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Czerny Op 740 #16, 2 Versions

This delightful study is in the character I’ve come to think of as “Czerny-happiness,” a kind of Bournonville-for-piano that is unique to its creator and instantly engaging with it’s sunny exuberance. More down-to-earth: #16 is effective in ballet class within a range of tempos well under Czerny’s.

But structurally #16 is rather diffuse. That’s a feature of many of Czerny’s studies: he strings together blocks of material and then wraps up with a recap of the opening and a coda. In #16 the wrap-up starts at m 52.

For ballet class I aways go for a much more solid architecture. By architecture I mean strategies of repetition and variation that relate sections of a piece of music to one another, and I aim for solid architecture in my Czerny arrangements not because I think it makes better music than he came up with but because it exactly reflects what teachers usually do in putting together a combination (especially at barre): repetition and variation.

From Czerny’s #16 I fashioned a ternary piece using only his first 23 bars. This was more than a matter of making a shortcut arrangement for the sake of quickly building repertory; I think those first 23 bars are the strongest material of #16, and creating a ternary structure for them allows me to repeat that material.

Op 740 #16 1st Version: 2/4 happy "tumbling" tune, 16 sets of 8

Op 740 #16 1st Version Audio

This is my performance of my shortcut arrangement of #16. I shaped Czerny’s material into ternary form with the following recipe:

1) a repeated A section consisting of mm 1-16 with a full-stop cadence at m 16

2) a repeated B section consisting of mm 17-23 with m 24 rewritten to provide a turnaround to a recapitulation of the A section’s mm 9-16.

As you get to know Op 740 (and, in fact all Czerny collections) you’ll notice how fond he is of a sprightly 2/4 with the working hand in triplet 16th’s. Two good examples are #16 and #41, which, like #11 and #12 alternate handedness (one for RH, one for LH) and share note values, rhythm, tempo, meter and key (major and relative minor). And they have contrasting characters. I’ve described my process of pairing “one-pagers” (see commentary to #11, #12), and while my 1st Version of #16 is somewhat more ambitious than a one-pager, the A section can stand alone as one, and thus I’ve paired #16 and #41.

Op 740 #16, 2nd Version (with #41): 2/4 "tumbling" tune, 16 sets of 8

Op 740 #16, 2nd Version (with #41) Audio

This is my performance of #16 and #41 as combined one-pagers. Usually I play the two studies back to back, but for this performance I experimented with alternating sections of one with the other to blend them more closely.


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