The portentous, cadential opening pages of the Introduction and Allegro, Op 49 (1880), lead the listener to expect a heavyweight, rigorously argued Allegro of Beethovenian profundity to follow. But no—in fact we get quite the opposite. The Introduction ends with a long pedal note of fifteen bars over which the piano weaves delicate patterns. Even after these five minutes Godard still holds his fire, writing a spirited preamble to the Allegro which, after a startling two-handed scale from top to bottom of the keyboard, launches with perfect bathos into a jaunty, toe-tapping crowd pleaser. You may not be able to get the theme out of your head for several days. The almost Gottschalkian flavour of the second subject is hardly less ingratiating. The Allegro, at least, is surely destined to be a light classical hit.
from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2014