One of the most grown-up review sites around

Apollo's Fire

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Brahms Symphony 4 Dvorak Symphony 9
Peter Aronsky (piano) Les Délices du Piano"
IL Carnevale di Venezia Clarinet with orchestra

Sinfonie Concertanti for two flutes and orchestra



A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


World Premiere
Weinberg’s Concertino (cello)!


Irish-Appalachian Celebration


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

an inspirational performance

An indispensable acquisition

The finest we have had in years

bewitching sound

Simply amazing

A splendid addition

One of the most enjoyable

quite superb!

utterly essential

A wonderful introduction

An outstanding CD


One of the finest versions

Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £13.50 postage paid world-wide.

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857)
The Art of Finger Dexterity, Op.740 (50 etudes; selections: Nos. 9, 41, 15, 24,46, 4 50, 2,3, 37, 8, 6, 12, 17, 23, 13, 45) [31:48]
Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)
'Per aspera ad astra' (15 virtuoso etudes) Op. 72, Nos 1 in E major [2:13] and 2 in G minor [1:59]
Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969)
10 Concert Etudes (1956) [18:39]
Marian SAWA (1937-2005)
Four Etudes (1967) [6:07]
Marcin Tadeusz Łukaszewski (piano)
rec. December 1998 (Bacewicz), November 2000 (Czerny, Moszkowski) and January 2006 (Sawa), Polish Radio S-2 Studio, Warsaw

It’s interesting that these recordings, which I don’t believe have been published before, should have been taken up now by Acte Préalable. They were taped in Polish Radio’s Warsaw studios on three distinct sessions, the first in 1998, the second in 2000 and the most recent, the four Etudes by Marian Sawa, in 2006. Doubtless that last undertaking was a salute to a composer who had died the previous year. What unifies this very disparate collection is the nature of the Etude itself.

There are two main sequences; Czerny’s vast Die Kunst der Fingerfertigkeit and Grażyna Bacewicz’s 10 Concert Etudes. There are 50 etudes in Czerny’s Op.740, pedagogic but virtuosic, that explore a vast panoply of technical conundrums and make unremitting, but highly musical, demands on the player. Given that these pieces are still more performed in a teaching context the selection is felicitous given that it stresses the musical values of pieces even when they include figuration questions, hand rotation, stretches and note repetition for the left hand – and these are amongst some of the more obvious demands. In this half-hour-plus selection of a third of the Etudes – played in an ordering of Marcin Tadeusz Łukaszewski’s own devising - one encounters micro-dramas couched as technical flourishes, so that, for instance, the theatricality of No.15 and the stormy unrelenting G minor, No.50 are cut from a similar cloth. Not one piece breeches the two-and-a-half-minute mark and No.41 falls well short even of 60 seconds. So, compression is the essential element. So engagingly are the etudes played that one might want to hear the full set, which can be done on VAI 1241 played by Francesco Libetta, a performance that I’ve yet to hear.

Moritz Moszkowski is known for his character pieces and teaching works. The Op.72 set of 15 etudes has been mined for recital performance – Horowitz was not averse to playing one or two – and the two selected here make a well-balanced duo. Bacewicz wrote her Etudes in 1956. The toccata-like brittle semiquavers of the first of the ten announce a contrasting and characterful set. The third tests staccato, the fifth begins unexpectedly slowly with rich polyphony before getting agitated. The seventh is a jagged grotesque study. In fact, this all-embracing set makes real demands on both technique and character painting. Finally, Sawa’s 1967 Etudes are concert works with a somewhat neo-classical nature – each lasts ninety seconds but each distills its technical demands in a most appealing yet rigorous way.

The recording of the Czerny pieces is just a touch inflated and whilst not unattractive the sound does spread and can splinter a little in climaxes. It’s better in the companion works recorded at different times. The notes are helpful. Don’t think these are relentlessly virtuosic teaching studies devoid of intrinsic value: that’s far from the case.

Jonathan Woolf



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger