I am certainly not at the point where I can truly judge a performance of a work by the standards of professional musicians like these, and it is especially hard when I am unfamiliar with the work.
But I like this. I feel like this CD – and another by Kuerti of straight-up piano sonatas and variations, which I didn’t review because it isn’t yet on RYM – speaks to me: it says I should pay more attention to composers who aren’t always considered canonical.
The Grand Sonata is a very pleasant early Romantic piece which, to my ears, is perhaps too beholden to the classical era at times but, which, on the whole, still manages to sound Romantic enough to me. It’s one of those classic piano-violin duets from the era that could be used as music for a period film. Certainly nothing that is going to bowl you over, but worthwhile all the same. If I had to guess whether this was written in 1807 (as CBC claims) or 1842 (the year of the publication of a Grand Sonata), my guess would be 1807.
The variations are a good set. I haven’t listened to a set of Romantic variations in some time, as I write this, so I cannot say off-hand how they compare to others of their ilk, but I like these a fair amount. They do sound a little traditional but they are early Romantic so the traditional sound isn’t that shocking. There is certainly more passion in them than some other sets of variations like this.
Carl Czerny was hardly revolutionary (at least to my ear) but his music is certainly interesting and pleasant at the same time, which is really all I want out of early romantic stuff like this.
World Premiere Recording
- Op. 1, Variations Concertantes pour Pianoforte et Violon sur un thème de Jean-Baptiste Krumpholz,
- Op. 686, Grande sonate pour piano et violon (pub. 1842) (Breitkopf & Härtel no. 6676, their publication may be of later date.) [There is some debate as to whether or not the piece performed here is the exact same as the 1842 Grand Sonata.]
- Anton Kuerti: Piano
- Erika Raum: Violin