Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Beyond the Art of Finger Dexterity: Reassessing Carl Czerny

Academic journal article The Beethoven Journal

Beyond the Art of Finger Dexterity: Reassessing Carl Czerny

Article excerpt

I. Books for the General Reader IA. Books in English Beyond the Art of Finger Dexterity: Reassessing Carl Czerny. Edited by David Gramil. Eastman Studies in Music. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2008. xiii. 280 pp. ISBN 978-1-58046-250-1 (hardback): $75.

In June 2002 the Wirth Institute for Austrian and Central European Studies of the University of Alberta presented a four-day festival devoted to Beethoven's most famous pupil. Carl Czerny went on to become a prolific composer though he is primarily remembered today as a teacher whose many keyboard studies are securely entrenched in the pedagogical canon. One of the leading champions today of Czerny the composer is the pianist Anton Kuerti, who directed the festival and arranged for performances of Czerny's works, several of them never before published or heard in a public concert. The focus of this festival was to reassess Czerny's position and influence as a composer, with this collection of essays as one result. The contributions include biographical and documentary studies as well as critical analyses and performance studies of selected works. Otto Biba opens the volume with an essay on post-Beethovenian musical life in Vienna and its impact on the reception of Czerny's compositions. Alice M. Hanson approaches the topic of Czerny's Vienna using his own memoirs written in 1841-1842, with a postscript on events until his death in 1857. Other biographical sources are described in an essay by Attilio Bottegai, including two previously unpublished testimonies: Meine musikalischen Erinnerungen aus der Zeit meiner Kindheit und Jugend (Musical Recollections from my Childhood and Youth) and a brief autobiography written in 1830. …

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