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Czerny Op 740 #29, 3 Versions

I can almost reach Czerny’s tempo (using his fingering and keeping my RH fixed but relaxed in position close to the keyboard), but as is almost always the case with Czerny’s studies I get far more use from #29 at slower tempos, and, to me, it even sounds better--slight but amiable music.

Czerny’s tempos are one thing, but there’s another issue that invites far bolder meddling: he almost always keeps iterating the “working hand” note pattern from beginning to end, and in a study like #29, featuring a dense, tight little mordent on each beat, the practice can start to grate. Czerny does relieve things starting m 54, but I think relief should come much sooner. I found that simply alternating a couple of measures of mordent with a simpler figure opens the music up, gives it not just breath but personality.

Op 740 #29, 1st Version: jaunty 2/4, 16 sets 8

This is my performance of a simplified arrangement of #29, for which I provide a score. I alternate Czerny’s mordents with various melodic motifs. To come out square I use only about half of Czerny’s long pedal point turnaround (mm 24-39) and about half of his rather repetitious closing material (mm 56-79). I’ve slowed the tempo to the quarter @85, and project the music as jaunty but relaxed, like early tendus at the barre. I feel pretty sure Czerny’s suddenly rachetting up the drama at m 71 with “f” and then “ff” has less to do with aesthetics than a pedagogical screw-tightening: “Oh, your RH is getting tired? Well, you must now play as loudly as possible before I let you finish!” I’ve given the music a quiet, lighthearted exit

The simplest recipe for turning the 2/4 of #29 into some kind of triple meter piece is to start with the LH: add an eighth note to each beat of Czerny’s 2/4 measure, turning it into a 6/8. Spread the RH above it by turning his quintuplet 32nd’s into quintuplet 16th’s and his 8th’s into quarters (or two 8th’s). Then figure out what kind of 3 you want and shape the RH and LH materials accordingly. I came up with a light, spare mazurka and a quick 6/8.

Op 740 #29, 2nd Version: short, light mazurka, 8 sets of 8

This is my performance of #29 rearranged as a short mazurka, for which I provide a score. For this arrangement I rewrote my 1st version according to the suggested recipe, then rebarred the 6/8 into 3/8, and then re-notated it as 3/4 (the eighths becoming quarters, etc). I’ve learned from experience that expanding a 2/4 into 6/8 and then into 3/4 doubles the length which can be useful, but when there’s very static harmonic rhythm and very “naive” melody, as here, length isn’t welcome. So I’ve used only half my 1st Version to create a short piece that should serve something in mazurka time at the barre. I also reharmonized the second half of Czerny’s opening phrase (his mm 3-4) to avoid the static harmony.

Op 740 #29, 3rd Version: chirpy 6/8 allegro, 24 sets of 8

This is my performance of my 2nd version reshaped in 6/8 and expanded for a centre allegro. I found that at quicker tempos the slender harmonic and melodic interest of #29 isn’t as big a problem as it is at slower tempos. I supply a score, and you can see that my main compositional device was to displace the RH off the downbeat, giving the material a much lighter, airy character than my little mazurka. I also introduced motivic and melodic material into the LH. My performance makes several repeats and key changes to lengthen the material for centre; my score is of the basic material only.

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