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Czerny Op 335 #30, 2 Versions

The fugal opening of this compact study will be familiar from #23: a stepwise climbing bass under a 2-voice subject in the tonic followed by a 2-voice answer in the dominant. But the intense harmonies and pomposo dottings and the allegro tempo give #30 a much more imposing character than #23; it’s much more Handel than Mendelssohn--much more “alten Style.” In the first half (mm 1-16) Czerny deploys the four voices with maximum independance and clarity. In the second half the writing becomes more chordal, but Czerny presents a splendid fortissimo ascending scale with all the voices in quarter notes except the tenor, which is in a dotted figure moving by 4ths and half-steps and pushing the harmony through the minor keys of D, G, C, and F to A at m 22. (The headlong opening of Schumann’s 1838 Kreisleriana, also in D minor, uses a similar but shorter progression, and it’s easily imagined that Schumann the student, teacher and critic would be familiar with Czerny’s op 335 published 3 years earlier.) At m 24 all the voices take up the tenor’s dotted figure for the descent back down, diminuendo, rallentando, and a pianissimo cadence. The second half is 12 measures long and made up of irregular sub units, so that’s where you’ll have to find material to stretch to get an even structure.

I think #30 can work well as a short 3/4 adagio (4 sets of 8, the quarter @95)--it’s certainly a lot easier to play. But as an adagio, the powerful rhythm and declamatory style is out of character with the typical classroom adagio. A teacher who knows that you have this and similar in-the-old-style adagios in your repertory may want to choreograph to it specifically.

A potential problem is the ambiguity of the 3/4 pulse at the beginning, so you want to establish it unmistakeably with your preparation. Also in the beginning Czerny usually ties the soprano line across the downbeat which makes for beautiful counterpoint but can obscure the counts when played for class. In both my versions I articulate the soprano on the downbeat. Czerny’s compositional process is to create 2- and 4-bar sequences in which a melodic cell is repeated in a new harmony an interval away (eg, mm 3-4, 7-8, 9-12). Czerny relieves the effect of repetitiousness of these sequences by varying the voice in which the harmony is repeated. This makes the sequences more interesting, but I’ve made the sequences exact repetitions in order to keep the beat very clear.

Op 335 #30, 1st Version: short 3/4 Adagio in weighty dotted polyphonic style, 4 sets of 8 counts

This is my performance of #30 at an adagio tempo and arranged so as to keep the beat and the structure very clear. I provide a score. I lowered mm 5-8 an octave to avoid the long stretch in the high register which Czerny’s mm 1-4 has landed us in. I rewrote Czerny’s m16 as a full-stop cadence to mark off the first half of the piece. I divide the second half into 2 units, mm 17-22 and mm 23-28, each expanded by 2 measures, and each with dramatized cadences. Generally I’ve made the dottings very short, ignoring Czerny’s call for strict legato.

Op 335 #30, 2nd Version: quick march in light dotted polyphonic style, 16 sets of 8 counts

This is my performance of my arrangement of #30 as a quick march, for which I provide a score. The character is lighter than Czerny’s original, and of course in a duple meter this arrangement will be of greater use in class than the original. I lowered most of the first half an octave to keep the polyphony from sounding too “tinkly.” In the second half, mm 17-22, I redistributed Czerny’s tenor line between tenor and soprano. Where Czerny moves into 5-voices (eg mm 17 ff) I’ve eliminated the fifth voice for the sake of lighter texture.

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