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Czerny Op 335 #37, 3 versions

This lovely cortege recommends itself in every way--squarely structured, effective in a wide range of tempos and dynamics, easily mastered. Riisager’s darkly splendid orchestration (Etudes, #3, “Sillhouetter”) is an inspiration for how to play it at Czerny’s solemn tempo. But it can played much faster and more lightly as a hurried march.

Op 335 #37, 1st Version: cortege, 8 sets of 8-count phrases

This is my performance of #37 as written.

Op 335 #37, 2nd Version: quick march in canon at the 8th, 8 sets of 8-count phrases

This is my performance of #37 recast as quick march in 2-voice canon, for which I supply a score. I play Czerny’s long-notes melody in canon at the octave with the RH and a running-eighths bass in the LH to fill out the harmony. Here and there Czerny’s melody won’t work in strict canon (at least not at the octave with voices a measure apart) so instead of changing his melody I tweaked the second voice to avoid clashes. Most of the RH 10th’s aren’t difficult for me to reach, but a couple of them are “big” --Bb-D, Eb-G--and need to be rolled. I experimented with moving the lower voice up an octave in those places, but it doesn’t sound nearly as good as keeping the lower voice in its expected register. For Czerny’s final 4 bars I shortened the distance between the voices to 2 beats.

Like my other contrapuntal arrangements of Op 335 my 2nd Version of #37 is meant to work as ballet class accompaniment, but canons call attention to themselves. Once you realize you’re hearing a canon you start listening for the entrances, and this can be distracting if you’re trying to think of something else (like the steps of a combination). On the other hand, if you leave Czerny’s melody alone (and clearly mark the beat) you can get away with all sorts of contrapuntal decorations around it without worrying that the dancers will get lost, which is what I’ve done with my 3rd Version.

Op 335 #37, 3rd Version: Grand Cortege, 20 sets of 8-count phrases

This is a synthetic arrangement for multiple players. I’ve tried to realize orchestral color by means of an increasingly complex texture (as Riisager does in his orchestration, introducing increasing instrumentation in the repeats as well as more complex rhythmic activity). My strategy was to spread the music across the keyboard, and gradually introduce dottings and decorations and contrapuntal activity to a climax point and then a swirling, vanishing coda to create a character piece with a hint of spookiness.

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