A fascinatingly diverting disc in all respects. The engaging if over-long piano duet, Il Maestro lo Scolare (with the two-part dialogue nicely separated on a single piano in the recording) was transcribed from a baryton trio in 1766/8. It opens with an echo of Handel’s Harmonious Blacksmith and (obviously a teacher-pupil exercise) gets progressively more difficult. The closing section is a Minuet—from Haydn’s String Quartet No. 20, Op. 9/2, while the Capriccio takes a folk song as its basis with the unlikely title of Acht Sauschnider müssen sein (‘It takes eight to castrate a boar’) and the variations on the famous Emperor theme are a transcription of the slow movement of the string quartet with that nickname, Op. 76/1. Jenő Jandó plays everything in his freshly direct, classical manner and he is expertly joined by Zsuzsa Kollár in the four-handed work. The recording is clear and clean.
Lovely works of no great moment, though the variations on the emperor's hymn are as noble and touching as the tune they are based on. The Variations in G have some of Beethoven's lightness and ingenuity, a kind of mini-Diabelli, though with a quarter of the playing time and a tenth of the profundity of the younger composer's work.
The Schoolmaster Divertimento, a fourhand piece with the pupil imitating the master, has some of the humor and depth of Haydn's Philosopher symphony.
Jando plays with fluency. He doesn't have the phoning-it-in sound that he has sometimes brought to his recordings. It sounds as if he (and, in the divertimento, Kollar) had a fine time rattling through this sparkling and seldom-heard music.
Nobody except a critic should listen to all six of these pieces in one sitting, but they are happy and engaging and well worth hearing.