Piano wereld


Carl Czerny
VSE 04

Who says Czerny, says etudes. Although Czerny was a great pedagogue, with Franz Liszt probably his most famous student, his etudes often concentrate too much on the technical problem to be overcome. These compositions therefore lack harmonic inventiveness. The advantage may be that you can indeed concentrate purely on the technique, because the harmony does not require any attention. On the other hand, there is the disadvantage that you quickly become bored by this harmonic uniformity, with the result that you no longer concentrate on the technical problem.

Bart van Sambeek shows us a different side of Czerny. The five works he collected in one volume have a striking characteristic in common: the right hand often plays coloraturas, as a subversion of the melody. This figure of speech was taken to great heights by Liszt and Chopin in particular. We know that Chopin was inspired by Bellini’s operas, but he also knew Czerny’s music and it is therefore not inconceivable that Czerny had some influence on his development.

The most dramatic piece in the collection is undoubtedly the Caprice opus 108. A slow, ominous introduction, followed by an Allegro molto agitato, which comes to an unexpected halt before the end. The introduction returns briefly, after which the piece Presto agitato concludes. It is particularly reminiscent of the first movement of the Sonata Pathétique by Czerny’s teacher Beethoven.

All pieces are (early) romantic through and through, explore the boundaries of piano technique and are packed with harmonic novelties. Despite the amount of notes, the page is exemplary, as we have come to expect from Van Sambeek.

Maarten Boonstra