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 don’t recall ever even seeing his recording.
Introduction to Leopold Godowsky, his 53 Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, and Passacaglia |
As Abram Chasins, a composer and godosky, recounted in his book Speaking of Pianistshe once watched Godowsky play a very difficult work. One may wonder why Chopin himself did not do it. Home News Contacts Copyright. There was a long wait before any significant artist recorded another.
Jedenfalls keiner, der so wenig formale Ausbildung erhalten hatte. The preparatory exercises included in a number of the studies chopinn be found helpful in developing a mechanical mastery over the pianoforte by applying them to the original Chopin studies as well as to the above-mentioned versions.
Yet, despite their difficulties, it is not flashy or showy music. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.
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.
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. They remain among the most daunting challenges of the piano literature, their difficulties not always fully apparent to the listener. Below is a brief introduction to two of Godowsky’s most famous works, by which he is primarily remembered for today.
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. 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 and its musical utterance in general.
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. Das wurde auf zweierlei Art erreicht: In the more complicated variations, among the mass of cholin, Schubert’s simple theme can almost always be found and should clearly be heard amidst the whirlwind of sound as a result of the decorative writing.
It is therefore not difficult to understand why these pieces have earned the reputation of requiring Olympian feats of execution, and this helps to explain their general neglect as well as the critical abuse they have received from the time the first few were published. This was republished with nine others in by Schirmer:.
GODOWSKY Studies on Chopin |
After numerous experiments I succeeded in finding an entirely new succession of fingers which appeared to me most practical. Many of the variations feature such dense contrapuntal writing.
Assuming you can find it that is: 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 godowky the right hand.
Figure 3 b A late variation xhopin the Passacaglia. Or perhaps he recorded them too soon. 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. Given that much cyopin 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?
This is the third complete set to appear on record. 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. The name Leopold Godowsky is rarely mentioned when one talks about favourite composers who wrote piano works. Mindestens ein Pianist bzw. I suppose this music is not for everybody; there will undoubtedly be those whose first, second and indeed last reaction will be “sacrilege!
The fifty-three studies are to be considered in an equal degree suitable for concert purposes and private study. Before discussing Godowsky’s music proper, some mention of his pianistic abilities should be made.
It is worth quoting at length: First-rate production complements one of the great recordings of the century—and I do mean the 20th century with its whelming backlog of palpable genius. Hamelin is, of course, one of the very few living pianists with the technique to play this music as it should be played: Godowsky also arranged many works by J. You need six hands to play it. Godowsky made every effort to make one hand sound like two—many of the Studies actually require two staves for their notation—and in doing so he hoped to inspire other composers to extend this principle to both hands to enrich piano-writing even more.
Godowsky’s Studies on Chopin’s Etudes have achieved a legendary status among piano enthusiasts. Hamelin’s may 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.
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. The final result was the 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.
Despite their formidable reputation, many of them are serene in character, hardly ever exploiting the forceful, percussive side of piano writing. The interweaving of the two etudes actually sounds wonderful!