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Czerny Op 335 #29, 3 Versions

This study is nearly ready-made for your repertory, and, as usual, will sound better and be much more useful when played slower. There’s a range of tempos within which the music works well, but for my purposes here I’ve choses what is perhaps about the slowest: the quarter @75. At Czerny’s tempo the RH is in breathless scamper up and down the top part of the keyboard; at my tempo the music becomes much more deliberate, somewhat “thoughtful,” a particular sort of “point variation” character.

The structure is ternary: an A section presenting a dotted broken triad-and-turn figure over the simplest I-V harmony; a B section that riffs on the turn, moving through minor and diminished 7th harmonies, and then repeats the first 4 measures of A with a modulation that ends in the tonic; and finally an excited Rossini-like crescendo. If you don’t repeat the A section you can play that crescendo and come out even, so long as you lengthen the cadence at m 24.

Op 335 # 29, 1st Version: light quick march, 16 sets of 8-count phrases

This is a performance of my slowed-down arrangement of #29, for which I provide a score. Given the much slower tempo it’s well to shorten the 8th notes and lengthen the dottings. I’ve changed Czerny’s turn figure to a quintuplet with an anacrusis so it doesn’t sound plodding. I’ve added movement to the bass line and a wider spread for the voicings in the LH. The comically stark cadence at m 8 is too good not to use again as a signature for the piece. In places I’ve taken the RH down from the very high register Czerny is so fond of (eg mm 12-15). Because of the slower tempo I’ve rewritten Czerny’s crescendo-coda, putting the LH in 16ths and shaping and developing the texture of the RH on its way to the final cadence.

As with others of Czerny’s attractive duple time pieces I recast #29 in triple time to get more use from it for class, and extended the material (notably the coda) to make a piece suitable for centre.

Op 335 #29, 2nd Version: light allegretto 6/8 with extended coda, 20 sets of 8 counts

This is a performance of my 6/8 version of #29, for which I provide a score. The tempo is the eighth @180, which should be good for a pirouette combination. Working with my 1st Version I added an 8th to each beat of Czerny’s 2/4 measures to make them 6/8 measures. I kept something of the “signature” measure-long cadences of my 1st Version, but filled them in a bit since I don’t want the music to fall out from under the dancers. The challenge was Czerny’s coda: I found that his RH material didn’t extend well in 6/8, and after trying several solutions I decided to go to the master of such codas, Rossini (Czerny was a big fan). I used the crescendo from the overture to The Barber of Seville to create a coda that’s four times the length of Czerny’s.

Czerny’s three-part structure (an A section, a contrasting B section, a coda) has been a standard form for opera arias, both comic and serio. In classical ballet, the form became established for solo variations in the Grand Pas de Deux. With abrupt changes of character and tempo the form has great theatrical effect.

Op 335 #29, 3rd Version: Comic Aria in the Italian Style (with many tempo changes), 12 sets of 8 counts

Using my first version of #29 I created an imaginary “Comic Aria,” not for use in class, but as homage to Czerny and “The Italian Style,” and this is my performance. I offer it also as an illustration of what you can do by way of arranging Czerny not just for class music but for something much more ambitious, as Riisager did. I can imagine my 3rd Version being a ballerina “character” solo.

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