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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Born in Sozly near Vilnius Wilno, now in Lithuaniaon 13 February chopni, Godowsky remains unique as the only great classical virtuoso in keyboard history to be self-taught.

Byhowever, the advertised total had risen to The fifty-three studies are to be considered in an equal degree suitable for concert purposes and private study. 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.

Despite their formidable reputation, many of them are serene in character, hardly ever exploiting the forceful, percussive side of piano writing. Bach violin sonatas, cello suitesSchubert Lieder and other composers for solo piano. Has any other composer ever produced works of such a revolutionary nature for the piano at such an early age?

He provided govowsky over the years with many interesting ideas and comments—all stemming from a deep familiarity with the music. Beautifully involved harmony in velvety rich textures? Certainly on the basis of his dismal Busoni set recorded for Philips some 15 years ago, I would avoid him.

Hyperion Records

So why is Godowsky’s music chopn as well-known as that of the composers mentioned above? The theme is in the left hand, while the right hand introduces counter melodies. Godowsky also arranged many works by J.

Whether this is the case is for academics to argue over. This is the third complete set to appear on record. With the exception of the music of Chopib Shapurji Sorabji, I know of no segment of the repertoire to have achieved such a legendary status, godosky even a casual perusal of the scores will help understand why.


The site is also available in several languages. Hamelin is, of course, one of the very few living pianists with the technique to play this music as it should be played: Obviously, Hamelin was born to make Godowsky live for us.

Godowsky’s Studies on Chopin’s Etudes have achieved a legendary status among piano enthusiasts. In an age where great pianists, including Josef Hoffman, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Hcopin Rubinstein reigned supreme, all conceded that Godowsky had the most perfect pianistic mechanism of his time, and very likely of all time.

Check out the chopi hand parts of Figures 2 a and 2 b and compare it to Godowsky’s creation Figure 2 c. Figure 3 b A late variation of the Passacaglia.

GODOWSKY Studies on Chopin |

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. Having made Goowsky his home fromfor the next decade he combined a struggling concert career with that of a successful teacher. In its application to piano playing, the left hand has many chopun over the right hand and it would suffice to enumerate but a few of these to convince the student that it is a fallacy to deem the left hand less adaptable to training than the right hand.

Does Godowsky deserve this neglect? After all, his best-known works gocowsky the 53 Studies, Passacaglia, transcriptions are fantastic elaborations on works by other composers, rather than original melodies that he himself composed. There was a long wait before any significant artist recorded another.

Hier eine Nocturne, eine Polonaise, da eine Mazurka? 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.


Copin a number of the originals feature more than once and one, Op. Whatever it is, it is godowxky to dispute the compositional skill and ingenuity which Godowsky poured into these Studies. 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. Any one of these Studies may, for example, pit together two or even three strands godowsly counterpoint, each with its own personality and demanding to be clearly differentiated.

Introduction to Leopold Godowsky, his 53 Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, and Passacaglia

Assuming you can find it that is: The variety of contrapuntal and polyrhythmic devices Godowsky used is tremendous and it would probably take a book to discuss the Passacaglia in detail. Geoffrey Douglas Madge Dante, became the first pianist to record the entire cycle, followed by Carlo Grante Altarus, — None, certainly, who had received such little formal training. Given that much of the music Godowsky wrote is “derived” from other composers, should we speak of him as a composer or as a great writer of piano music?

Far from being disrespectful maltreatments of Chopin’s masterpieces, Godowsky’s elaborations aim to extend the limits of modern piano technique. Out of the 53 Studies, 22 are for the left hand alone and Godowsky’s comments on these Studies are worth quoting in full. 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.