Carl Czerny

Today in Mailbox: response to Radio Prague's programmes, answers to last month's listeners' quiz question, a brand new question for the coming month. Listeners/readers quoted: Bogdan Pilawski, Arne Timm, Jaroslaw Jedrzejczak, Hans Verner Lollike, Radhakrishna pillai, Mary Lou Krenek.

Czech-German-Polish tripoint in Hrádek nad Nisou,  photo: Mirek256,  CC BY-SA 3.0
Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s monthly programme for your views, questions and comments. Thank you very much for your reception reports. We have a beautiful set of QSL cards featuring notable church buildings in the Czech Republic to send you in return.

Bogdan Pilawski from Poland sent us this comment to a recent Letter from Prague:

“I am a regular reader of Radio Prague e-mail newsletter, and this weekend it came with the interesting piece on a kind of forgotten land on Czech-German-Polish tripoint. I was a bit surprised, the Author found the Oder river there, while the border river between Germany and Poland there is Lusatian Neisse (Nisa in Czech). This river has its starting point in the Czech Republic, and its name comes into several Czech town-names, like Hrádek nad Nisou or Jablonec nad Nisou, to name just these two. The Oder river is well away from there, and the Lusatian Neisse needs some 250 kilometers of flow to reach it. Both rivers - Lusatian Neisse and Oder indicate the border between Germany and Poland since the end of Second World War.”

Thank you very much for following our newsletter so carefully and for pointing that mistake out to us. It has now been corrected.

Arne Timm sent us this remark in his e-mail:

“I like the editions of SoundCzech from February 6th (To be tongue-tied) and from January 23 (Come hell or high water). It’s fun and simple to learn Czech idioms with the help of song lyrics. Sometimes I look and enjoy Sunday Music Show, for example the latest album by the alternative pop group Tata Bojs was very good.”

Thank you for all your feedback and now let’s move onto our monthly quiz. Here’s what Jaroslaw Jedrzejczak from Poland wrote in his answer to last month’s question:

“Carl Czerny was an Austrian composer, teacher, and pianist of Czech origin whose vast musical production amounted to over a thousand works. His books of studies for the piano are still widely used in piano teaching.”

Hans Verner Lollike from Denmark wrote:

“Carl Czerny was a ‘wonder-boy’ – he started playing when he was 3 and composing at 7. In his whole life he composed more than 1000 pieces – many of them for educational purposes giving piano lessons. Most of his compositions were never printed and the manuscripts are kept in Vienna by the Society of Friends for Music. He had a very active life having Beethoven as his teacher and Liszt as his student. He never married, had no children, but his influence was enormous also for future generations.”

Arne Timm from Estonia sent us this answer:

“Among his many pupils Franz Liszt became Czerny's most famous. The Liszt family lived in the same street in Vienna as Czerny, who was so impressed by the boy that he taught him free of charge.”

This is what Radhakrishna pillai .N from India wrote:

“Carl Czerny was born on 20th February 1791, to a Bohemian pianist father, Wenzel Czerny, and later took lessons from Antonio Salieri and Ludwig Van Beethoven. By the age of fifteen he became a reputable music teacher himself. Czerny created his original method of piano practice, incorporating many piano pieces named Etudes, which he wrote for piano practice. His most famous pupils were Sigismund Thalberg and Franz Liszt. Carl Czerny is mainly known for his many sets of studies and exercises for piano. These cover virtually every significant issue of technique and interpretation faced by pianists at all levels. Today, Carl Czerny is considered as the father of modern pianistic technique. Carl Czerny piano exercises such as the ‘School of Virtuosity ‘, ‘School of Velocity’ and ‘School of the left hand’ are being widely practiced and revered by composers and students.”

And finally, an answer from Mary Lou Krenek from the United States:

“Czerny first studied piano with his father, Wenzel Czerny, and later with Ludwig van Beethoven. He knew and was influenced by Muzio Clementi and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. He began teaching in Vienna at age 15; among his pupils were Franz Liszt and Beethoven's nephew, as well as other celebrated pianists. His published compositions number nearly 1000. They include not only piano music, but also masses and choral music, six symphonies, concertos, songs, string quartets and other chamber music. He left a large amount of unpublished work, too. Czerny maintained a relationship with Beethoven throughout his life.

“Czerny died in Vienna at the age of 66. He never married and had no near relatives. His large fortune was willed to charities, his housekeeper, and the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna. He made a provision for the performance of a Requiem Mass in his memory.”

Thank you very much for your answers and today our little prize goes to our old-time listener S. J. Agboola from Nigeria. Congratulations and here’s another chance for those of you who haven’t been lucky this time.

The world-famous German car brand name Mercedes – surprisingly – has a Czech, or more precisely, Moravian connection. We would like to know the details.

If you want to be included in our lucky draw, please make sure your answer reaches us by March 23rd at the usual address:

Mailbox will be back in four weeks’ time and in the meantime we’ll be looking forward to your reception reports, questions and comments, both by e-mail and on our Facebook page. Until then, happy listening and take care.