Carl Czerny 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. Czerny's books of études for the piano are still widely used in the pianistic pedagogy. Czerny was born in Vienna to a musical family of Czech origin: 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, 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. He developed close relationships with Beethoven, Liszt, and other prominent musicians of the time. 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the pieces called by Czerny as "serious music" (masses, choral music, quartets, orchestral and chamber music) remained unpublished.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.
|Variations on a popular Viennese Waltz by Franz Schubert, Op. 12||Theme and Variations||Piano|