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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Carl Czerny, Organ Music, Iain Quinn

One of the most prolific composers of his era, Carl Czerny (1791-1857) is best remembered today as the author of seminal piano technique exercises. Anyone trained in classical piano has encountered them. Yet there is remains a great deal of music of his that has hung in a cloud of obscurity since his death. It certainly bears our consideration.

The man who was a student of Beethoven and a teacher of Liszt composed a bit of Organ Music (Naxos 8.573425) and we get to hear some of it, well performed by Iain Quinn, on a new Naxos release. Not surprisingly his 1838 "Prelude and Fugue in A minor, Op. 607" has a definite Bach inspiration. It is well constructed and worthwhile.

The remaining pieces were composed in 1841 for the English marketplace, at least partially. We get 32 varied miniatures in all, some contrapuntally oriented, others through composed. They comprise the bulk of this CD. "Twenty Short Voluntaries for Organ with Obbligado Pedal, Op. 698" and "Twelve Introductory or Intermediate Voluntaries, Op. 627" clock in at well more than an hour of listening time. Some have triumphant grandeur, others are more in the meditative realm. All show the craftsmanship, some the touch of inspiration, of a sure hand.

Listen to how he interweaves the theme from "God Bless the Queen" into his music for example. It is but an instance of his accomplished, inventive ways. A close listen reveals a good deal more to appreciate.

For the organ aficionado and/or those seeking to know more of the compositional side of Czerny this is an offering that will keep your ears busy and provide much of substance.

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