The Piano Variations of Carl Czerny: A Recording Project

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2009

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Carl Czerny, a pupil of Beethoven and teacher of Liszt, is generally recognized as one of the greatest piano pedagogues in music history. What is not so well known about Czerny, however, is that he was also a very prolific composer. Czerny composed more than one thousand pieces, and approximately 180 bear the title "Variations." With only a few exceptions, most of those works are forgotten and have disappeared from the recital stage. The goal of this dissertation is to rekindle an interest in Czerny's piano variation works. To this objective, nine of Czerny's piano variations were selected: Brilliant Variations for the Piano Forte on a French Militavy Air, Op. 103, Second Galoppe varie'e, Op. 112, Grandes Variations brillantes sur le th&me original favori: colla campanella (Glockchen Rondo) de Paganini, Op. 170, Introduction, Variationen & Rondo iiber zwey beliebte Steyrische Alpenlieder, Op. 194, Charmant- Variationen uber den beliebten Charmant Walzer von Johann Strauss, Op. 249, Variations brillantes sur un motif martial de I'Opkra, Robert le Diable, Op. 332, Fantaisie et Variations brillantes suv un ThCrne de Madame Malibran, Op. 377, Souvenir de Bellini, Fantaisie et Variations brillantes sur le dernierpenske de Bellini, Op. 386, and Amusement des jeunes amateurs, Op. 825. Their musical background, formal analysis, and edition source were studied, and most important, they were recorded into the format of two CD recordings. To the author's knowledge, eight of the nine pieces are world premiere recordings; only Op. 377 was ever recorded, by Hilde Somer in 1975. The recording of them should serve as an incentive for pianists to again give attention to these long-ignored pieces. The author hopes that in the near hture Czerny's variations will once again be heard on recital stages and found on many people's CD shelves.

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