Godowsky’s Studies on Chopin’s Etudes have achieved a legendary status among piano enthusiasts. Few areas of the repertoire have such a notorious. Small wonder, then, that Godowsky’s crowning achievement was his 53 studies based on 26 Chopin Etudes, 22 of them for the left hand alone. As Godowsky. Few, however, went anything like as far as Leopold Godowsky () whose 53 Studies on the Études of Chopin have received a fair amount of bad press.

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Uniquely available on 2CDs, this will surely be the benchmark recording for all time.

Studies on Chopin’s Études

None, certainly, who had received such little formal training. In case you didn’t watch the video, the Study is supposed to be played by the left hand only! The name Leopold Godowsky is rarely mentioned when gocowsky talks about favourite composers who wrote piano works. He might have been the most unique writer of piano music after Chopin, and that’s not forgetting Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff.

The site is also available in several languages. And who else could do so with such consummate artistry? Mindestens ein Pianist bzw. Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

GODOWSKY Studies on Chopin |

So Horowitz said of the Passacaglia. Special godoswky on the studies for the left hand alone In writing the twenty-two studies for the left hand alone, the author wishes to oppose the generally prevailing idea that the left hand is less responsive to development than vhopin right. Der amerikanische Kritiker James Huneker, der einige der ersten Studien in Manuskriptform zu sehen bekam, erteilte anderen den weisen Rat, sich nicht zu fragen, ob Godowsky Chopin Ehrfurcht erwiesen habe.


The more I transcribed, the more I found that the left hand was as adaptable to the mechanical and technical difficulties as the right hand.

Hier eine Nocturne, eine Polonaise, da eine Mazurka? A simple experiment, though, will suffice: Jedenfalls keiner, der so wenig formale Ausbildung erhalten hatte. Assuming you can find it that is: The prospective pianist is confronted with unexpected levels of difficulty, mostly concerned with mental challenges seldom if ever encountered anywhere else in the repertoire, requiring unflinching concentration and true dedication in order that all details are clearly presented and articulated.

Despite their formidable reputation, many of them are serene in character, hardly ever exploiting the forceful, percussive side of piano writing. A performance of the Passacaglia is shown in the embedded YouTube Video below: The interweaving of the two etudes actually sounds wonderful! Some recast Chopin’s right-hand passagework for the left hand while introducing new contrapuntal ideas; some treat the originals more freely, inverting, imitating or combining two Etudes; others are character pieces or variations based on Chopin’s originals; and twenty-two of the Studies are for the left hand alone.

Whether this is the case is for academics to argue over. In addition to what is stated above, the left hand, commanding as it does the lower half of the keyboard, has the incontestable advantage of enabling the player to produce with less effort and more elasticity a fuller and mellower tone, superior in quantity and quality to that of the right hand.

Studies after Frederic Chopin (Godowsky, Leopold)

At least one pianist Francesco Libetta has played the complete 53 Studies in concert two recitals in Milan, and Has any other composer ever produced works of such a revolutionary nature for the piano at such an early age? Bach violin sonatas, cello suitesSchubert Lieder and other composers for solo piano.


Godowsky used the opening 8 measures of Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony as godowskg theme, composed 44 variations based on it, of course, heaping difficulty upon difficulty on succeeding variations and concluded the work with a cadenza and a fugue. Many pianists from the “Golden Age” were particularly fond of “improving” Chopin by, for example, playing tricky passages in thirds Josef Hoffman’s s recording of the “Minute” Waltz is a good example.

Hamelin delivers on every level: Perhaps it was this independence of mind, unencumbered by the academic notions and traditions godowksy Conservatoire professors, that led Godowsky to rethink certain pianistic problems without inhibition. Perhaps because he was equipped with such an all-encompassing technique, he wrote music that is technically very difficult to execute, though it is never difficult for the sake of it more below.

Studies on Chopin’s Études – Wikipedia

Few areas of the repertoire have such a notorious reputation for technical difficulty and audacious compositional invention. The work opens innocently enough, with the theme presented in both hands first 8 barsand it chopni followed immediately by the godowsly variation Figure 3 a. Beautifully involved harmony in velvety rich textures? After all, his best-known works today the 53 Studies, Passacaglia, transcriptions are fantastic elaborations on works by other composers, rather than original melodies that he himself composed.

You need six hands to play it. Yet, despite their difficulties, it is not flashy or showy music.

I suppose this music is not for everybody; there will undoubtedly be those whose first, second and indeed last reaction will be “sacrilege!

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