Rosemary Tuck delivers grand performance of Czerny concerto

This is the second Czerny recording by Rosemary Tuck, Richard Bonynge, and the ESO. That release featured the Grand Concerto in A minor. This one has Czerny’s Second Grand Concerto, and it’s equally grand.

Czerny studied with Beethoven and premiered two of his piano concertos as soloist. Czerny’s Second Grand Concerto was started weeks after he premiered Beethoven’s “Emperor” concerto. Both are in E-flat major, and both are over 40 minutes long.

Although this is a big work, it isn’t too big. Czerny’s in full command of his material. His themes are big, his pianistic gestures are big, and the development of his materials is expansive. Yet it’s always easy to hear the connections between sections. And the overall structure of each movement is readily discernable.

Czerny was a prodigious pianist, and he didn’t hold back in this score. There are cascading figures, keyboard-spanning arpeggios, and lightning-fast passages that require a high level of skill just to manage. Rosemary Tuck handles the task ably. Her touch is light and sure, the notes flying by in a shimmering stream of music.

She also brings out the underlying character of the music. We hear the grandness of the opening movement; the gentle reflection of the second, and the good-humored friskiness of the finale.

Also included is the 1829 Concertino in C major. As the name suggests, it’s a lighter work, and Tuck plays it with a breezy light-heartedness. The Rondino on a favorite theme from Auber’s “The Mason,” has plenty of technical challenges. But at its heart, it’s a song. And that’s how Tuck performs it, bringing out the lyrical nature of even the most embellished variations.

The English Chamber Orchestra directed by Richard Bonynge is in fine form. They have a very big ensemble sound for the Grand Concerto and quite an intimate one for the Rondonino. Well-written music well-performed.

Carl Czerny: Second Grand Concerto in E-flat major
Concertino in C major, Op. 210/213; Rondino sur un Théme favori de l’Opéra “Le maçon”
Rosemary Tuck, piano
English Chamber Orchestra; Richard Bonynge, conductor
Naxos 8.573998

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