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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Before discussing Godowsky’s music proper, some mention of his pianistic abilities should be made. Yet, despite their difficulties, it is not flashy or showy music. They wrote me from Niagara Falls, where they had stopped overnight, of their enthusiastic etjdes of one of the wonders of the world, and continued to Chicago. The left hand etuxes favoured by nature in having the stronger part of the hand for the upper voice of all double notes and chords and also by generally having the strongest fingers for the strongest parts of a melody.

Figure 3 b A late variation of the Passacaglia. Etudss 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.

This is a fascinating set with the magnificent sound of the Steinway Piano beautifully recorded by Tony Faulkner. A performance of the Passacaglia is shown in the embedded YouTube Video below: Out of the 53 Studies, 22 are for the left hand alone and Godowsky’s comments on these Studies are worth quoting in full. As such, there has been a shortage of recordings and performances of Godowsky’s music.

Richard Wagner described Chopin as “a composer for the right hand” and Godowsky would probably have agreed with him. They remain among the most daunting challenges of the piano literature, their difficulties not always fully apparent to the listener. Fodowskyhowever, the advertised total had risen to Despite their formidable reputation, many of them are serene in character, hardly ever exploiting etudees forceful, percussive side of piano writing.


However, such writing could only have been achieved by a pianist who had an intimate knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of godowsy instrument and piano technique. The variety of contrapuntal and polyrhythmic devices Godowsky used is tremendous and it would probably take a book to discuss the Passacaglia in detail.

Bach violin sonatas, cello suitesSchubert Lieder and other composers for solo piano. This is the third complete set to appear on record. In an age where great pianists, including Josef Hoffman, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Arthur Rubinstein reigned supreme, all conceded that Godowsky had the most perfect pianistic mechanism of his time, and very likely of all time.

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. Having made Chicago his home fromfor the next decade he combined a struggling concert career with that of a successful teacher.

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


You need six hands to play it. A simple experiment, though, will suffice: The metal masters of these were destroyed by RCA the metal was needed for shell-cases! 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.

Godowsky also arranged many works by J. 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 in daily use in general than the right hand. 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.

Far from being disrespectful maltreatments of Chopin’s masterpieces, Godowsky’s elaborations aim to extend the limits of modern piano technique. Godowsky was probably unequalled in independence of hands, equality of finger and his ability to delineate godwsky strands.


This was republished with nine others in by Schirmer: 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 on three rather than two discs, and is also harder to find. Pianists brave enough to tackle this music have often been content merely to get through the notes.

Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults. This was the first significant body of left-hand piano music and Ravel studied it extensively while composing his Concerto. Well, all that were written: One may wonder why Chopin himself did not do etuds. Or perhaps he recorded them too soon.

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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. In case you didn’t watch the video, the Study is supposed to be played by the left hand only! This was republished with nine others in by Etdues.

Studies after Frederic Chopin (Godowsky, Leopold)

Pianovers Meetup 1 Digest. Imagine etudees to learn and perfect this Study, only to appear doing nothing very much to an audience while performing it! The resulting music is some of the most fearsomely difficult ever to be composed for the keyboard – indeed, Ethdes also went so far as to compose a number of “warm up” studies, for the pianist to use beforehand.

I don’t recall ever even seeing his recording. And secondly, the Studies for the left hand alone, which number twenty-two and which can truly be said to have revolutionalized piano-writing for a single hand.