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Czerny Nocturnes

Isabella Oemichen

Hortus 074

A disc of orchestral music has recently reminded us that Carl Czerny "is not just a composer of instructional scores for the piano student" and this one of his Opp 368, 604 and 647 makes clear how indebted to Czerny was Chopin in his Nocturnes.

There is some prejudice against composers who seem to be indecently prolific which can militate against a rounded appreciation of their legacies (q.v. Martinu, Milhaud, Henze and Howard Blake for a few; I find daunting Blake's Opp 415 & 577 received for review!).

I have enjoyed listening to a few of these Nocturnes, which could find a welcome place in a mixed piano recital (as could a few of Field's) but it is disappointing that Isabella Oemichen has opted for a normal modern Steinway. The disc is a well researched labour of love and she has meticulously observed his manifold extravagant with sudden dynamic changes and dramatic tempo fluctuations.

The way is clear for a representative CD of mixed Czerny repertoire on an instrument of the period. My interest in this composer, previously relegated to pedagogic hours of youthful piano practice, was fired by the inclusion of his La Ricordanza, Op. 33 & Nine Waltzes from "Les Etrennes" in a memorable recital by fortepianist Li-Chun Su.

Pending a Czerny disc from Li-Chun Su, Isabella Oemichen's can be recommended to piano students with a penchant for the Romantic.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also M P's enthusiastic welcome for Czerny Sonatas (Nimbus)