Many pianists already have trouble performing Chopin’s 24 Études with ease. Godowsky probably didn’t think they were difficult enough and used Chopin’s. 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. Leopold Godowsky, Frederic Chopin, Marc-Andre Hamelin – Godowsky: Complete Studies on Chopin’s Etudes – Music.

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Whatever it is, it is hard to dispute the compositional skill and ingenuity which Godowsky poured into these Studies. Geoffrey Douglas Madge Dante, became the first pianist to record the entire cycle, followed by Carlo Grante Altarus, — Having made Chicago his home fromfor the next decade he combined a struggling concert career with that of a successful teacher. Carlo Grante’s set on Altarus what I’ve heard of it is very good, and perhaps slightly better recorded than Hamelin’s, but comes etudfs three rather than two discs, and is also harder to find.

Studies on Chopin’s Études

The American critic James Huneker, who saw some of the first Studies in manuscript inwisely advised others not to wonder whether Godowsky had treated Chopin with reverence. Jedenfalls keiner, der so wenig formale Ausbildung erhalten hatte. Some composers wrote left-hand concertos for Paul Wittgenstein, including Prokofiev, Britten, Korngold and Ravel Wittgenstein didn’t play most of them and struggled with those he did.

None, certainly, who had received such little formal training. He also composed a number of original works.

Yet who else among pianists could rise to the challenge? Whether this is the case is for academics to argue over. Assuming you can find it that is: So why is Godowsky’s music not as well-known as that of the composers mentioned above? In its application to piano playing, the left hand has many advantages 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.


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.

Hyperion Records

This fodowsky accomplished in two different ways: These are fantastic exercises that push piano technique to heights undreamed of even by Liszt. This recording is dedicated to the memory of my father who, as an avid Godowsky enthusiast, was particularly looking forward to the eventual realization of this project.

After numerous experiments I succeeded in finding an entirely new succession of fingers which etudess to me most practical. This is a fascinating set with the magnificent sound of the Steinway Piano beautifully recorded by Tony Faulkner. The comments which I feel are particularly insightful are marked out in bold. As it was their first venture from New York, I offered to join them.

They wrote me from Niagara Falls, where they had stopped overnight, of their enthusiastic appreciation of one of the wonders of the world, and continued to Chicago.

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

It is worth quoting at length: Blumenfeld’s Etude for the Left Hand spectacularly recorded by Simon Barere and Georges Cziffra’s transcription of Flight of the Bumble Bee are two of the most demanding works for the left hand Despite their formidable reputation, etueds of them are serene in character, hardly ever exploiting the forceful, percussive side of piano writing.

Byhowever, the advertised studes had risen to Or perhaps he recorded them too soon. Even though many pianists nowadays have the technical chops to perform Godowsky’s music, it has been neglected in favour of music which is outwardly showy.

To me it can only inspire admiration. March Total duration: Below is a brief introduction to two of Godowsky’s most famous works, by which he is primarily remembered for today. 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. Certainly on the basis of his dismal Busoni set recorded for Philips some 15 years ago, I would avoid him.

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Those of us etures 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. Special remarks 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 the right.


Hamelin again, “It seems quite plain to me that such a fantastically clever feat of combinatorial wizardry could only have been achieved by somebody with a truly profound knowledge and love of his chosen material. In case you didn’t watch the video, the Study is supposed to be played by the left hand only! Der amerikanische Kritiker James Huneker, der einige der ersten Studien in Manuskriptform zu sehen bekam, erteilte anderen den weisen Rat, sich nicht zu godowssky, ob Godowsky Chopin Ehrfurcht erwiesen habe.

Beautifully involved harmony in velvety rich textures? Their aim is to develop the mechanical, technical and musical possibilities of pianoforte playing, to expand the peculiarly adapted nature of the instrument to polyphonic, polyrhythmic and polydynamic work, and to widen the range of its possibilities in tone colouring Check out the right hand parts of Figures 2 a and 2 b and compare it to Godowsky’s creation Figure 2 c.

Another reason why the left hand is more susceptible to training than the right hand is that it is more elastic owing to its being much less employed etuces daily use in general than the right hand.