Carl Czerny

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Carl Czerny, lithograph by Josef Kriehuber, 1833

Carl Czerny (German: [karl ˈtʃɛrni]; 21 February 1791 – 15 July 1857) was an Austrian composer, teacher, and pianist of Czech origin whose vast musical production (more than a thousand pieces and up to Opus 861) is being rediscovered.[1] Czerny's books of études for the piano are still widely used in the pianistic pedagogy.

Early life[edit]

The young Czerny. Picture based on the original by Josef Lanzedelly at Beethoven-Haus, Bonn

Czerny was born in Vienna to a musical family of Czech origin (Černý, lit. "Black"), although his name is spelled using older orthography. His grandfather was a violinist and his father was an oboist, organist and pianist. His family came to Vienna from Nymburk, Bohemia and Carl himself did not speak German until the age of ten.

A child prodigy[edit]

A child prodigy, Czerny began playing piano at age three and composing at age seven. His first piano teacher was his father, Wenzel Czerny, who taught him mainly Bach, and Mozart. Among his teachers were also Clementi, Hummel, Salieri and Beethoven.

He began performing piano recitals in his parents' home. Czerny made his first public performance in 1800 playing Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor. However, he was never confident in his abilities as a "showman" piano performer (as required at that time) and resolved to withdraw permanently from the stage, devoting himself only to private recitals and piano teaching.[2]

Relationship with Beethoven[edit]

In 1801, the Czech composer and violinist Wenzel Krumpholz scheduled a presentation for Czerny in the house of Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven asked Czerny to play his Pathétique Sonata and Adelaide. Beethoven was impressed and said, "The boy has talent. I will teach him myself and accept him as my pupil", and he took on the 10 year old as a student.[3] Czerny remained under Beethoven's tutelage for the next three years and later became his assistant.

Important historical passages about Beethoven come from reports of Czerny in his autobiography and letters: as an example, at 10 years old, Czerny was the first to report symptoms of his deafness, years before the matter became public: "I also noticed with that visual quickness peculiar to children that he had cotton which seemed to have been steeped in a yellowish liquid, in his ears."[2][4]

Czerny was selected by Beethoven for the premiere of his Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, Op.15, in 1806 and, at age 21, in February 1812, Czerny returned to the stage to give the Vienna premiere of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor".

Czerny wrote in his autobiography[5] that his musical memory enabled him to play all the Beethoven works by heart without exception and, during the years 1804–1805, he used to play these works in this manner at Prince Lichnowsky's palace once or twice a week, he calling out only the desired opus numbers.[2]

Czerny maintained a relationship with Beethoven throughout his life, giving piano lessons to Beethoven's beloved nephew Carl, and proofreading many of Beethoven's works before they were published.[6]

Piano teaching[edit]

Czerny introduces his pupil Franz Liszt to Beethoven

At age fifteen, Czerny began a very successful teaching career. Basing his method on the teaching of Beethoven and Clementi, Czerny taught up to twelve lessons a day in the homes of Viennese nobility.[6]

Notable students[edit]

Books of studies and exercises[edit]

Czerny left a large number of piano solo exercises for the development of the pianistic technique, designed to cover from the first lessons for children up to the needs of the most advanced virtuoso:

  • Op.139, 100 Progressive Studies without Octaves;
  • Op.200, The Art of Improvisation (or The School of Extemporaneous Performance);
  • Op.261, 125 Exercises for Passage Playing, ISBN 0739024396;
  • Op.299, The School of Velocity, ISBN 0757928196, this volume offers practical training in well-articulated pianistic passage work, particularly in playing the virtuoso music of the romantic period;
  • Op.335, Legato & Staccato Exercises, 2 Bks;
  • Op.337, 40 Exercises, ISBN 0739018426, Each piece of Op. 337 consists of various sections of one to several measures, each concluded by a coda;
  • Op.400, The School of Fugue Playing, 24 Grand Studies;
  • Op.599, Practical Method for Beginners, ISBN 0769240062, the book begins with lessons on learning the notes and introduces students to the various technical studies of keyboard music;
  • Op.636, Preparatory School of Velocity, ISBN 0769268714;
  • Op.718, 24 Studies for the Left Hand, ISBN 073900543X, a set of 24 studies that emphasize training of the left hand. The work is not a collection of left-hand solo studies as one might guess from the title, though it focuses on the dexterity of the left hand;
  • Op.740, The Art of Finger Dexterity for the Piano, ISBN 0757921671;
  • OP.777, Five Finger Studies, ISBN 0769278744, this collection of studies, Op. 777, features exercises that have the right hand covering only five neighboring keyboard notes, each piece in varying keys and levels of difficulty.;
  • Op.821, 160 8-Measure Exercises, ISBN 0739007149, written for the intermediate to advanced student;
  • Op.823, The Little Pianist, ISBN 0739003127, in the second half of this volume, the exercises move into a more difficult study of such things as turns, trills, arpeggios, phrasing and more.;
  • Op.838, Studies on the practical knowledge of all the chords of the General basses;
  • Op.849, 30 New Studies in Technics, ISBN 0739008528;

Other piano books[edit]

Legacy to modern pianistic technique[edit]

Czerny can be considered the father of modern pianistic technique and the basis of an entire generation of pianists that extends to the present day. Considering that many of Czerny's students, such as Theodor Leschetizky, Franz Liszt and Theodor Kullak, also became teachers and passed on the legacy of Czerny, one may consider that many modern pianists are the fruit of a musical tree headed by Czerny:[8]

"Czerny, the forefather of Pianoforte Technic", illustration from The Etude Magazine, April 1927 [2]

"An important legacy left by Czerny was the popularization of musical culture, particularly through the piano, the instrument most closely associated with nineteenth-century musical culture in Europe." Leon Botstein, Musical Director American Symphony Orchestra[9]

Importance for the legacy of Beethoven[edit]

Czerny wrote an essay on the correct performing of the piano sonatas of Beethoven, "On the Proper performance of all Beethoven´s works for piano" (1846)[10] Johannes Brahms wrote about it to Clara Schumann in a letter of March 1878: "I certainly think Czerny´s large pianoforte course Op.500 is worthy of study, particularly in regard to what he says about Beethoven and the performance of his works, for he was a diligent and attentive pupil ... Czerny´s fingering is particularly worthy for attention. In fact I think that people today ought to have more respect for this excellent man"[11][12]

In a letter written to Otto Jahn, a celebrated biographer of Mozart, in October 30, 1852, Liszt wrote: "Of all living composers who have occupied themselves especially with pianoforte playing and composing, I know none whose views and opinions offer so just an experience. In the twenties, when a great portion of Beethoven's creations was a kind of Sphinx, Czerny was playing Beethoven exclusively, with an understanding as excellent as his technique was efficient and effective; and, later on, he did not set himself up against some progress that had been made in technique, but contributed materially to it by his own teaching and works."[13]

Composition[edit]

Czerny composed a very large number of pieces (more than a thousand pieces and up to Op. 861).

Czerny himself divided his music into four categories:

  • 1) studies and exercises;
  • 2) easy pieces for students;
  • 3) brilliant pieces for concerts;
  • 4) serious music.[5]

Czerny's works include not only piano music (études, nocturnes, sonatas, opera theme arrangements and variations) but also masses and choral music, symphonies, concertos, songs, string quartets and other chamber music. The better known part of Czerny's repertoire is the large number of didactic piano pieces he wrote, such as The School of Velocity and The Art of Finger Dexterity. He was one of the first composers to use étude ("study") for a title. Czerny's body of works also include arrangements of many popular opera themes.

The majority of the pieces called by Czerny as "serious music" (masses, choral music, quartets, orchestral and chamber music) remained unpublished. The manuscripts are held by Vienna's Society for the Friends of Music, to which Czerny (a childless bachelor) willed his estate.

Opus list[edit]

The cycle of piano sonatas[edit]

The recent recording of the cycle of 11 sonatas of Czerny by the pianist Martin Jones (Nimbus Records) reveals the importance of the knowledge of this repertoire as the intermediate step between Beethoven and Liszt music. Czerny's sonatas blend the traditional sonata-form elements, with Baroque elements, such as the use of fugatos, with the most free form of fantasy. The pianists Anton Kuerti and Daniel Blumenthal also recorded sonatas of this cycle.

Sonata No. 1 in A-flat (Op.7); Sonata No. 2 in A minor (Op.13); Sonata No. 3 in F minor (Op.57); Sonata No. 4 in G (Op.65); Piano Sonata No. 5 in E major (Op.76); Piano Sonata No. 6 in D minor (Op.124); Sonata No. 7 in E minor (Op.143); Piano Sonata No. 8 in E flat major (Op.144); Piano Sonata No. 9 in B minor (Op.145); Sonata No. 10 in B-flat (Op.268); Sonata No. 11 in D-flat (Op.730).

Cycle of piano nocturnes[edit]

Czerny's piano nocturnes show and maybe anticipate some of the elements presents in Chopin nocturnes, such us the rhythmic fluidity and the intimate character. Chopin stayed with Czerny in Vienna in 1828 and by this time Czerny had composed Nocturnes and Chopin was initiating his Nocturnes cycle. The recent recording, made by the French pianist Isabelle Oehmichen, of the cycle of Piano Nocturnes by Czerny (8 Nocturnes Op. 368, 8 Nocturnes Op. 604 and the Nocturne La Reine Op. 647), brings new light to the influences that Chopin may have been in the creation his piano Nocturnes. "It´s interesting to note that most of that Nocturnes, written a little before of those by Chopin, are very similar." Isabelle Oehmichen interview Czerny wrote 3 Nocturnes (before the 8 Nocturnes Op. 368) that did not enter the collection of Isabelle Oehmichen: Op.71 – Nocturne Brilliant after "Das waren mir selige Tage", for Piano 4-Hands; Op.165 – Grand Nocturne Brilliant for Piano 4-Hands and Op.253 – Le Golfe de Naples, Tableau Nocturne or Fantasie Pittoresque.

Symphonic music[edit]

After a century and a half of neglect, the symphonies of Czerny had begun to be recorded in 1990s (The Symphonies Nr. 1, 2 and 5). In the 21st century, two new symphonies came to light (The Symphony Nr. 6 and a large Symphony written in 1814), two overtures (in C Minor and E Major) and some symphonic choral music (Psalm 130 and "Die Macht des Gesanges").

Czerny's symphonic music brings to light a missing link between the classic and the romantic symphonic music. There are still two symphonies unpublished (The Symphonies Nr. 3 and 4) and probably other symphonic works (the originals are in the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien).

Piano variations[edit]

Czerny composed approximately 180 pieces bear the title "Variations". Among them, the best-known may be La Ricordanza, Op 33, which Vladimir Horowitz recorded and many pianists widely performed. Czerny uses not only his own themes but themes from other composers as well, such as Daniel Auber, Ludwig van Beethoven, Vincenzo Bellini, Anton Diabelli, Gaetano Donizetti, Count Wenzel Robert von Gallenberg, Joseph Haydn, Heinrich Marschner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Niccolò Paganini, Giuseppe Persiani, Pierre Rode, Gioachino Rossini, Franz Schubert and Carl Maria von Weber. These works range from solo piano pieces to piano pieces for four, six, and eight hands, with some variations having optional accompaniment of orchestra or string quartet. Czerny sometimes combined his variations with other genres, such as fantasy, rondo, or impromptu.

Czerny was one of 50 composers who wrote a variation on a theme of Anton Diabelli for Part II of the Vaterländischer Künstlerverein (published 1824). He also wrote a coda to round out the collection. Part I was devoted to the 33 variations supplied by Beethoven, which have gained an independent identity as his Diabelli Variations, Op. 120.

Beethoven's influence can be seen in Czerny's Variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser", Op. 73, for piano and orchestra (1824; also a version for piano and string quartet), which were based on a theme by Beethoven's teacher Joseph Haydn.

"The systematic study and recording exclusively devoted to Czerny's piano variations would be therefore the much-needed addition to the piano literature." [14]

Chamber music[edit]

The chamber musical composition by Czerny also is vast and usually orbits around the presence of the piano: Trios for strings and Piano, Quintets for strings and Piano, Sonatas for Violin and Piano, and also Piano Variations with Flute, Horn and other instruments. However, works without the presence of piano start to be discovered, especially String quartets. The Sheridan Ensemble Berlin [15] and St. Lawrence String Quartet are examples of musical groups dedicated to the discovery and recording of this string quartets.

Sacred vocal compositions[edit]

Czerny was a religious person and certainly devoted himself seriously to religious musical production. However, the exact number of sacred vocal compositions of Czerny is unknown. It is estimated that can be very massive his production, which is, in the exception of some recently recorded works (see "Recordings"), still unknown to the public.

According to RISM, an autograph dated from 1854 called Missa Brevis No.21, suggests perhaps that Czerny wrote 21 Missae Brevis. Some works are in his Opus List: Graduale for Soprano & Organ (Op.662); Salve Regina, Offertorio for Chor and Orchestra (Op.726); Benedicat', Offertorio for 4 Voices & Orchestra (Op.737); Ave Maria, Offertorie for Soprano & Orchestra (Op.760); 6 Pange Lingua for SATB (Op.799); Offertorium, Salva nos Domine, for Bass and Organ (Op.812); Collection of Sacred Music for Voice & Piano (Op.562); Religion, Poem Allemande for Tenor & Piano (Op.764); 6 Graduals for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, & Bass with ad lib Accompaniment for Piano/Organ (Op.318); In questa tomba oscura for Bass Voice & Piano (1808?); De Profundis, for Chorus & Small Orchestra; Exsulta filia Sion, Offertorium Pastorale (Op.155).

Songs[edit]

Czerny was a contemporary of Schubert and also made his contribution to the Viennese song literature: Die Schiffende, for Voice & Piano with words by Holtz (Op. 48); Romance from W. Scott's "Fraulein vorn See" for Voice & Piano (Op. 83); 5 Unvergangliche Blumchen for Voice & Piano (Op. 109); 24 Canzonette Italiane for Voice & Piano (Op. 432); The Spirit's Song by Shakespeare (Op. 457); 6 Songs for Voice & Piano (Words by Mrs. Hemans) (Op. 558); Der Engel der Geduld, Chanson Allemande Voice & Piano (Op. 596); 3 Ariette Italienne for Tenor Voice & Piano; 3 Popular Irish Airs (Op. 287).

At the World's First Carl Czerny Music Festival, June 13–16, 2002, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, five Czerny's songs received their first performance by Benjamin Butterfield (tenor) and Stéphane Lemelin (piano): Des Mädchens Klage; Der Bund; Das Geheimnis; Der Erlkönig; Traum am Bach. The American tenor Bruce Ford recorded Czerny's Canzonetta Dal suo gentil sembiante.

Opinions and debates about the value of compositions[edit]

From Czerny's death until the end of the 20th century there was a predominance of negative views about his work. Whenever his name was mentioned, it was immediately linked to the idea of boring and torturous exercises for piano. A more positive view was stated by musicians such as Anton Kuerti[16] and Leon Botstein.[9]

"There are few cases of comparable historical influence to the great classical tradition, and such neglect", statement contained in the program notes "Beethoven's Pupil" for a concert devoted entirely to the symphonic music of Czerny (November 14, 2004), written by Leon Botstein, conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra;

The predominance of negative views of Czerny's music, in line with Robert Schumann's criticism, explains the lack of interest in the edition of his works, of which only about 25% has been published. However, the 21st century is bringing fresh air to Czerny with a wave of recordings, publications and restorations of his scores.

Negative views[edit]

  • Robert Schumann in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Musical Gazette), said: "It would be difficult to find a failure of imagination greater than that of Czerny." This statement came from a review of The Four Seasons, Four Bright Fantasies, Op.434;
  • In "Men, Women and Pianos" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954), Arthur Loesser, an American classical pianist and writer, describes Czerny's music as "without depth, intensity, or wit, but always smooth and pretty and rather ear-tickling when played fast ... endless variety of patterns and endless monotony of import."
  • Iwo and Pamela Zaluski, in the article "Carl Czerny: composer of the Biedermeier age" (Magazine article from Contemporary Review, Vol. 281, No. 1642), describes Czerny's music as the prototype of The Biedermeier age in Vienna "a period of sustained mediocrity which in all aspects of artistic and creative life were dictated by the need for an easy life challenge and the free pursuit of bourgeois comforts."
  • In Playing the Piano for Pleasure, at the end of the chapter "Piano Technique," Charles Cooke writes: "'But you haven't even mentioned Czerny!' you exclaim. True. We are searching for ways to warm, not chill, our music-making. The best explanation I ever heard of why Czerny wrote his millions of dry notes was that which Anton Rubinstein told Egon Petri that Moritz Moszkowski gave: 'Czerny hated little children.'"[17]

Positive views[edit]

  • Johannes Brahms wrote about Czerny to Clara Schumann in a letter of March 1878: "In fact I think that people today ought to have more respect for this excellent man"[11][12]
  • Igor Stravinsky wrote in Chronique de ma vie (ISBN 2207251772, ISBN 978-2207251775) about his admiration for Czerny also as a composer: "As to Czerny, I have been appreciating the full-blooded musician in him more than the remarkable pedagogue"
  • Leon Botstein, Music Director of the American Symphonic Orchestra, wrote about Robert Schumann's criticism on Czerny's music: "Schumann spearheaded the new romantic generation of composers. He waged a critical war against the new popularity of piano playing and composition. In that context, Schumann's denigration of Czerny as a composer did a great deal to ruin Czerny's posthumous impression."[9]
  • Anton Kuerti, an Austrian-born Canadian pianist, music teacher, composer, and conductor, credits to the lack of knowledge of the entire works of Czerny the emergence of various prejudices: "I strongly suspect – and would like to believe – that neither Loesser nor Schumann were acquainted with Czerny's" serious "music." Kuerti also notes there is a certain bias against the production done by Czerny of easy arrangements for popular themes from operas: "Of course this attitude is just another form of racism." Anton Kuerti believes that there is musical value even in the brilliant and concertante works of Czerny and points out that many of his piano studies could well be taken as concert pieces for their artistic value.[16]
  • "Czerny's works deserve the same attention as those by better-known composers. This paper PDF link explores the reasons of such neglect, shows that Czerny's concert music deserves the same recognition and frequency of play as other well-known concert music."[18]

The vision by Liszt[edit]

As a concert pianist, Liszt went on to include several Czerny compositions in his repertoire. Liszt also dedicated his twelve Transcendental Études to Czerny, who was among the first composers to pioneer the "étude" form. Liszt also collaborated with Czerny on the Hexaméron; a joint work along with fellow composers Frédéric Chopin, Sigismond Thalberg, Henri Herz, and Johann Peter Pixis.

Joseph Kriehuber, a fictional matinee at Liszt, with the presence of Czerny, 1846

However, even Liszt had an unfavorable opinion about Czerny's music. In a letter written to Otto Jahn, a celebrated biographer of Mozart, by Liszt in October 30, 1852, Liszt regrets Czerny not having composed other works such as the Piano Sonata in A-flat major, Op. 7:"It is only a pity that, by a too super-abundant productiveness, he has necessarily weakened himself, and has not gone on further on the road of his first Sonata (Op. 7, A-flat major) and of other works of that period, which I rate very highly, as compositions of importance, beautifully formed and having the noblest tendency."[13]

Reassessing[edit]

"Is there a vacuum between Schubert and Brahms in the history of Viennese music? There is not, because Czerny stands exactly between them", statement written by Professor Otto Biba, Archivist, Society of the Friends of Music, Vienna. Carl Czerny by an anonymous Austrian painter

"Is there a vacuum between Schubert and Brahms in the history of Viennese music? There is not, because Czerny stands exactly between them", statement written by Professor Otto Biba, Archivist, Society of the Friends of Music, Vienna[1] Quote source

A complete reevaluation of Czerny's compositions was undertaken at an academic conference mounted by the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, held in conjunction with the Czerny Music Festival in June 2002. The proceedings of the conference were published by the University of Rochester Press in 2008 as "Beyond the Art of Finger Dexterity: Reassessing Carl Czerny," edited by David Gramit.

A considerable number of Czerny works received their world premiere performance in June 2002 at a Carl Czerny Music Festival mounted by the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, under the artistic direction of the Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti.

In 2012, as part of a cooperative venture between the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, CBC Radio and the record label DOREMI, a three-CD set of live performances of works performed at the Festival was released by DOREMI [DHR-6011-3]. The DOREMI set includes two string quartets, two fugatos for string quintet, a Piano Trio, a Piano Quartet, a Serenade Concertante, two Overtures, an Offertorium, five Lieder, and etude for piano and Variations Brilliantes on a theme of Bellini for Piano 6 hands. The title of the three-CD is suggestive of the importance which begins to be given to the work of Czerny "A Rediscovered Genius".

"For us musicians, Czerny being a composer of “serious” music is a completely new and exciting discovery!" – The Sheridan Ensemble Berlin rediscovers Czerny

Interestingly, many of the works of Czerny which are being rediscovered in the 21st century not only belong to the group of works called by Czerny as his "serious music" (sonatas, symphonies, chamber and sacred music), but also to the group called by Czerny as "concertant and brilliant works". The world seems to begin to understand and value the multifaceted person of Czerny (as a pianist, composer, editor, writer and teacher).

Academic studies[edit]

  • Technical and harmonic analysis of Carl Czerny op. 299 number 34 etude, by Mehmet Serkan Umuzdas, Gaziosmanpasa University, Turkey [3]
  • Czerny’s Approach to the Teaching of Posture and Touch, by Ki Tak Katherine Wong, Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau, Hong Kong [4]
  • The Piano Variantions of Carl Czerny: a recording project, Dissertation directed by: Su-Chuan Cheng, Doctor of Musical Arts, 2006, Professor Bradford Gowen, School of Music [5]
  • The Contribution of Carl Czerny to Piano Pedagogy in the Early Nineteenth Century. (2008), Wong, Ki Tak Katherine, University of New South Wales. School of English, Media and Performing Arts [6]
  • Left-hand techniques in Carl Czerny’s pedagogical piano works and 19th-century pianism, by Katherine Wong, in “Interpreting Historical Keyboard Music”, edited by Andrew Woolley, and John Kitchen. Ashgate, 2013.

Recordings[edit]

The view of Czerny as primarily a composer of didactic works is being challenged. Several works of Czerny, forgotten for more than 150 years, are gaining its world premiere in the last two decades thanks to the efforts of musicians like Anton Kuerti, Martin Jones, Isabelle Oehmichen, Grzegorz Nowak, and others. The lack of editions of Czerny's compositions frequently requires from the artists to perform a restoration work from the originals. It is believed that about 75% of the work of Czerny had not been published and recorded yet.

Historical recordings[edit]

Recent recordings and world premieres[edit]

  • Sony Classics issued a recording of Piano Music for Four Hands by Czerny with the piano duo Yaara Tal and Andreas Groethuysen, in 1991;
  • The "Nonet / Grande Serenade Concertante" recorded in World Premiere by Consortium Classicum, Label MDG, release Date: June 20, 1995; a new recording with Dieter Klöcker (clarinet), The Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra & Consortium Classicum was released in 17th Sept 2012, Label MDG;
  • Daniel Blumenthal recorded the solo piano sonatas 1 to 4, Label: Etcetera, October 22, 1996;
  • Symphony No. 1, Op. 780: recorded with the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, conducted by Nikos Athinäos, Label Signum, 1997; later recorded with the Ulster Orchestra, conducted by Jurjen Hempel, published by BBC Music, Volume 14, Number 3, release date: 2005;
  • Symphony No. 2, Op. 781: recorded with the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, conducted by Nikos Athinäos, Label Signum, 1996 (also published by Label Christophorus, release date: 20th Sept 2010); later recorded with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Grzegorz Nowak, Label Hänssler, release date: 9 March 2006;
  • Symphony No. 5, in Eb major: recorded with the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, conducted by Nikos Athinäos, Label Signum, 1997;
  • Symphony No. 6 in G minor: premiered at the Czerny Festival in 2002 by Grzegorz Nowak conducting the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra; later recorded with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Grzegorz Nowak, Label Hänssler, release date: 9 March 2006;
  • The CD label Analekta released a recording of two Czerny Piano Sonatas, as well as his Funeral March on the Death of Beethoven, Op. 146, with the Canadian pianist, Anton Kuerti in 1997 [FL 2.3141].
  • In June 2002 the Wirth institute for Austrian and Central European Studies of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, mounted a three-day "Carl Czerny Music Festival and International Symposium", under the artistic direction of the Canadian pianist Anton Kuerti. The Festival included (according to best research available) a number of world premiere performances from Czerny manuscripts held by Vienna's Society of the Friends of Music, and most of it was recorded and subsequently broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation;
  • In the wake of the Festival, Anton Kuerti and the Canadian violinist Erika Raum recorded Czerny's Sonata for Piano and Violin in A Major of 1807 and his twenty Variations for Piano and Violin on a Theme by Krumpholz, Op. 1, for CBC Records [MVCD 1150], which they had initially premiered at the Festival;
  • In 2004, Leon Botstein recorded in world premiere Czerny's symphonic choral music "Die Macht des Gesanges" and the Psalm 130, “Aus der Tiefe rufe ich Herr zu dir” (1840) with the Concert Corale of New York and the American Symphony Orchestra;
  • In 2011, the French pianist Isabelle Oehmichen by Editions Hortus, recorded (in World Premiere) the complete series of Nocturnes by Czerny (8 Nocturnes Op. 368, 16 Nocturnes Op. 604 and the Nocturnes La Reine) showing an unknown romantic facet of Czerny, whose nocturnes predate and sound like a foreshadowing of the famous nocturnes of Chopin, who was a friend of Czerny and used to stay at his home when he went to Vienna;
  • Nimbus Records recorded Czerny's solo piano sonatas number 4 to 11, played by Martin Jones, in 2010 and 2011;
  • Symphony in D, 1814: recorded with the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, release date: 2011;
  • DOREMI [DHR-6011-3], published in 2012, a three-CD set of live performances of works performed at the Carl Czerny Music Festival and International Symposium 13–26 June 2002, Edmonton, Alberta, as part of a cooperative venture between the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies, CBC Radio and the record label DOREMI. The three-CD set includes two string quartets, two fugatos for string quintet, a Piano Trio, a Piano Quartet, a Serenade Concertante, two Overtures, an Offertorium, five Lieder, and etude for piano and Variations Brilliantes on a theme of Bellini for Piano 6 hands.

Turkish pianist composer Dr. Aydın Karlıbel gave the world premiere of Czerny's 'Impromptu brilliant et militaire sur la Marche favorite du Sultan Mahmoud" Op.451 on 10.11.2012 ın Istanbul, Fulya Art Center.[citation needed]

Literary writings[edit]

Czerny left a book Letters to a young lady, on the art of playing the pianoforte ISBN 1290217106. "He [Czerny] was not without literary tastes, and a comedy, two dramas and verses by him are in the archives of the 'Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde' in Vienna."[19]

Adult life[edit]

In his adult life, Czerny taught daily piano lessons (12 hours per day) in Vienna. Czerny only left temporarily Vienna to make trips to Italy, France and England. After 1840, Czerny devoted himself exclusively to composition. A religious person, Czerny used to play organ in churches and composed a collection of masses (perhaps 21 Masses, all of then unpublished).

Fortune[edit]

Many of Czerny's didactic works for piano, his arrangements and variations of popular opera themes and other concertant and brilliant works for piano were published during his life with very good acceptance. When Czerny died he left a fortune estimated at 400 thousand florins, destined by will to charity (perhaps due to their contact with Beethoven, Czerny benefited an institution for the deaf in his will), his housekeeper and the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna.

Personal life[edit]

Czerny nurtured a platonic admiration for a lady, probably the Countess of Eisenach, to whom he dedicated his Gradus et Parnassum, "Composed and most respectfully dedicated to Her Royal and Imperial Highness Marie Paulowna, Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach by Carl Czerny".[20]

Czerny lived in Vienna with his beloved parents until their deaths. He never married and lived alone the rest of his life, surrounded by many cats. He nurtured a platonic admiration for a lady, probably the Countess of Eisenach, to whom he dedicated his Gradus et Parnassum, "Composed and most respectfully dedicated to Her Royal and Imperial Highness Marie Paulowna, Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach by Carl Czerny".[21]

Death[edit]

(1857–2007) 150th anniversary of Czerny's death, Central Cemetery, Vienna

"His habits were simple, his life and speech were of uncommon purity. His health failed him in 1854. A gouty swelling first attacked his arm, which was encased in plaster. He composed although the disease spread. His last works was an offertorium and a sonata, written fourteen days before his death, which took place July 15th 1857".[19]

Czerny died in Vienna at the age of 66. He had no near relatives. Shortly before his death, he disposed his considerable fortune with the help of his best friend and lawyer Leopold von Sonnleithner.[2]

Czerny published an autobiographical sketch, "Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben" (1842; "Memories from My Life").

Music was, according to him, "his only joy, his only occupation, his daily duty and his highest ideal."[19]

Homages and tributes[edit]

Homage to Czerny in Kärntner Strasse, Vienna

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Beyond the Art of Finger Dexterity: Reassessing Carl Czerny", proceedings of an academic conference edited by David Gramit. University of Rochester Press, 2008. ISBN 1580462502, ISBN 978-1580462501
  2. ^ a b c d Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 5th ed. 1954, Eric Blom ed.
  3. ^ Alexander Wheelock Thayer, Thayer's Life of Beethoven Part 1, edited by Elliott Forbes. Princeton, New Jersey Princeton University Press, 1992 pp. 225–228.
  4. ^ The original manuscript is in the archives of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, and the translation used here is from "Beethoven, Impressions of Contemporaries", New York, 1926.
  5. ^ a b Czerny, Carl (ca. 1860) "Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben" mit Anmerkungen versehen von Walter Kolneder.
  6. ^ a b Ingrid Jacobson Clarfield, Carl Czerny, Charles-Louis Hanon, 2001. Burgmuller, Czerny & Hanon – Piano Studies Selected for Technique and Musicality, Alfred Music Publishing, USA. ISBN 0-7390-2030-7, ISBN 978-0-7390-2030-2
  7. ^ Bertoglio, Chiara (2012). Instructive Editions and Piano Performance Practice: A Case Study. Saarbrücken: Lambert Academic Publishing. ISBN 978-3-8473-2151-4
  8. ^ The famous US music magazine The Etude, founded by Theodore Presser (1848–1925) at Lynchburg, Virginia and published from October 1883 until 1957, presented in its issue of April 1927 an illustration showing how Czerny should be considered the father of modern pianistic technique, and the basis of an entire generation of pianists that extends to the present day. The Etude
  9. ^ a b c Leon Botstein, Musical Director American Symphony Beethovens pupil
  10. ^ Britannica, Carl Czerny
  11. ^ a b Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, ed. Berthold Litzmann, 2 vols. New York: Longamnn, Green, 1927; rep., New York: Vienna House, 1973
  12. ^ a b "Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music: Their Principles and Applications" by Sandra P. Rosenblum
  13. ^ a b Autograph in the Liszt archives of the Musik-Verein in Vienna. The date is wanting; it may be placed, judging from Liszt's letter of October 30th, 1852, at the above-mentioned date.
  14. ^ The Piano Variantions of Carl Czerny: a recording project, Dissertation directed by: Su-Chuan Cheng, Doctor of Musical Arts, 2006, Professor Bradford Gowen, School of Music [1]
  15. ^ http://www.floriandonderer.de/media/sendesaal/Czerny-Project.doc
  16. ^ a b Carl Czerny: In the Shadow of Beethoven, Magazine article from Queen's Quarterly, Vol. 104, No. 3
  17. ^ Cooke, Charles. Playing the Piano for Pleasure: The Classic Guide to Improving Skills through Practice and Discipline. Skyhorse Publishing, 2011, p. 140.
  18. ^ CARL CZERNY: AN UNDERAPPRECIATED PIANO COMPOSER AND HIS VARIATIONS BRILLANTES, OPUS 14 by Chia-Jung Chou, August 2012, abstract presented to the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music California State University, Long Beach In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Music Chia-Jung Chou
  19. ^ a b c According to a text about Czerny written by PHILIP HALE, 1893.
  20. ^ Letter to Czerny by Liszt: "She (Marie Paulowna) has been pleased to receive your letter and your intentions with marked kindness, the expression of which you will find in the accompanying letter which she charged Baron de Vitzthum to write you in her name." Autograph in the archives of the Musik-Verein in Vienna.
  21. ^ Letter to Czerny by Liszt: "She (Marie Paulowna) has been pleased to receive your letter and your intentions with marked kindness, the expression of which you will find in the accompanying letter which she charged Baron de Vitzthum to write you in her name." Autograph in the archives of the Musik-Verein in Vienna.
  22. ^ Download the program

External links[edit]

Media
Duo Concertante, Op. 129

Performed by Alex Murray (flute) and Martha Goldstein (piano)

Problems playing these files? See media help.
Duo Concertante, Op. 129

Performed by Alex Murray (flute) and Martha Goldstein (piano)

Problems playing these files? See media help.


Books and sheet music