Clarinets, trumpets, trombones and kettle drum are silent for the Andantino that follows, the stage set by a chorus for horns and bassoon. The piano’s theme is an enchanting operatic cantilena (or so it sounds) which moves from its home key of E major to a central section in C sharp minor before returning for the cantilena to be taken up by a solo cello and flute in unison. All appears to be heading towards a serene conclusion. The final two bars disabuse the dreamy listener. Herz clearly had a sense of humour.
The finale (Allegro agitato) is a lively rondo in 6/8 which has a graceful second theme in the same metre but in the relative major. This is developed with some brilliant passagework (the trombones are put to work) before the main theme again, and a repeat of the second subject, now in F major. Without a pause, this tune is played in 2/4. Herz is surely going to conclude proceedings in this way. But no. He reverts back to 6/8 and, still in F major, uses the Rondo theme for a sprint to the finish.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2006