Carl Czerny: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1

Carl Czerny: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1

by Martin Jones


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Carl Czerny: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 1

Martin Jones is known for recording the complete piano works of composers, however, Carl Czerny is one composer that it might take a pianist decades to find, let alone record, all of his works for the instrument. Jones has undertaken Czerny's 11 sonatas in this series for Nimbus, with a few smaller pieces to fill out each volume. Czerny categorized his hundreds of piano pieces into serious works, brilliant pieces for concerts, easy pieces for students, and exercises. It is the latter for which he is remembered today, particularly the "School of Velocity, Op. 299." This series should change that view and show that Czerny was not only a personal link between Beethoven (his teacher) and Liszt (his student), but also a compositional and stylistic link between the two. Jones starts squarely in the middle of the 11 with four "sonatas" that are hardly traditional in terms of their form. Nos. 8 and 9 were published as "Grandes Fantasies en forme de Sonate," and while their heroic sound is suggestive of Beethoven's music, it also brings to mind Schubert's "Wanderer Fantasy." The "Sonata No. 5, Op. 76," does not even have a single movement in the sonata-allegro form. These are at once expansions on Beethoven's four-movement form and a foreshadowing of Liszt's own break with traditional: his single-movement, multi-sectioned "B minor Sonata." Liszt's virtuosity is also evoked in the flashier and more dramatic moments of Czerny's Allegros and Prestos. It makes you wonder just what more Czerny put into his "brilliant" pieces for concerts if these are some of his "serious" works. These sonatas also demonstrate that Czerny was well educated in music history and theory. The fugue finale of "Sonata No. 9" and the chorale variations in "Sonata No. 6" refer to forms of the Baroque. The scherzo of "No. 8" is like a Rossini tidbit, and that of "Sonata No. 5" is like a Schubert dance. The "Nocturne, Op. 647," that fills out disc 1, is dated much later than the sonatas, but its somewhat dense texture relates it more to the sonatas than to a Chopin nocturne even though it's obviously Czerny's attempt at something more lyrical and gracefully ornamented. With this first volume, Jones easily presents Czerny as much more well-rounded and important composer than anyone who's struggled with his etudes might ever suspect.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/10/2009
Label: Nimbus Records
UPC: 0710357583223
catalogNumber: 5832
Rank: 168692


  1. Piano Sonata No. 9 in B minor, Op. 145
  2. Piano Sonata No. 8 in E flat major, Op. 144
  3. Nocturne for piano in E flat major, Op. 647
  4. Piano Sonata No. 5 in E major, Op. 76
  5. Piano Sonata No. 6 in D minor, Op. 124

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