Monday, January 31, 2022

Lena Neudauer performs Rosetti with fire and elegance

This release presents three of the nine violin concertos of Antonio Rosetti. Rosetti was a contemporary of Haydn and Mozart. 

And in his day, considered their equal -- if not better -- in popularity. Over half of his 400 works were printed during his lifetime and sold quite well. 

Rosetti is also credited with improving the concerto form. He updated it from Baroque models. And his concertos became the model for others.

The three concertos on this release date from around 1783-1790. To the casual listener, they can resemble those of Mozart and Haydn. But there are differences. 

Rosetti tended to write very expansive first movements. He gave the orchestra plenty to do before the soloist took over. 

Also, he experimented with the role of the soloist. In the Violin Concerto in D major, C7:iii;7, the second movement plays against expectations. The solo violin comments on the orchestra's melodies, rather than taking the lead. 

Lena Neudauer gives some impressive performances. This world-class artist has technique to spare. She plays Rosetti's most difficult passages with effortless fluidity. And her phrasing is impeccable. 

Rosetti is a Classical Era composer. Elegant balance is the aesthetic, and Neudauer delivers. Her playing has energy and fire,  tempered with refinement and a light touch. 

These are fine compositions given engaging performances. Two great reasons for me to recommend this release.

Antonio Rosetti: Three Violin Concertos
Lena Neudauer, violin
Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim; Johannes Moesus, conductor

Friday, January 28, 2022

#ClassicsaDay #Classical1922 Week 4

For January 2022 the Classics a Day Team decided to go back a century. The challenge this month is to post classical works associated with the year 1922. It can be a composition that was completed,  published, or premiered that year. It can even be a work recorded for the first time in 1922. 

It turns out that 1922 was quite an eventful year! Here are my posts for the fourth and final week of #ClassicsaDay #Classical1922.

01/24/22 William Walton – Façade

The original version, premiered in 1922 featured Edith Sitwell's verses recited with orchestral accompaniment. These arrangements were turned into orchestral suites, used for the 1931 ballet (without the poems). Walton's 1977 Façade Revived feature poems not included in the original 1922 version.

01/25/22 Francis Poulenc - Sonata for Horn, Trumpet, and Trombone

This 1922 composition was dedicated to his close friend, author and playwright Raymonde Linossier. He was devistated when she died suddenly in 1930 and could not compose for almost a year.

01/26/22 Manuel Infante – Sevillana "Impresiones de fiesta en Sevilla"

Infante was born in Spain but moved to France when he was 26. He completed this work in February 1922. It's dedicated to José Iturbi, who was a champion of Infante's music.

01/27/22 Ottorino Respighi – La bella dormente nel bosco

Respighi's opera "The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods" was premiered in April 1922. The performance was given with marionettes, accompanied by singers and an orchestra. It was revised and staged as a regular opera in 11934.

01/28/22 Paul Hindemith – Suite 1922, Op. 26

This suite, completed in 1922, features several popular dances. Or rather, pastiches of them.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Grand Old Country on WTJU

Wednesday, February 9, 2022, I'll be taking a trip back in time on WTJU. For the Folk Marathon on-air fund drive, I'm hosting a very special program -- Grand Old Country. The show is based around a Reader's Digest Grand Old Country record set from my parent's home. 

Music for the casual listener

Reader's Digest record collections were extremely popular in the 1950s and 60s. For many middle- and lower-middle-class families, they offered a way to obtain instant culture. 

Grand Old Country does just that. This isn't a set for country music fans. Those folks already owned the albums and singles of their favorite artists. Rather, Grand Old Country is a sampler for the casual listener. It's an instant collection of about a decade of country top 40 hits. 

A great place to start

When I unearthed this collection at my dad's house, I was dismissive. Reader's Digest was the very definition of mainstream kitsch. How good could this collection possibly be?

As it turns out, very good. The set was compiled by Columbia Special Products and features original artists and recordings. It's a virtual snapshot of country music ca. 1970. 

And it's not just only the biggest hits. And there are liner notes for each track, helping the newcomer place each song and artist in context.

Something for everyone

The music on the eight LPs is organized by theme. The major mainstream country genres are represented, from countrypolitan to bluegrass, There's an entire side devoted to the Cash and Carter families. 

Country royalty like George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich, Mel Tillis, and Dolly are well-represented. 

Early breakthrough artists are also included. The set has music by Johnny Horton, Marty Robbins, and Gene Autry.

Johnny Paycheck has two tracks, neither of them "Take This Job (and Shove It)." That song, which was to be his biggest hit, was still seven years in the future. 

The set also has country crossover artists, such as Lynn Anderson, Mac Davis, Roger Miller, and Charlie Rich.

Way-back Wednesday

Hope you'll join me Wednesday, February 9 from 7-9 am. At my first radio gig in the 1980s, I ran a board with three turntables. I'll be dusting off those skills for this show! There's a lot of great music in these platters, and we'll be sharing as much as we can.

Grand Old Country
Wednesday, February 9, 2022
7:00 am - 9:00 am
WTJU 91.1fm /

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Arthur Farwell - Listen, then Judge

The notes on the page don't change. But our perception and reception of them can over time. This is why the release names Arthur Farwell "America's Neglected Composer."

Farwell was passionate about developing an authentic American school of classical music. And he believed native American music to be an important part of that school. Farwell was a major proponent of the Indianist movement. 

"Indianist" composers incorporated native American tunes into their compositions. The results were mixed. Many composers only wrote a few Indianist pieces. The movement fizzled out shortly after the First World War.

Most of the composers who dabbled in the Indianist style had no direct contact with Native American culture. They started with the cliches that became music cues for countless movie westerns.

At the time, using Native American music was considered a novelty. Today, it's considered cultural appropriation. Which makes Farwell's case problematic. The dictionary defines cultural appropriation as: "adopting elements of a minority group in an exploitative, disprespectful, or stereotypical way."  

To me, Farwell's music doesn't fit that definition. Farwell visited and hunted with Native Americans in Michigan. He collected Native American songs and chants in the Southwest. He knew and understood first-hand the cultural significance of the music he was using. 

Farwell's goal wasn't to create authentic transcriptions, though. Rather, it was to use the music in his own creative work. For Farwell, it was like Dvorak using Czech folk music in his compositions. 

This release provides a good introduction to Farwell's Indianist works. And lets the listener make their own judgment on their merits.

One of the largest works on the album is the string quartet "The Hako." it seamlessly blends the Native American elements with Farwell's Romantic style. 

Farwell's vocal works also use Native American singing techniques. And they combine and transform the traditional forms Farwell uses.  To my ears these works have a contemporary edge, almost Bartokian in dissonance. 

Is Farwell guilty of a concept that arouse seventy years after his death? I don't think so. That's not what I heard in this music. My recommendation -- listen first, then decide. But do listen.

Arthur Farwell: America's Neglected Composer
Songs, choral, and piano works
William Sharp, baritone; Emanuele Arciuli, piano
Dakota String Quartet

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Leila Schayegh completes LeClair violin concerto series

This completes Leila Schayegh's traversal of Jean-Marie Leclair concertos. This release completes the set of Op. 7 and Op. 10 violin concertos. 

LeClair was one of the premier violinists of the early 1700s. He's credited with founding the French school of violin-playing. 

Bottom line: LeClair was a monster player -- and he expected anyone performing his concertos to be the same! As with the other two volumes, Leila Schayegh rises to the challenge. 

She plays with a beautiful tone throughout. Her execution of harmonics is particularly fine. Schayegh has the dexterity -- and accuracy -- LeClair's music demands. 

These concertos are full of Leclair's technical innovation. But Schayegh keeps them in perspective. The goal of Schayegh and La Cetra Barockorchester is to make music. The technical fireworks are kept subordinate to the arc of the melody.

I really like the performances captured in this series. There are other versions of this material available. But these recordings are the ones that most appeal to me. 

Jean-Marie Leclair: Concerti per Violino, Vol. 3
Opp. 7 & 10 - Nos. 4 & 5
Leila Schayegh, violin
La Cetra Barockorchester

Monday, January 24, 2022

Franz Dimler Clarinet Concertos close to Mozart

Franz Anton Dimler was a talented guy. He was hired as a French horn player at Mannheim in 1767. In 1778 he joined the Munich court as a double bass player. 

And all the while he composed: symphonies, concertos, quartets, and operettas. After his death in 1827, Dimler's music lapsed into obscurity. 

So I'm happy to see releases such as this. Nikolaus Friedrich performs three of Dimler's four clarinet concertos. These works were written in the 1790s when the clarinet was a new addition to the orchestra. 

The concertos are contemporaneous with Mozart's Clarinet Concerto. Which leads to some interesting comparisons. 

Like Mozart, Dimler composed for a specific soloist. Both composers wrote idiomatically for the instrument. But somehow, Dimler demands a little more technical skill from the soloist. 

Nikolaus Friedrich performs well. His playing is light and dexterous. His tone is warm throughout and nicely rounded in the upper register. Friedrich's phrasing brings out Dimler's tunefulness. 

Johannes Willg and the Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester provide fine support for Friedrich. Dimler's music should be light, and the ensemble keeps it so. If you enjoy Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and wanted more, give this release a listen. Dimler runs a very close second.

Franz Anton Dimler: Three Clarinet Concertos
Nikolaus Friedrich, clarinet
Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim; Johannes Willg, conductor
CPO 555 209–2

Friday, January 21, 2022

#ClassicsaDay #Classical1922 Week 3

For January, 2022 the Classics a Day Team decided to go back a century. The challenge this month is to post classical works associated with the year 1922. It can be a composition that was completed,  published, or premiered that year. It can even be a work recorded for the first time in 1922. 

It turns out that 1922 was quite an eventful year! Here are my posts for the third week of #ClassicsaDay #Classical1922.

01/17/22 Hamilton Harty – Piano Concerto

Harty composed this work while he was permanent conductor of the Hallé Orchestra (1920-1933). Harty was also a pianist, and would often perform as a concerto soloist.

01/18/22 Jean Cras – Polyphème

Cras wrote this opera in 1914, while serving in the French navy during World War I. It's based on Albert Samain's poem, which reinteprets the Greek myth of Polythemus. When it premiered in 1922, Jean Cras became a celebrity.

01/19/22 Jules Massenet – Amadis

Massenet died in 1912. "Amadis" was premiered ten years later, in April of 1922. It was one of three of Massenet's operas to be performed posthumosly.

01/20/22 Dmitri Shostakovich - Suite to Two Pianos in F-sharp Minor Op. 6

The was composed in 1922, the same year as his Theme and Variations in B-flat major for orchestra, Op. 3, Three Fantastic Dances, Op. 5, and Two Fables of Krylov for mezzo-soprano, Op. 4. Shostakovich was 16.

0/21/22 Alexander Zemlinsky – Der Zwerg, Op. 17

This one-act opera was premiered in May of 1922. Zemlinsky composed it after his relationship with Alma Mahler ended. He identified with the hero, a dwarf, who dies after his love is rejected.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Michael Gielen's Zemlinsky recording a welcome reissue


This is a rerelease of a 1989 recording. it's the fourth in a series of reissues of Michael Gielen and the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. 

Gielen was an ardent champion of contemporary music. His attention to detail was legendary -- and it's an asset in this release. 

The featured work is Alexander Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony. According to the liner notes, it's "generally regarded as his equivalent to Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde." 

Well, maybe. "Das Lied von der Erde" premiered in 1911, the year Zemlinsky composed his symphony. 

They're both large, sprawling works. But there's a different aesthetic at play with Zemlinsky. Gielen, who recorded a cycle of Mahler symphonies, understands that difference. He goes big with the emotion, letting loose the overripe Romanticism of Zemlinsky's score. It's Fin de siècle Vienna expressed in sound.

And makes for a thrilling performance. The soloists sing with heartfelt expression. Gielen leads the orchestra in grand, dramatic sweeps. 

This is a reissue from the 1980s. The sound is good, and there's a fair amount of detail. but it is a little soft-focussed compared to contemporary recordings. But this release isn't about the sound, it's about the performances. If you're like me, any quibbles about the sound quality will disappear once the music starts.

Alexander Zemlinsky: Lyric Symphony, Op. 19
Franz Schreker: Vorspiel zu einen Drama
Karan Armstrong, soprano; Roland Hermann, baritone
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Michael Gielen, conductor
Orfeo C210241

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Collected Works of Beth Mehocic Rocks

This release presents a portrait of Beth Mehocic, a composer with a clear vision. The recordings come from a variety of sources, performed by various artists.

Her official bio describes her as "a composer, poet, visual artist, filmmaker, and author." She's the composer-in-residence for the University of Nevada's Dance Department. 

Her affinity for dance defines her style. The works here all have a strong sense of rhythm. And they're mostly episodic in their organization.

This is most apparent in two of the works. "Piece by Piece" was written for Erick Hawkins Dance Company. "Left of Winter" was composed for the University of Nevada's Dance Department.

 In both cases, the music flows from one scene to the next. And in both cases, they form a cohesive whole

The earliest work featured is Mehocic's 1974 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra. She composed it at age 21, and revised it in 2016. To my ears, it flirts with Romanticism, while still maintaining a contemporary edge.

The soloist for that recording is Charlene Farrugia. Her husband is accordionist Franko Bozac. Conversations with Mehocic after the recording led to her composing a work for both of them. 

The Tango Concerto is for piano, accordion, bandoneon, and orchestra.  Both Farrugia and Bozac appear as soloists. To me, this is a much more successful work. 

Perhaps it's because the work's based on dance. Plus I found it a refreshing alternative to Astor Piazzola's music for the bandoneon.

The performances are all quite good -- especially Farrugia and Bozac's. Mehocic's compositions are music in motion. And I was glad to go along for the ride.

Beth Mehocic: Collected Works
Moravian Philharmonic Chamber Players: Stanislav Vavinek, conductor
Trio Casals; Altus Quartet
Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra; Jiri Petrdik, conductor
Charlene Farrugia, piano; Franko Bozac, accordion & bandoneon
Zagreb Festival Orchestra; Ivan Josip Skender, conductor
Navona NV6410

Friday, January 14, 2022

#ClassicsaDay #Classical1922 Week 2

For January, 2022 the Classics a Day Team decided to go back a century. The challenge this month is to post classical works associated with the year 1922. It can be a composition that was completed,  published, or premiered that year. It can even be a work recorded for the first time in 1922. 

It turns out that 1922 was quite an eventful year! Here are my posts for the second week of #ClassicsaDay #Classical1922.

01/10/22 Arnold Bax – Symphony No. 1

Most of Bax's first symphony was recycled from a previous piano sonata. The work was completed in 1922, and dedicated to John Ireland.

01/11/22 Rebecca Clarke - The Seal Man

Clarke dedicated this artsong to baritone John Goss. He premiered many of her songs in the 1920s and 1930s.

01/12/22 Gerald Finzi – By Footpath and Stile, Op. 2

Finzi composed this song cycle in 1922. The poems are by Thoams Hardy. This would be the first of over fifty Hardy poems set by Finzi.

01/13/22 Maurice Ravel - Mussorgsky, Pictures at an Exhibition

Ravel's orchestration of "Pictures" was completed in 1922. It was a commission from Serge Koussevitzky. Koussevitzky first recorded it with the Boston Symphony in 1930 for RCA.

01/14/22 Jacques Ibert - Escales

This 1922 work represents a series of postcards from three picturesque Mediterranean ports. The movements depict Palermo, Tunis, and Valencia.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Sharon Kam presents three facets of Hindemith


The two things I like best about this release are 1) Sharon Kam's playing, and 2) the program.

The playing -- Sharon Kam is a world-class performer. Listening to her play is always a joy. Her clarinet has a rich, dark tone that's never muddy in the lower register. 

And her upper register is equally fine, with a clear, rounded sound. Her technique is superb. But Kam's more than a technical performer -- she's a musical one.

The way she shapes phrases gives insight into the music. Her interpretation of dynamics is both nuanced and effective. 

The program -- this release presents the clarinet in three roles. It's the featured instrument in a concerto, part of a small chamber ensemble, and a solo instrument. And all three works are by the same composer, Paul Hindemith.  

Hindemith wrote his 1947 Clarinet Concerto for Benny Goodman. In the original recording, Goodman leans into the jazz elements of the score. Kam smooths them out, bringing the concerto more firmly into the classical realm. It's an interpretation that works.

It's an interesting program. It starts with the concerto, then the quartet, and finally the solo sonata. Each time another layer is stripped away. Each time Hindemith has a different use of the clarinet. 

Highly recommended.

Paul Hindemith: Clarinet Concerto; Clarinet Quartet; Sonata for Clarinet
Sharon Kam, clarinet
Antje Weithaas, violin; Julian Steckel, cello; Enrico Pace, piano
Frankfurt Radio Symphony; Daniel Cohen, conductor
Orfeo C210041

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Marianna Martines Dixit Dominus has something to say

Musically, Marianna Martines was always in good company. She took keyboard lessons from Haydn. Metastasio -- opera librettist and Poet Laureate of the Austrian Empire -- was a close family friend. She played four-hand piano sonatas with Mozart.

In her lifetime, she was highly regarded as a pianist, a singer, and a composer. This release features three of her choral compositions. Charles Burney described her music as "very well written, in a modern style; but neither common, nor unnaturally new."

I mostly agree with that. Dixit Dominus and Psalm 151 are fine examples of Classical Era choral works. The choir has a light, spacious sound. Martines demonstrates a solid grounding in counterpoint. And she knows how to illuminate the text.

Of especial interest is the use of the salterio. This was a member of the zither family, and popular in Italy. It has the sound of a hammered dulcimer. Martines uses it as aria accompaniment. It's an interesting choice and shows Martines' skillful creativity.  

Also included is Martines' lone Symphony (or Overture) in C major. To me, it shows the influence of Haydn. I especially hear it in her opening themes and their motivic development. 

That's not to take away from Martines' composition. The model may have come from her teacher and friend. But what she does with it is entirely hers. 

Wolfgang Brunner conducts the Salzburger Hofmusik in some spirited performances. If you like Haydn and Mozart, you should definitely enjoy this recording of Martines.

Marianna Martines: Dixit Dominus
Marianna Herzig, Alekandra Zamojska, sopranos; Nele Gramss, Eva Schlossleitner, mezzosoprano; Cristian havel, Virgil hartinger, tenor; Roland Faust, bass
Heidelore Schauer, salterio
Salzburger Hofmusik; Wolfgang Brunner, conductor
CPO 777 985-2

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Johann Wilhelm Hertel Concertos - light and airy

Johann Wilhelm Hertel is classed today as a transitional composer. He was active in the mid-1700s and wrote in the Empfindsamer Stil. The idea behind this "emotional style" was to express natural emotion. This was a departure from the formalized -- and focussed -- emotional expression of the Baroque.

From the Empfindsamer Stil, Classical Era composers would go a step further. Contrasting emotions in the same movement would generate tension and drama. Sturm und Drang would come after Hertel's time. 

This release features two cello concertos, an organ concerto, and two sinfonias by Hertel. His aesthetic lay between what was and what was to come. But his music works on its own merits. 

The sinfonias are light and airy. Melody is more important than counterpoint. And Hertel does know how to write a melody. It's easy to hum along with these works. 

The concertos seem to have a higher degree of intensity. Cellist Bettina Messerschmidt performs a concerto in A minor from 1759 and one in A major from 1755. Her instrument has a clean, clear sound. I found it especially pleasing in the upper register. 

Her use of glissandi is interesting. She uses it judiciously to give the phrases stronger cohesion. Her performances convey the essance of the Empfindsamer Stil.

Michael Schöenheit conducts the Mersburger Hofmusik. The ensemble is ideal for this music. Their sound is almost transparent. And under Schöenheit's direction, they play with both delicacy and conviction. 

To me, Schöenheit's performance as a soloist sounded more formal than Messerschmidt's. Hertel's Organ Concerto in G major places a lot of technical demands on the soloist. But those demands seem to lean more towards the older Baroque style of playing. 

As you listen, you can hear where Haydn and Mozart will start. But if you listen closely, you'll hear where Hertel was. And there's nothing lacking in his compositional skills.

Johann Wilhelm Hertel: Cello and Organ Concertos
Bettina Messerschmidt, cello; Michael Schönheit, organ and director
Merseburger Hofmusik
CPO 555 203-2

Monday, January 10, 2022

East-West Chamber Orchestra completes Weinberg series in fine style

This release completes Naxos' cycle of Mieczyslaw Weinberg Chamber Symphonies. The East-West Chamber ORchestra released Nos. 1 and 3 back in 2019. They conclude with Nos. 2 and 4. 

The level of musicianship in the East-West Chamber Orchestra is quite high. Its members are an international group of concertmasters and soloists. In my review of their first Weinberg release, I said it was just about the best-sounding string orchestra in the Naxos stable. This release reinforces that opinion. 

The ensemble plays with both precision and fire. Weinberg's roiling emotions were sometimes barely contained in his music. We hear that anger burst through at times on this release. 

Weinberg's second chamber symphony was revamped from an earlier string quartet. To my ears, it had a similar character to Shostakovich's Op. 110. The massed strings thicked the lines and made more complex harmonies possible. Yet it still had the feel of a quartet. 

The Chamber Symphony No. 4 was Weinberg's final completed composition. Written for string orchestra, clarinet, and triangle, it's a work of concentrated emotional turmoil. As the work built in intensity, I heard resemblances to Shostakovich. 

That's not surprising. Shostakovich was Weinberg's mentor and friend. What was surprising was that I was also reminded of Bernhard Hermann. As in Alfred Hitchock's "Psycho" intensity. 

I was hoping the East-West Chamber Orchestra would complete this set. It took a while, but I wasn't disappointed. It was definitely worth the wait. 

Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Chamber Symphonies No. 2 and 4
East-West Chamber Orchestra; Rostislav Krimer, conductor
Naxos 8.57210

Friday, January 07, 2022

#ClassicsaDay #Classical1922 Week 1

For January, 2022 the Classics a Day Team decided to go back a century. The challenge this month is to post classical works associated with the year 1922. It can be a composition that was completed,  published, or premiered that year. It can even be a work recorded for the first time in 1922. 

It turns out that 1922 was quite an eventful year! Here are my posts for the first week of #ClassicsaDay #Classical1922.

01/03/22 Igor Stavinsky - Mabra

This one-act opera premiered in June, 1922. Stravinsky said, "Mavra seems to me the best thing I've ever done." Eric Satie felt the same.

01/04/22 Julián Carrillo – Preludio a Colón, for Soprano y Ensemble

Carrillo had been developing his system of microtonal music since 1895. This 1922 work was the first composition written using his Sonido 13 (13th Sound) theoretical system.

01/05/22 George Antheil - Sonate Sauvage

This was one of the works Antheil toured Europe with. On the tour, he was billed as "a new ultra-modern pianist-composer." 


01/06/22 Kurt Atterberg – Cello Concerto

Atterberg completed this work in 1922. David Hurwitz said the concerto "is so beautiful and melodically attractive that you hardly notice the absence of thematic development."

01/07/22 Amy Beach - From Blackbird Hills, Op. 83

This piano piece was published in 1922. It was one of three of Beach's works that were published that year.

Monday, January 03, 2022

Carl Czerny Romantic Piano Fantasies -- entertaining if not elevating

In the early 1800s, Sir Walter Scott was a wildly popular writer. As wildly popular as J.K. Rowling would be in the early 2000s. His "Waverly" series started a new genre, historical fiction. Scott would write between 30-48 novels set in historic Scotland, all best-sellers.

Carl Czerny published a series of four piano duets inspired by these novels. Titled Romantic Fantasies, they musically interpret four of the Scott titles. And his most popular ones at that: Waverly, Guy Mannering, Ivanhoe, and Rob Roy. 

Scottish folk music was also a popular subgenre for piano. So Czerny incorporated distinctive elements like the Scottish snap into his duets. And he also quoted a tune or two. 

Pei-I Wang and Samuel Gingher are an exceptional piano duo. Their playing meshing seamlessly, and of one mind with their interpretation and phrasing. Wang and Gingher use their skill to make this music sound as good as it can be.

And that's sort of where the problem is. Czerny's a skilled composer -- especially for the piano. There are all kinds of interesting things going on here. The music has fugues, dances, chorales, lyrical solos, and more. But for me, it never quite gels. 

The Scottish themes and motifs don't seem fully integrated into Czerny's original material. And so when a folk tune surfaces, it's almost like switching to a different radio station for a moment. 

Czerny knew his audience and I'm sure these pieces are as enjoyable to play as they are to listen to. They're definitely great fun -- just not great art. 

And that's OK. If you know that going in, then you can take these pieces for what they are. And simply enjoy the artistry of Wang and Gingher. 

Carl Czerny: Romantic Piano Fantasies on Sir Walter Scott's Novels
Pei-I Wang and Samuel Gingher, piano duet
Naxos 8.579099