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Carl CZERNY (1791 – 1857)
Music for Flute and Piano
Trois Rondeaux faciles et brillans, concertans sur les motifs favoris de Rossini et Bellini, Op. 374 [23:37]
Introduzione, Variazioni e Finale in C major, Op. 80 [17:56]
Rondoletto concertant in F major, Op. 149 [10:04]
Duo concertante in G major, Op. 129 [26:26]
Kazunori Seo (flute), Makoto Ueno (piano)
rec. 2014, Grand Auditorium, Mie Centre for the Arts, Tsu, Mie Prefecture, Japan
NAXOS 8.573335 [78:20]

Carl Czerny was one of those child prodigies that music history has seen with so many – many of them quickly vanishing into oblivion once they grew up. Czerny's name is still fairly well-known for several reasons: he became Beethoven’s pupil when he was ten and performed many of the master’s works. He became a highly respected teacher — his most famous pupil was Franz Liszt — and he wrote copious quantities of music. His piano etudes have been plodded through by several generations of piano students, but he also composed choral music, symphonies, concertos, songs, string quartets and other chamber music, most of which was never published. His opus list encompasses 861 numbers. Today it is possible to get a fairly good overview of his oeuvre through recordings, including several symphonies.

The music for flute and piano confirms the view that he wasn’t a particularly remarkable composer. While he may have been no barnstormer he was certainly skilled and inventive and wrote good melodies. In the Trois rondeaux from 1836 he culled themes from popular operas of the day and made variations on them. The first piece has as its main theme Elvino’s aria from act II of Bellini’s La sonnambula and the following two borrow from Rossini and then again from Bellini. Everything is elegant and fluent but the accompaniments sometimes tend to be rather monotonous. This is not very deep music but it is highly entertaining and in the last of the pieces the flautist has rich opportunities to showcase his considerable technical prowess. A truly charming divertimento.

The somewhat earlier Introduzione, Variazioni e Finale in C major, Op. 80 from 1825 is more serious and partly dramatic work – but no less virtuosic. There are seven variations and the sixth of them is in a minor key, where one can feel a more personal, more contemplative touch. This impression is dispersed by the seventh – again overtly dramatic – and then, after a kind of cadenza comes a brilliant finale. A tour de force for both musicians.

The Rondoletto (1827) is more light-hearted and the virtuoso element is again much to the fore. The Duo concertante in G major Op. 129 was published in 1827 in Vienna by Diabelli. It is a four-movement work on a rather grand scale with an opening sonata movement that is by far the longest. The short scherzo, charming and playful, has hardly begun before it is over. The andantino is quite forward-moving and less of a contrast than one could expect. The main theme of the rondo finale is jolly and jaunty. This atmosphere is preserved throughout the movement and brings the composition to a sparkling end.

I am full of admiration for the superb playing of both musicians and the excellent recording makes this a strongly recommendable disc for all lovers of flute music.

Göran Forsling


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