and, most of all, lots of brilliant writing in the piano’s top register. This last is ill-served by Naxos’ church engineering here; the piano’s high notes are lost, and the otherwise able English Chamber Orchestra is somehow made to sound both harsh and hollow. Yet there is material here that enables one to hear why Czerny was well-loved until Schumann came along, blew him out of the water, and delivered the withering judgment that it would be hard to imagine a failure of imagination greater than Czerny’s. The Op. 234 variations borrow convincingly from Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73, a work Czerny premiered, without just aping it, and the vigorous and lengthy Polacca section in the Introduction, Variations, et Polacca dans le style brillant sur la Cavatine favorite “Tu vedrai la sventurata” chantée par M. Rubini dans l’Opéra Il Pirata de Bellini, Op. 160, contains the seeds of the later Romantics’ preoccupation with Eastern Europe. Pianist Rosemary Tuck is a precise technician, perhaps an ideal inheritor of the “school of velocity” Czerny founded. Of greater interest to Czerny specialists than to general listeners.


01 – Introduction, variations et presto finale sur un thème favori de “Norma” de Bellini, Op. 281
02 – Grandes variations di bravura sur 2 motifs favoris de “Fra Diavolo” de D.F.E. Auber, Op. 232
03 – Introduction, variations et polonaise sur “Tu vedrai la sventurata” dans “Il pirata” de Bellini, Op. 160
04 – Introduction et variations brillantes sur le marche de “Gli arabi nelle Gallie” de Pacini, Op. 234

Produced and Engineered by Phil Rowlands.
Recorded on December 17-19, 2013 at St. Silas Church, Kentish Town, London.

Rosemary Tuck – piano
English Chamber Orchestra
Richard Bonynge – Conductor