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Czerny Op 740 #38, Single Version

Part of the charm of this powerful toccata is the in-and-out-of focus meter, but, while there are a number of shortcuts and simplifications you can impose on it, if you’re daunted (as I am) by its challenges to accuracy, velocity and stamina, whatever you do you’ve got to make the beat unambiguous, you’ve got to project counts and square phrasing to get any use out of it for ballet class.

I like #38 very much as high-spirited Mendelssohnian music, and I think if you replace Czerny’s “martellato” with “scherzando” and his “forte” with “piano” and, finally, his octaves with single notes you’ll hear what I mean--especially when Czerny changes the texture to chords with interlocking hands (mm 25-32) But the counts and phrasing still have to be clearly projected. That challenge can’t be evaded.

Op 740 #38 Single Version: 4/4 scherzo, 32 sets of 8

This is my performance of #38 reimagined as a Mendelssohn scherzo, for which I provide a score. Czerny’s compositional process contrasts three different textures of 16ths: the alternating octaves (mm 1-16), the pedal point on C (mm 17-20), and the tremolo chords with interlocking hands. I made those three textures the basis for the structure of my arrangement, except that I simplified Czerny’s alternating octaves to alternating single notes. I introduced the Mendelssohn quotation to unify and “name” the arrangement. About the score: for convenience I notate Czerny’s 16ths + 16th rests as simple 8ths; they should of course be played very short.

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