Notes and Editorial Reviews
A delightful disc. Tal and Groethuysen play with passion and complete unanimity, and their sure-fingered techniques suggest the "velocity exercises" are well behind them.
Of all the composers whose names are far better known than their music, Czerny must be the most famous. Czerny? Oh yes, he was the chap who wrote those 'velocity exercises', the medicine pianists must take if they are to get better. True, but that wasn't all, his opus numbers leave little change out of 850! So why the neglect? Maybe there are two reasons. First, as a pupil of Beethoven, a teacher of Liszt and a contemporary of Schubert, he was born at the wrong time, surrounded by compositional giants. Second, it was his large output of
didactic works and his eminence as a teacher that shaped his image, and his emphasis on technical brilliance was not always helpful to the balance of his music. I can see that, but it's hard to believe he wrote virtually nothing that is worth hearing! No, it's not that, it's probably that his academic image has been so strong that his music has simply been overlooked—if you try this record you'll see what I mean.
Despite his success Czerny was a tortured depressive and it reflects in his music; abrupt and extreme changes of mood, with correspondingly sudden changes of pace, volume and touch, and high-tension cascades of notes lie in wait for the tandem-pianists in the works on this recording. Echoes of Beethoven and Schubert rub shoulders with pre-echoes of Liszt. Czemy was not a great composer but he was a fluent one and, though you may be excused for thinking that he might have been wise to prune some of his lengthy utterances and to abate the firework displays, he often touches the heart-strings.
Yaara Tal and Andreas Groethuysen are new names to me (and to the catalogue) and the insert booklet offers only two photographs as enlightenment; what does seem clear is that this first recording is unlikely to be their last. They play with passion and complete unanimity, and their sure-fingered techniques suggest the 'velocity exercises' as being among those things that are well behind them. The piano itself is not of the kind Czerny would have used, but it has an appropriately clear sound—crystalline cantabile and fortes that are strong but not thunderous. The recording copes well with the wide dynamic range of the music. A delightful disc, to be sure.
-- John Duarte, Gramophone
Works on This Recording
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