Carl Czerny (1791 - 1857)


"Weense pianist, componist en muziekpedagoog, leerling van Beethoven, leermeester van diens neef. Hij schreef boeiende memoires met veel bijzonderheden over Beethoven en zijn muziek. Geen biografie van Beethoven zonder veel citaten van Czerny!"

This is how Joyce Maier describes Carl Czerny in the register of individuals associated with Beethoven's life, in her Dutch Beethoven online biography.  Those who venture into exploring Beethoven's life have to agree with her that, without Beethoven quotes by the Viennese pianist, composer, musical pedagogue and student of Beethoven, Carl Czerny (whose recollections of Beethoven are mainly contained in his Erinnerungen and his book on the Proper Performance of All Beethoven's Piano Works), no Beethoven biography would be complete.   

In this context, Carl Czerny is certainly also no stranger to readers of this web site.  However, to many who, in their childhood years, have attempted to master the piano, themselves, Czerny might mainly be known as musical pedagogue whose etudes they might have enjoyed, more or less.   

In the late spring of 2002, this writer also had an opportunity to become acquainted with the composer Carl Czerny, namely in the world's first Cerzny Festival and Symposium that was initiated and directed by the Canadian pianist, Anton Kuerti, and that took place in June, 2002, in Edmonton, Alberta, this writer's Canadian home.

After such a lively, new impression of the composer Czerny, in this writer, there also grew the wish to further explore the relationship between Beethoven and Czerny, in the context of this website. 

In doing so, as a lay writer, I can only try to attempt to follow all traces of this relationship as carefully and chronologically precise as possible, as it is presented in the writings of Beethoven scholars and in published original correspondence and documents.  This attempt at tracing this relationship will therefore leave a great deal of initiative to the reader to form his or her own opinion on this subject and, ideally, it might also serve as a point of departure for those who want to explore this issue, further. 

Our tracing of all sources will, as usual, be presented in chronological sequence and therefore, first follows the relationship between teacher and student, their interaction during this time, but also during the rest of Beethoven's life time.  As already pointed out, for this purpose, we have at our disposal relevant comments by Beethoven biographers and researchers, but also original texts of correspondence between Beethoven and Czerny.   

With respect to the time in Czerny's life time after Beethoven's death, we can trace Czerny's role at passing on Beethoven's legacy and tradition.  

Interesting links to the Beethoven Bibliography Data Base of the Ira F. Brilliant Centers for Beethoven Studies in San Jose, California and to the University of Alberta as co-organizer of the Czerny Festival and Symposiums of 2002 might offer those who want to explore this issue further some appropriate information and incentives. 

With all of this, we wish you a great time of discovery and a great deal of reading pleasure!