Review by: Jed Distler
Artistic Quality: 9
Sound Quality: 9
Carl Czerny’s reputation as an industrious creator of piano exercises overshadows his equally prolific compositional output, including these previously unrecorded epic-length piano duet fantasies inspired by Sir Walter Scott’s novels. They respectively draw inspiration from the novels Waverley, Guy Mannering, Ivanhoe, and Rob Roy.
Although Czerny utilizes Scottish folk songs and dances for much of his basic material (such as the so-called “Scottish Snap” dotted rhythm), the tuneful appeal and technical fluency of his keyboard writing is more in line with Weber and Schubert. Of the four works, Rob Roy contains the darkest and most dramatic writing, while Guy Mannering’s exuberance and full-bodied textures evoke more of an orchestra than a piano in a salon.
To be sure, Czerny’s loose-limbed sense of form doesn’t wear well if you attempt to listen to all four fantasies in succession; better to absorb them one at a time. The Wang/Gingher duo infuses these works with finely-honed ensemble values, expert pacing, and tasteful virtuosic élan. Gingher’s informative booklet notes and Naxos’ fine sonics add further value to a release that all piano duet fans should investigate.
Buy Now from Arkiv Music
Recording Details:Reference Recording: This one
- CZERNY, CARL:Romantic Piano Fantasies on Sir Walter Scott’s Novels Op. 240-43
- Pei-I Wang & Samuel Gingher (piano duet)
- Naxos - 8 579099