The last of my ‘Cs’ is the composer Carl Czerny. An Austrian musician, mainly a pianist, he was a student of none other than Beethoven. And he had the great sense to be heavily influenced by him. He was also the teacher of another amazing composer of piano music – Franz Listz. This was Listz’s good fortune because Czerny was a fiend for scales and focused concentration on musical technique.
Indeed, Czerny is considered to be a pioneer of the ‘etude’ (study) genre – something so beloved of young musicians! I can well remember long hours of practice with both the violin and piano wondering why on earth I couldn’t play ‘proper music’. Of course I soon learned that it was precisely through close work on one’s technique that facilitated the better playing of the more challenging repertoire. This was a long time after learning the standard phrases for remembering the notes on a musical stave – EGBDF on the treble clef for starters.
Anyway, I have a rather delightful set of Czerny’s chamber music, including works for flute, piano, clarinet, cello and horn. Interesting combinations of clearly challenging and very well executed pieces. Very listenable to – the sort of set one might go to a lunchtime concert for.
And a reminder as to what can be achieved on the back of all those exercises. I’m off to hunt out my study books…