Beyond The Art of Finger Dexterity

Beyond The Art of Finger Dexterity

Reassessing Carl Czerny

Edited by David Gramit


University of Rochester Press



The first English-language book on Czerny, and the broadest survey of his activity in any language.
Within the history of European music, Carl Czerny (1791-1857) is simultaneously all too familiar and virtually invisible. During his lifetime, he was a highly successful composer of popular piano music, and his pedagogical works remain fundamental to the training of pianists. But Czerny's reputation in these areas has obscured the remarkable breadth of his activity, and especially his work as a composer of serious music, which recent performances and recordings have shown to hold real musical interest.
Beyond "The Art of Finger Dexterity" explores Czerny's multifaceted career and its legacy and provides the first broad assessment of his work as a composer. Prominent North American and European musicians and scholars explore topics including Czerny's life and its context; his autobiographical writings and efforts to promote his teacher, Beethoven; his activity as a pedagogue, both as teacher of Liszt and as the authority held up to innumerable amateur women pianists; his role in shaping performance traditions of classical music; the development of his image during and after his lifetime; and his work in genres including the Mass, the symphony, the string quartet, and the piano fantasy.
This is the first English-language book on Czerny, and the broadest survey of his activity in any language.

Contributors: George Barth, Otto Biba, Attilio Bottegal, Deanna C. Davis, James Deaville, Ingrid Fuchs, David Gramit, Alice M. Hanson, Anton Kuerti, Marie Sumner Lott, James Parakilas, Michael Saffle, Franz A. J. Szabo, Douglas Townsend, and John Wiebe.

David Gramit (University of Alberta) is the author of Cultivating Music: The Aspirations, Interests, and Limits of German Musical Culture, 1770-1848.


April 2008
7 black and white, 44 line illustrations
298 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580462501
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
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Table of Contents

Carl Czerny and Post-Classicism - Otto Biba
Czerny's Vienna - Alice M. Hanson
Carl Czerny's Recollections: An Overview and an Edition of Two Unpublilshed Autograph Sources - Attilio Bottegal
A Star Is Born? Czerny, Liszt, and the Pedagogy of Virtuosity - James Deaville
The Veil of Fiction: Pedagogy and Rhetorical Strategies in Carl Czerny's Letters on the Art of Playing the Pianoforte - Deanna Davis
Carl Czerny: Beethoven's Ambassador Posthumous - Ingrid Fuchs
Playing Beethoven His Way: Czerny and the Canonization of Performance Practice - James Parakilas
Carl Czerny and Musical Authority: Locating the "Primary Vessel" of the Musical Traditioin - George Barth
Carl Czerny, Composer - Anton Kuerti
Czerny's Mass No. 2 in C Major: Church Music and the Biedermeier Spirit - John Wiebe
Carl Czerny's Orchestral Music: A Preliminary Study - Douglas Townsend
Not Just a Dry Academic: Czerny's String Quartets in E and D Minor - Marie Sumner Lott
Czerny and the Keyboard Fantasy: Traditions, Innovations, Legacy - Michael Saffle
The Fall and Rise of "Considerable Talent": Carl Czerny and the Dynamics of Musical Reputation - David Gramit


(Gramit's) sophisticated introduction . . . ably sets the stage for the variety of approaches that follow. . . . Generously illustrated with musical examples. . . . As a codifier of compositional and improvisational practices . . . (Czerny) has always been of vital importance. . . . As a result, some of the most valuable chapters in this volume either delve into his Viennese musical world in detail . . . . or specifically discuss Czerny's writings on improvisation and performance practice. JOURNAL OF MUSICOLOGICAL RESEARCH (Kenneth Hamilton)

It is difficult to overestimate (this book's) importance as a contribution to the reappraisal of Czerny the composer and, paradoxically, its challenge to a work-centred view of history by stressing the validity and significance of Czerny's activities other than the composition of 'serious' music. The standard of presentation is high throughout the book and the illustrations are generous in quantity. . . . Scrupulously thorough editing. . . . A great deal of new ground is . . . covered . . . (and the chapters by Deaville and Sumner Lott, respectively, are) thought-provoking . . . (and) analytically penetrating. AD PARNASSUM: A JOURNAL OF EIGHTEENTH- AND NINTEENTH-CENTURY INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC (Rohan H. Stewart-MacDonald)

The book is a good read and its subject, as Gramit says, of "genuine interest." . . . (In) Ingrid Fuchs's chapter . . . we see the significance of the man. . . . James Parakilas's claim of Czerny as "one of the important founders of the historical performance movement" is thought-provoking. . . .(Also notable is) Marie Lott's interesting look at two (unpublished Czerny) string quartets. . . . (The book is marked throughout by) usefulness, originality, interest and professionalism. MUSICAL TIMES (Peter Williams)

A glittering array of scholars with David Gramit at the helm have much to tell us about a wide range of subjects. . . . This is an essential -- and fascinating -- scholarly work of restoration and reassessment. --Susan Youens, University of Notre Dame

There are few figures who have exerted a comparable influence on the great classical tradition who have suffered such neglect. . . . Likely to be the best book on Czerny for a very, very long time. The cast of scholars assembled here is stellar, and their contributions illuminate our understanding of the man, his world, and the fascinating matter of musical reputations. --Leon Botstein, President of Bard College

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