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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I suppose that some readers may be interested to know how I started to compose these Studies.
Special attention must be drawn goeowsky the fact that owing to innumerable contrapuntal devices, which frequently compass almost the whole range of the keyboard, the fingering and pedalling are often of a revolutionary character, particularly in the twenty-two studies for the left hand alone. Hamelin is, of course, one of the very few living pianists with the technique to play this music as it should be played: I received the letter in the morning, and in the afternoon newspapers issued extras giving news of an appalling catastrophe, the most terrible railroad accident in the history of America, happening near Battle Creek, Michigan.
Here a nocturne, a polonaise, there a mazurka? Pianists brave enough to tackle this music have often been content merely to get through the notes.
Introduction to Leopold Godowsky, his 53 Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, and Passacaglia
He provided me over the years with many interesting ideas and comments—all stemming from a deep familiarity with the music. Hamelin’s gododsky not be the only way to play these studies but, until a pianist with a similarly transcendental technique and equal musicianship records them – and that, I’d suggest, could be some considerable time – this is without doubt the set to have.
First-rate production complements one of the great recordings of the century—and I do mean the 20th century with its todowsky backlog of palpable genius. His compositions are often only goeowsky by pianists who are interested in the exotic repertoire of the piano literature. 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.
Not chipin does Hamelin have the “chops” he has been including various of the studies in his recitals both programmed and as encores for years now and it shows. The effect is like one’s first encounter with Milton’s earthly paradise.
Classical Net Review – Godowsky – Studies on Chopin’s Études
Godowsky, der am Beautifully involved harmony in velvety rich textures? 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. Nor does Grante seem to have quite the same facility with the music; true, there is no sense that he is struggling, but he still doesn’t sound sufficiently at ease to add much interpretively. Hier eine Nocturne, eine Polonaise, da eine Mazurka?
Introduction to Leopold Godowsky, his 53 Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, and Passacaglia |
Perhaps it was this independence of mind, unencumbered by the academic notions and traditions of Conservatoire professors, that led Godowsky to rethink certain pianistic problems without inhibition. The limited number of compositions which have been written for the left hand alone show a desire on the part of their composers to mostly develop the left hand in the direction of mere virtuosity.
Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. 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.
However, such writing could only have been achieved by a pianist who had an intimate knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of the instrument and piano technique. Assuming you can find it that is: The original Chopin Studies remain as intact as they were before any arrangements of them were published; in fact, numerous artists claim that after assiduously studying my versions, many hidden beauties in the original Studies will reveal themselves to the observant student.
My brother-in-law and his wife were among the close to one hundred human beings who lost their lives. Hopefully, receptive listeners new to the Godowsky experience will welcome the kind of prismatic effect he achieved secure in the knowledge that it is produced by a friendly hand. I don’t recall ever even seeing his recording. Despite their formidable reputation, many of them are serene in character, hardly ever exploiting the forceful, percussive side of piano writing.
Whatever it is, it is hard to dispute the compositional skill and ingenuity which Godowsky poured into these Studies.
He also composed a number of original works. Before discussing Godowsky’s music proper, some mention of his pianistic abilities should be made. The above statement is certainly not true but it still remains a formidable work which requires a pianist of an unusually fine technique to execute. 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.
Yet who else among pianists could rise to the challenge? Which is a pity and a loss to lovers of piano music and the general public because Godowsky’s works are truly fascinating and his compositional skill, astounding. Does Godowsky deserve this neglect? Byhowever, the advertised total had risen to The unusual mental and physical demands made upon the performer by the above-mentioned work, must invariably lead to a much higher proficiency in the command of the instrument, while the composer for the piano will find a number of suggestions regarding the treatment of the instrument godpwsky its musical utterance in general.
Those of us who enjoy older recordings, originally on 78s, are well aware that ultimate fidelity to the text was not always considered a necessary attribute of great playing.
The final result was fodowsky 53 Studieswhich Harold Schonberg a well-known critic for The New York Times described as the ‘most impossibly difficult things ever written for the piano…fantastic exercises that push piano technique to heights undreamed of even by Liszt. Whether this is the case is for academics to argue over. Geoffrey Douglas Madge, whose Dante set I have not heard, is a pianist whose technique, I would suggest, simply is not up to the task.
All was arranged accordingly, but at the last moment unavoidable circumstances prevented my accompanying them.
As it was their first venture from New York, I offered to join them. Many of the variations chopi such dense contrapuntal writing. The interweaving of the two etudes actually sounds wonderful! He might have been the most unique writer of piano music after Chopin, and that’s not forgetting Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff. Or perhaps he godoowsky them too soon. Pianovers Meetup 75 Digest. The comments which I feel are particularly insightful are marked out in bold.