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A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Czerny,


Karl
From Wikisource
< A Dictionary of Music and Musicians
CZERNY, KARL, excellent pianoforte teacher and prolific composer, born at Vienna Feb. 21, 1791.
His father, a cultivated musician, taught him the pianoforte when quite a child, and at the age of
ten he could play by heart the principal compositions of all the best masters. He gained much from
his intercourse with Wenzel Krumpholz the violinist, a great friend of his parents, and a passionate
admirer of Beethoven. Having inspired him with his own sentiments, Krumpholz took his small
friend to see Beethoven, who heard him play and at once offered to teach him. Czerny made rapid
progress, and devoted himself especially to the study of the works of his master, whose friendship
for him became quite paternal. Czerny also profited much by his acquaintance with Prince
Lichnowsky, Beethoven's patron; with Hummel, whose playing opened a new world to him; and
with Clementi, whose method of teaching he studied. He was soon besieged by pupils, to whom he
communicated the instruction he himself eagerly imbibed. In the meantime he studied composition
with equal ardour. Czerny was always reluctant to perform in public, and early in life resolved
never to appear again, at the same time withdrawing entirely from society. In 1804 he made
preparations for a professional tour, for which Beethoven wrote him a flattering testimonial, but
the state of the continent obliged him to give up the idea. Three times only did he allow himself to
travel for pleasure, to Leipsic in 1836, to Paris and London in 1837, and to Lombardy in 1846. He
took no pupils but those who showed special talent; the rest of his time he devoted to self-culture,
and to composition and the arrangement of classical works. His first published work '20 Variations
concertants' for pianoforte and violin on a theme by Krumpholz, appeared in 1805. It was not till
after his acquaintance with the publishers Cappi and Diabelli that his second work, a 'Rondo
Brillante' for four hands followed (1818). From that time he had difficulty in keeping pace with the
demands of the publishers, and was often compelled to write at night after giving 10 or 12 lessons
in the day. From 1816 to 1823 Czerny had musical performances by his best pupils at his parents'
house every Sunday. At these entertainments Beethoven was often present, and was so charmed
with the peaceful family life he witnessed, as to propose living there entirely; the project however
fell through owing to the illness of the parents. One of Czerny's most brilliant pupils was Ninette
von Belleville, then 8 years old, who in 1816 lived in the house, and afterwards spread the fame of
her master through the many countries in which she performed. She married Oury the violinist,
and settled in London. She was followed by Franz Liszt, then 10 years old, whose father placed
him in Czerny's hands. The boy's extraordinary talent astonished his master, who says of him in his

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