Carl Czerny (German: [ˈtʃɛɐ̯ni]; 21 February 1791 – 9 August 1857) was an Austrian composer, teacher, and pianist of Czech origin whose vast musical production amounted to over a thousand works. His books of studies for the piano are still widely used in piano teaching.
Carl Czerny, lithograph by Josef Kriehuber, 1833
|Born||21 February 1791|
|Died||9 August 1857 (aged 66)|
|Resting place||Vienna Central Cemetery|
Carl Czerny was born in Vienna (Leopoldstadt) and was baptized in St. Leopold parish. His parents were of Czech origin; his mother was Moravian. His parents spoke the Czech language with him. Czerny came from a musical family: his grandfather was a violinist at Nymburk, near Prague, and his father, Wenzel, was an oboist, organist and pianist. When Czerny was six months old, his father took a job as a piano teacher at a Polish manor and the family moved to Poland, where they lived until the third partition of Poland prompted the family to return to Vienna in 1795.
As a child prodigy, Czerny began playing piano at age three and composing at age seven. His first piano teacher was his father, who taught him mainly Bach, Haydn and Mozart. 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.
In 1801, Wenzel Krumpholz, a Czech composer and violinist, scheduled a presentation for Czerny at the home of Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven asked Czerny to play his Pathétique Sonata and Adelaide. Beethoven was impressed with the 10-year-old and accepted him as a pupil. Czerny remained under Beethoven's tutelage until 1804 and sporadically thereafter. He particularly admired Beethoven's facility at improvisation, his expertise at fingering, the rapidity of his scales and trills, and his restrained demeanour while performing.
Czerny's autobiography and letters give many important references to Beethoven during this period. Czerny was the first to report symptoms of Beethoven's 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."
Czerny was selected by Beethoven for the premiere of the latter's Piano Concerto No. 1 in 1806 and, at the age of 21, in February 1812, Czerny gave the Vienna premiere of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5, "Emperor". Czerny wrote 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, with the Prince calling out only the desired opus numbers. Czerny maintained a relationship with Beethoven throughout his life, and also gave piano lessons to Beethoven's nephew Carl.
At the age of fifteen, Czerny began a very successful teaching career. Basing his method on the teaching of Beethoven and Muzio Clementi, Czerny taught up to twelve lessons a day in the homes of Viennese nobility. His 'star' pupils included Theodor Döhler, Stephen Heller, Sigismond Thalberg, Leopoldine Blahetka and Ninette de Belleville. In 1819, the father of Franz Liszt brought his son to Czerny, who recalled:
He was a pale, sickly-looking child, who, while playing, swayed about on the stool as if drunk...His playing was...irregular, untidy, confused, and...he threw his fingers quite arbitrarily all over the keyboard. But that notwithstanding, I was astonished at the talent Nature had bestowed upon him.
Liszt became Czerny's most famous pupil. He trained the child with the works of Beethoven, Clementi, Ignaz Moscheles and Johann Sebastian Bach. The Liszt family lived in the same street in Vienna as Czerny, who was so impressed by the boy that he taught him free of charge. Liszt was later to repay this confidence by introducing the music of Czerny at many of his Paris recitals. Shortly before Liszt's Vienna concert of 13 April 1823 (his final concert of that season), Czerny arranged, with some difficulty (as Beethoven increasingly disliked child prodigies) the introduction of Liszt to Beethoven. Beethoven was sufficiently impressed with the young Liszt to give him a kiss on the forehead. Liszt remained close to Czerny, and in 1852 his Études d'exécution transcendante were published with a dedication to Czerny.
Czerny left Vienna only to make trips to Italy, France (in 1837, when he was assisted by Liszt) and England. After 1840, Czerny devoted himself exclusively to composition. He wrote a large number of piano solo exercises for the development of the pianistic technique (Gradus ad Parnassum), designed to cover from the first lessons for children up to the needs of the most advanced virtuoso. (see List of compositions by Carl Czerny).
Czerny died in Vienna at the age of 66. He never married and had no near relatives. His large fortune he willed to charities (including an institution for the deaf), his housekeeper and the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna, after making provision for the performance of a Requiem mass in his memory.
Czerny composed a very large number of pieces (more than a thousand pieces and up to Op. 861).
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.
Czerny's piano sonatas show themselves as an intermediate stage between the works of Beethoven and Liszt. They blend the traditional sonata form elements with baroque elements, such as the use of fugato, and free forms of fantasy. Recordings of these sonatas have been made by Martin Jones, Anton Kuerti and Daniel Blumenthal.
Czerny's piano nocturnes show some of the elements present in Chopin nocturnes, such as the rhythmic fluidity and the intimate character. Chopin met Czerny in Vienna in 1828 and may have been influenced by his nocturnes.
Czerny composed approximately 180 pieces that bear the title "Variations". Among them is La Ricordanza, Op 33, which Vladimir Horowitz recorded. Czerny used not only his own themes but themes from other composers as well, including Daniel Auber, Ludwig van Beethoven, Vincenzo Bellini, Anton Diabelli, Gaetano Donizetti, Joseph Haydn, Heinrich Marschner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Niccolò Paganini, Gioachino Rossini, Franz Schubert, Carl Maria von Weber and many others. 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, his Diabelli Variations, Op. 120. Together with Liszt, Chopin, Henri Herz, Johann Peter Pixis and Sigismond Thalberg, Czerny was a contributor to the compendium set of variations for piano, Hexameron (1837).
The seven symphonies of Czerny began to be recorded in 1990s. In the 21st century, two new symphonies came to light (The Symphony Nr. 6 and a large Symphony written in 1814); also two overtures (in C Minor and E Major) and some symphonic choral music (Psalm 130 and "Die Macht des Gesanges").
Czerny was a prolific composer of chamber music, normally including 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, there are many works without piano, including string quartets.
Czerny, a devout Catholic, also composed many religious pieces. These works include a number of Masses and hymns.
In 1842 Czerny published an autobiographical sketch, "Erinnerungen aus meinem Leben" ("Memories from My Life"). Other works by Czerny, apart from his compositions, include: his edition of Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier; "Letters to a young lady, on the art of playing the pianoforte" ; his "School of Practical Composition" (published as his Op. 600); and "On the proper performance of all Beethoven's works for piano" (1846).
Czerny can be considered as a father of modern piano technique for generations of pianists, when it is taken into account that many of his students, such as Theodor Leschetizky, Franz Liszt and Theodor Kullak, also became teachers and passed on his legacy. The US music magazine The Etude presented in its issue of April 1927 an illustration (see above) showing how Czerny could be considered the father of modern piano technique and the basis of an entire generation of pianists. This list can be extended to the present day: examples of 'descent' are:
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). 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" In a letter written to Otto Jahn of 30 October 1852, Liszt wrote: "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."
Czerny had an influential role in defining the canon of classical piano repertoire. Volume 4 (1847) of his Theoretico-Practical Piano School listed what he considered to be the most important piano works of the previous eighty years, including works of Mozart, Clementi, Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and works of his own.
From Czerny's death until the end of the 20th century there was a predominance of negative views about his work. Robert Schumann in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Musical Gazette), said of Czerny's op. 424: "It would be difficult to find a failure of imagination greater than that of Czerny." Liszt included several Czerny compositions in his repertoire and also dedicated his twelve Transcendental Études to Czerny. He also collaborated with Czerny on the Hexaméron. But even Liszt suggested, in an 1852 letter to Otto Jahn: "It is ... 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." In "Men, Women and Pianos" Arthur Loesser 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."
More positive views have been offered by musicians such as Anton Kuerti Brahms, and Leon Botstein. Igor Stravinsky wrote 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."
Alfrēds Bruno Jānis Kalniņš (23 August 1879 in Cēsis, Governorate of Livonia – 23 December 1951 in Riga, Latvian SSR) was a Latvian composer, organist, pedagogue, music critic and conductor; the founder of national Latvian opera. Kalniņš is primarily remembered for his national opera Baņuta (1920).Finale (music)
A finale is the last movement of a sonata, symphony, or concerto; the ending of a piece of non-vocal classical music which has several movements; or, a prolonged final sequence at the end of an act of an opera or work of musical theatre.Michael Talbot wrote of the finales typical in sonatas: "The rondo is the form par excellence used for final movements, and ... its typical character and structural properties accord perfectly with those thought desirable in a sonata finale of the early nineteenth century." Carl Czerny (1791–1857) observed "that first movements and finales ought to—and in practice actually do—proclaim their contrasted characters already in their opening themes."In theatrical music, Christoph Willibald Gluck was an early proponent of extended finales, with multiple characters, to support the "increasingly natural and realistic" stories in his operas that "improved continuity and theatrical validity" beyond the earlier works.Hexameron (musical composition)
Hexaméron, Morceau de concert S.392 is a collaborative composition for solo piano. It consists of six variations on a theme, along with an introduction, connecting interludes and a finale. The theme is the "March of the Puritans" from Vincenzo Bellini's opera I puritani.
Princess Cristina Trivulzio Belgiojoso conceived the piece in 1837 and persuaded Franz Liszt to assemble a set of variations of the march along with five of his pianist-friends. Liszt composed the introduction, second variation, connecting sections and finale, and integrated the piece into an artistic unity. Five well-known composer-performers each contributed one variation: Frédéric Chopin, Carl Czerny, Henri Herz, Johann Peter Pixis and Sigismond Thalberg.
Princess Belgiojoso commissioned Hexaméron–the title refers to the Biblical six days of creation–for a benefit concert for the poor on 31 March 1837 at the princess's salon in Paris. The musicians did not complete the piece on time, but the concert was held as scheduled. The concert's highlight was a piano "duel" between Thalberg and Liszt for the title of "greatest pianist in the world." Princess Belgiojoso announced her diplomatic judgment: "Thalberg is the first pianist in the world–Liszt is unique."Hexaméron is divided into nine parts:
Introduction: Extremement lent (Liszt)
Tema: Allegro marziale (transcribed by Liszt)
Variation I: Ben marcato (Thalberg)
Variation II: Moderato (Liszt)
Variation III: di bravura (Pixis) - Ritornello (Liszt)
Variation IV: Legato e grazioso (Herz)
Variation V: Vivo e brillante (Czerny) - Fuocoso molto energico; Lento quasi recitativo (Liszt)
Variation VI: Largo (Chopin) - (coda) (Liszt)
Finale: Molto vivace quasi prestissimo (Liszt)Pianists Vladimir Horowitz, Ingolf Wunder, Raymond Lewenthal, Leslie Howard, Francesco Nicolosi and Marc-André Hamelin, among others, have recorded the piece.Liszt made arrangements of the piece for piano and orchestra (S.365b) and for two pianos (S.654). Pianists Ingolf Wunder, Leslie Howard and Eugene List recorded the orchestral version.In 2009, six New York-based composer-pianists–Matthew Cameron, Corbin Beisner, Simone Ferraresi, Quentin Kim, Greg Anderson, and Hwaen Chu'qi–created their own Hexameron Variations based on the same Bellini "March". It premiered at the 2010 American Liszt Society Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska, US.Josef Dachs
Josef Dachs (30 September 1825 – 6 June 1896) was an Austrian pianist and music teacher born in Regensburg. He received his music education by Simon Sechter and Carl Czerny, worked as a concert pianist and premiered many of his works. He became professor at the Vienna Conservatory in 1850. Among others, he taught Isabelle Vengerova, Hugo Wolf, Ferdinand Löwe, and Russian pianist and composer Josef Rubinstein (1847-1884). Hans Rott composed a work for string orchestra, Dachs-Studien. Its main melodic theme is based on the letters D A C H S. Dachs died in Vienna.Leopold von Sonnleithner
Leopold Andreas Ignaz Sonnleithner, ab 1828 Leopold Edler von Sonnleithner, born 15 November 1797 in Wien; died 3 March 1873) in Vienna, was an Austrian lawyer and a well-known personality of the Viennese Classical music scene. He was a friend and patron of Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, Franz Grillparzer, and Carl Czerny.Robert Cocks
Robert Cocks may refer to:
Robert Cocks & Co., bygone London publisher who worked with Maria Lindsay
Sir Robert Cocks, 3rd Baronet (c. 1660-1736) of the Cocks Baronets
Sir Robert Cocks, 4th Baronet (d. 1765) of the Cocks BaronetsRondino for Piano Quintet (Czerny)
Carl Czerny's Rondino on a Theme of Auber for Piano Quintet, Op. 127 (French: Rondino sur un thême favori de l’opera Le maçon d’Auber. Pour le pianoforte avec accomp. de deux violons, alto et violoncelle, oeuv. 127) was published by Diabelli around 1826. Scored for a standard piano quintet (Piano, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello), the composition is what the composer would have dubbed a "brilliant" piece, intended to show off the skills of the piano soloist in a concert setting.Rondo for Piano and Orchestra (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in B-flat major, WoO 6 was composed in 1793 and originally intended as the final movement for his second piano concerto. Hans-Werner Küthen states this was probably the finale for the first and second versions of the second piano concerto, being replaced by the final version of the rondo in 1795. He also notes that the most likely inspiration for the insertion of an andante section into the rondo is the concluding rondo of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 22.It was eventually published in 1829, with the solo part completed by Carl Czerny. It is scored for an orchestra of 1 flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, and strings.String Quartet No. 18 (Mozart)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's String Quartet No. 18 in A major, K. 464, the fifth of the Quartets dedicated to Haydn, was completed in 1785. Mozart's autograph catalogue states as the date of composition "1785. / the 10th January". It is in four movements:
Menuetto and Trio (the latter in E major)
Andante (theme with variations), D major
Allegro non troppoThe whole piece is characterized by the use of several different contrapuntal devices. In England "this quartet is known as the Drum because the cello part in variation six [of the Andante] maintains a staccato drum-like motion."In his biography of Mozart entitled Mozart: A Life, musicologist Maynard Solomon quotes Beethoven as telling his pupil Carl Czerny that this work, with its complex contrapuntal techniques, was Mozart's way of saying to the world, "Look what I could produce, if only you were ready for it." Beethoven thoroughly studied this quartet he much "admired and even copied into score" , which he used as model for his String Quartet in A major, Opus 18 No. 5.Even though it is one of Mozart's longest quartets, there is a great economy to the writing. The finale is as monothematic as anything Haydn ever wrote, with all the development deriving from the opening two phrases, and the other movements use of a very small amount of melodic material for their development sections as well. The minuet for example, builds primarily on just two small motifs.Theodor Döhler
Baron Theodor Döhler (20 April 1814 – 21 February 1856) was a German composer and a notable piano virtuoso of the Romantic period. He studied under Julius Benedict, Carl Czerny, and Simon Sechter.Theodor Leschetizky
Theodor Leschetizky (22 June 1830 – 14 November 1915) (sometimes spelled Leschetitzky, in Polish: Teodor Leszetycki) was a Polish pianist, professor and composer born in Łańcut, then Landshut in the kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, also known as Austrian Poland, a crownland of the Habsburg Monarchy.Variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" (Czerny)
Carl Czerny's Variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser", Op. 73, also known as Variations on a Theme of Haydn and Variations on the Emperor's Hymn, were written in 1824. There are versions for piano and string quartet and piano and orchestra.
The work was first performed by the composer in 1824. It lasts about 27 minutes and is structured as follows:
Introduction (Adagio ma non troppo)
Finale.Both the introduction and the animated finale are said to be reminiscent of Czerny's teacher Ludwig van Beethoven, all of whose piano works he is said to have memorised. The composer of the theme, Joseph Haydn, was, in turn, Beethoven's teacher.
Its sole recording appears to the 1968 recording by Felicja Blumental, with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra under Helmuth Froschauer.Vaterländischer Künstlerverein
Vaterländischer Künstlerverein was a collaborative musical publication or anthology, incorporating 83 variations for piano on a theme by Anton Diabelli, written by 51 composers living in or associated with Austria. It was published in two parts in 1823 and 1824, by firms headed by Diabelli. It includes Ludwig van Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (a set of 33 variations), as well as single variations from 50 other composers including Carl Czerny, Franz Schubert, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, Franz Liszt (aged only 12 at the time of publication), and a host of lesser-known names including a son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and others now largely forgotten.
Vaterländischer Künstlerverein has various translations, including "Patriotic Artists' Association", "Art Association of the Fatherland", "Patriotic Culture Club", "Fatherland's Society of Artists", "National Artists' Association", "Native Artist's Association" and "Native Society of Artists".Étude
An étude (; French: [e.tyd], meaning 'study') is an instrumental musical composition, usually short, of considerable difficulty, and designed to provide practice material for perfecting a particular musical skill. The tradition of writing études emerged in the early 19th century with the rapidly growing popularity of the piano. Of the vast number of études from that era some are still used as teaching material (particularly pieces by Carl Czerny and Muzio Clementi), and a few, by major composers such as Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt and Claude Debussy, achieved a place in today's concert repertory. Études written in the 20th century include those related to traditional ones (György Ligeti) and those that require wholly unorthodox technique (John Cage).Études (ballet)
Études is a one-act ballet choreographed by Danish dancer and choreographer Harald Lander to piano studies by Carl Czerny arranged for orchestra by Knudåge Riisager. It is considered Lander's most famous choreographic work and brought him international fame. The work premiered on 15 January 1948 at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen with the Royal Danish Ballet, with scenery and costumes by Rolf Gerard and lighting by Nananne Porcher.
Études is considered an homage to classical ballet training. It begins with traditional ballet exercises at the barre and ends with spectacular bravura displays.The original cast included: Margot Lander, Hans Brenaa, Svend Erik Jensen, Inge Sand and Inge Goth. Its ABT premiere at the 54th Street Theatre in New York took place on 5 October 1961 and featured dancers Toni Lander, Royes Fernandez, Bruce Marks, Eleanor D'Antuono and Elisabeth Carroll.Šlágry
Šlágry (English title: Schlager) is the third studio album by Czech black metal band Master's Hammer, released in 1995 by a now-defunct subsidiary of Osmose Productions, Kron-H, specialized in more experimental outputs than Osmose itself. Greatly contrasting with the sonority of the band's previous releases, Šlágry sees them "virtually abandon[ing] the operatic black metal of previous releases in favor of modernist electronic music", and "shar[ing] publishing credits with Carl Czerny, Otto Katz and Giuseppe Verdi, mixing bits of metal, folk and musique concrète into a style based on the classical avant-garde", as they put it in the album's liner notes. In fact, "Hlava modernistova" is the only black metal-oriented track of the entire album.
Other Master's Hammer members Necrocock, Monster, Mirek Valenta and Silenthell are noticeably absent from the album; only vocalist Franta Štorm and keyboardist Vlasta Voral took part in its recording.
On the album's liner notes the band also stated that they planned a follow-up to Šlágry, entitled Šlágry II, that would "rely more on professional opera singers and orchestra players"; however, the band broke up a couple of months after the album came out, and only returned to active in 2009 with the release of Mantras. It is currently unknown if the band still plans to work on Šlágry II.