Organ music by Carl Czerny? Yes!

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Lance
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Organ music by Carl Czerny? Yes!

Post by Lance » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:23 pm

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Naxos 8.573425, DDD, 75:11

Leave it to Naxos to give us this one! Most of us who have had piano lessons are very familiar with the many exercises that helped with our technique and keyboard coordination. Judging by the high opus numbers of Czerny's [1791-1857] compositions, he was a prolific composer. At the tray notes state: "Pupil and friend of Beethoven and teacher to Liszt, Carl Czerny, whose pedagogical works are still widely in use today, was a key figure in European musical life. Czerny's organ music builds on the traditions o J. S. Bach and Mendelssohn, revealing his mastery of contrapuntal technique in the Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, Op. 607 (1838). Czerny visited England in 1837 and his Op. 698 collection of organ voluntaries, apparently intended for the English market, varies in mood from the quietly meditative to the triumphant. The Op. 627 set, dedicated to Bath organist James Windsor, adds contrapuntal elements and cleverly includes anthems such as God Save the Queen." The music comes off largely as church music in the best traditions but also contain the charm of this composer, which holds one's interest in organ music. Talk about so many wonderful musical ideas! Truly a gifted composer.

The recordings were made in July 2014 at the Miller Chapel, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey. Iain Quinn is the organist in this well-filled disc. Quinn is obviously committed to playing this music and the recording has presence having been recorded at the correct distance bringing the instrument directly into your listening area.

There seems to be a resurgence of interest in Czerny's compositions. He was a brilliantly talented fellow. He composed a very large number of pieces—more than a thousand pieces, which, in total takes Czerny to opus 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 though more and more of his music is being recorded. The manuscripts are held by Vienna's Society for the Friends of Music, to which Czerny (a childless bachelor) willed his estate.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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jbuck919
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Re: Organ music by Carl Czerny? Yes!

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:16 am

OK here we go. First, I was completely unaware of any organ music by Czerny, nor have I ever heard it performed live. (There are composers I wish had left us more, such as Bruckner, who by reputation was the greatest organist of his time.) Second, you would think I would know that organ, but this is a complicated story. Though I played the large organ at the university chapel many times, and though Princeton is a big organ town including what used to be called Westminster Choir College, I know nothing of the organ at the seminary, which is not associated with the University in any way. Now that may not seem strange, because not one university student in a thousand would ever have had cause even to visit the place, which is within easy walking distance. Nevertheless, I have always been a library freak and since I had privileges visited the seminary library many times, even though the university library is one of the great research libraries of the world. (Heck, I even had a card to the town library and used it on occasion, and don't get me started on the Institute for Advanced Studies.) There is a lot of this on YouTube, so let me take a little time and I'll get back to you with my evaluation. BTW I would only do this in consideration of our inestimable moderator Lance.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

jbuck919
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Re: Organ music by Carl Czerny? Yes!

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:42 pm

I found the pieces moderately interesting, but they are like all of Czerny: shadows of whatever was inspiring him. Czerny to me is as though Beethoven had stopped after the repeat sign and skipped the "development." Sorry Lance, didn't want negatively to influence your Saturday programming. By all means put them on. They are still far from awful.

Here is a piece I have played myself. It is not as easy as it sounds. It may strike some as sappy, but in the proper context it is a minor miracle.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

Lance
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Re: Organ music by Carl Czerny? Yes!

Post by Lance » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:02 pm

Thank you for your comments, jbuck! I am vastly interested in Czerny much more than just his "exercises," which are wonderful in their own right. I would never have thought Czerny would have written for the organ, but the man was a musical genius in many ways. The organ music is conceived quite differently from his piano works and illustrates yet another side of his genius. I felt that much of this music could be heard in churches as preludes or postludes, even combining one or two since some are short. Liszt also wrote a great deal of organ music, some of it very inspiring. I would still give this Czerny disc a thumbs up for unusual (and interesting) repertoire.
jbuck919 wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:42 pm
I found the pieces moderately interesting, but they are like all of Czerny: shadows of whatever was inspiring him. Czerny to me is as though Beethoven had stopped after the repeat sign and skipped the "development." Sorry Lance, didn't want negatively to influence your Saturday programming. By all means put them on. They are still far from awful.

Here is a piece I have played myself. It is not as easy as it sounds. It may strike some as sappy, but in the proper context it is a minor miracle.

Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

Image

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