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Godowsky’s Studies on Chopin’s Etudes have achieved a legendary status among piano enthusiasts. Few areas of the repertoire have such a notorious. 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. Godowsky’s 53 studies on Chopin’s 27 studies are the ne plus ultra of romantic intricacy. Godowsky’s wily disclaimer that, far from wanting to ‘improve’ on.

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He might have been the most unique writer of piano music after Chopin, and that’s not forgetting Liszt, Debussy and Rachmaninoff.

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. One may wonder why Chopin himself did not do it. You need six hands to play it.

Assuming you can godowky it that is: I don’t recall ever even seeing his recording. 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. There was a long wait before any significant artist recorded another. Many of the studies are fairly straight transcriptions, particularly the left hand ones, but most of them either add extra subjects in counterpoint, transpose the function of the hands in the original – as in the first of all, a majestic reworking of Op.

To me it can only inspire admiration. Not only 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.

GODOWSKY Studies on Chopin

At least one pianist Francesco Libetta has played the complete 53 Studies in concert two recitals in Milan, and Perhaps the task of learning and mastering such a work is too unrewarding, which may be why the Passacaglia is not heard frequently in the concert hall today.

The American critic James Huneker, who saw some of the first Studies in manuscript inwisely advised others not to wonder ggodowsky Godowsky had treated Chopin with reverence. The inventiveness displayed in these particular Studies in the areas of polyphony, counterpoint, physical configurations and fingering, is nothing short of staggering, and was a source of great inspiration to Ravel vodowsky he came to write his Concerto for the left hand.

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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 preparatory exercises included in a number of the studies will 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. 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.

Jedenfalls keiner, der so wenig formale Ausbildung erhalten hatte. 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.

Certainly on the basis of his dismal Busoni set recorded for Philips some 15 years ago, I would avoid him. So why is Godowsky’s music not as well-known godowsiy that of the composers mentioned above? But if heated debate still rages around the music, the quality of Marc-Andre Hamelin’s long-awaited two-disc recording is entirely uncontroversial. Any one of these Studies may, for example, pit together two or even three strands of counterpoint, each with its goodowsky personality and demanding to be clearly differentiated.

His compositions are often only explored by pianists who are interested in the exotic repertoire of the piano literature. Geoffrey Douglas Madge Dante, became the first pianist to record choin entire cycle, followed by Carlo Grante Altarus, — This is the third complete set to appear on record. Whatever it is, it is hard to dispute the compositional skill and ingenuity which Godowsky poured into these Studies.

Readers suspicious of this dazzling enterprise should try Etudes Nos 1, 7, 14, 25, 33, 42 and 45 to see whether they possess a true taste for decadence. Far from being disrespectful maltreatments of Chopin’s masterpieces, Godowsky’s elaborations aim to extend the limits of modern piano technique.

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Studies on Chopin’s Études

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The site is also available in several languages. Ce godowskj David Saperton, le gendre de Godowsky, qui enregistra dix transcriptions en avec quelques autres compositions de Godowsky. Those Godowsky studies listed but not published are: And if Hamelin is playful and seductive in the wickedly piquant Mazurka of No 34, he unleashes a positively elemental force in No 42, for him ‘a cataclysmic amplification’ of the so-called ‘Winter Wind’ that makes even the strongest muscles cry out for mercy.

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Studies on Chopin’s Études – Wikipedia

Godowwky was the first significant body of left-hand piano music and Ravel studied it extensively while composing his Concerto. Such difficult music is probably out of reach technically for most of us, but it is nonetheless a fascinating experience exploring, listening to and appreciating the music written by one of the most unique figures in the history of the piano.

In lesser hands these Etudes can seem overweight, so bedecked with finery that they can scarcely move. None, certainly, who had received such little formal training. So Horowitz said of the Passacaglia.

Godowsky’s 53 studies on Chopin’s 27 studies are the ne plus ultra of romantic intricacy. Many pianists from the “Golden Age” were particularly fond of “improving” Chopin by, for example, playing tricky passages in thirds Josef Hoffman’s s recording of the “Minute” Waltz is a good example. Pianists brave enough to tackle this music have often been content merely to get through the notes.

The variety of contrapuntal and polyrhythmic devices Godowsky used is tremendous and it would probably take a book to discuss the Passacaglia in detail.

Classical Net Review – Godowsky – Studies on Chopin’s Études

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 cgopin doubt the set to have. 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.

The prospective pianist is confronted with unexpected levels of difficulty, mostly concerned with mental challenges seldom if ever encountered anywhere else in the repertoire, requiring unflinching concentration and true dedication in order that all details are clearly presented and articulated.

His velocity transforms No 1 into a ‘runaway chorale’ with a vengeance, and how he revels in No 7, where Godowsky turns Xhopin topsy-turvy, creating a confection as delightful as upside-down pineapple cake.

He also composed a number of original works.