Hardenack Otto Conrad ZINCK (1746-1832)
Sonata in G minor [9:14]
Sonata in Es Dur [12:31]
For Young Pianists - Theme and seven variations in G minor [5:46]
Sonata in G moll [11:28]
Andante and 24 variations [16:37]
Sonata in C dur [18:57]
Thomas Trondhjem (piano)
rec. 2006-2007, Optaget, Det Jyske Musikkonservatorium.
world premiere recordings
CDKLASSISK CDK 1012 [75:29]

This is the first of an intended pair of Danish CDs to present the music of Hardenack Zinck.

Looking at his dates and listening to the music it is hardly astonishing that his music should sound as if he had been impressed by Beethoven. The parallels are not with the Beethoven symphonies or with the ineffable late string quartets. Zinck, the sanguine, Zinck the ebullient, instead writes piano music that echoes the Beethoven works clustered around the First and Second Piano Concertos.

It seems that only the published piano music has survived. The G dur sonata is of a genial disposition exactly as suggested by the engraving of the smiling composer that adorns the back page of the booklet. The initial Allegro Con Brio is exactly what it says - sheer innocent delight. The final Rondo is related to the sunny theme of the first movement. The Sonata in Es dur features a hiccupping hop-skip theme of similarly carefree character. Both the Andante med 24 variationer and The Tema and seven variations have great charm and a sly smile that is far from malevolent. The Sonate in G mol again makes play this time in a more extreme and often fast-rippling form with figuration of jumpy witchery and with a romantic languor in the Adagio con espressione. The Sonate in C dur is the longest and most dramatic of the sonatas represented here. The May morning onrush of this piece meets the shadow of darker emotions and contrasts them with the slow-blooming romantic effusion of the Andante grazioso: here the excellent Trondhjem graces us with the most marvellous pianissimo playing. Zinck's by now characteristic hiccupping figuration and a shading of gentle dissonance irradiates the Presto.

The music is not prolix and gets right down to business. There's forthright integrity here.

The invaluable programme notes are by Thorkild Molle. They are not completely desirable - far too many paragraphs are lavished on technical descriptions of the works to little improving effect.

It is good to see - albeit in very small type - the name of Peter Olufsen associated with this project. Olufsen ran the once seemingly indefatigable ClassicO label which disappeared like a demon through a trap-door five or so years ago. One hopes that the ClassicO catalogue, accrued since 1996, will reappear in some form. It was extensive and full of piqued interest. For it to be rescued from the void and begin to reappear would serve the interests of many.

Zinck's place in the catalogue as a Beethoven vassal and contemporary is now secured by this disc of sanguine and blessedly assured piano music. If you enjoy early Beethoven then this is a wonderful tonic.

Those impressed by Zinck - as well they might be - will need to watch out for the second and final volume of this series.

Rob Barnett

Zinck's place in the catalogue as a Beethoven vassal is now secured quite a tonic.