Carl Czerny Piano Trios Brilliantly Entertaining

Five piano trio receive their world recording premiers with this release. In a sense, it’s not that big a deal. Carl Czerny wrote over 1,000 works, over 800 of them published. There are still many, many Czerny works awaiting their first recording.

The trios presented here are certainly worthy of attention. The 1830 Deux Trios brillans pour pianoforte, violon et violoncelle, Op. 211 are light-hearted works. Both are in major keys, and both exude charming melodies.

Czerny was a concert pianist, and he gives the player lots to do. But he also balances the piano with the strings, making these true collaborations between the three instruments.

That’s not the case with the Op. 104 Piano Trios. The title explains why: Trois Sonatines faciles et brillantes pour le pianoforte seul avec accomp. d’un violon et violoncelle ad libitum à l’usage des élèves avancés (Three Easy and Brilliant Sonatinas for pianoforte solo with violin and cello accompaniment ad limitum for advanced students).

Here the piano is the star, with the strings playing supporting parts. They’re still quite charming. Czerny, even as a pedagogue, wrote interesting and engaging music. And these works were meant for performance, so there’s plenty for the listener to engage with.

Pianist Samuel Gingher plays with a sure, yet delicate touch. His lightness keeps the piano in balance with the strings, even in the Op. 104 works.  For their parts, violinist Sun-Young Gemma Shin and cellist Benjamin Hayek dig into their instruments.

The full, rounded sound of their strings shore up the balance from the other side.

Are these work on par with the Beethoven Piano Trios? No. But that was never the point. Taken on their own merits Czerny’s trios can beguile and delight. And that’s fine with me.

Carl Czerny: Piano Trios
Deux Trios brillante; Trois Sonatines faciles et brillantes
Sun-Young Shin, violin; Benjamin, Hayek, cello; Samuel Gingher, piano
World Premiere Recordings
Naxos 8.573838

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