Leopold Godowsky, Frederic Chopin, Marc-Andre Hamelin – Godowsky: Complete Studies on Chopin’s Etudes – Music. 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. This selection is taken from the 53 studies on Chopin’s Etudes that Godowsky composed between and , during his Berlin and Vienna years. They are.

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Chopin obviously gave enough attention to dressing these etudes up in the kind of expression one finds more widely in his output, but the feeling that one is listening to a thorough, scientific examination of a particular technique is never far from the surface: Godowsky notes, “It is etues considerable advantage to practise most of the examples in all keys.

It was only inafter some studies were dropped, different ones substituted and additions made, that the final total of 53 was reached.

David Stanhope pianist and commentator Category: 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.

Obviously, Hamelin was born choin make Godowsky live for us. And in places the notes of the figuration create motives that counterpoint the main melody.

Studies on Chopin’s Études

Any one of these Studies may, for example, pit together two or even three strands of counterpoint, each with its own personality and demanding to be clearly differentiated.

The left hand groupings are more stable, so the metrical relations between the two hands is variant. The piece is rhythmically challenging, for although the figurations do not change in any substantial way, the right hand quavers are grouped sometimes in three, sometimes in twos, sometimes in syncopated twos, and sometimes in a continual uniform stacatto or legato line; these differences of articulation change the melodic line that emerges.

These and a further twenty-two studies were published in by Schlesinger and Schirmer, re-engraved with little change to the music but with commentary and, occasionally, revised fingerings and ossia readings.

TEN: Chopin Etudes Op. 10 and Godowsky, Studies on Chopin’s Etudes Op. 10

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. Successive repetitions of the figurative curves accumulate to produce a powerful sound whose apogee is reached at the end of the piece. Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.


Godowsky, der am Hamelin is, of course, one of the very few living pianists with the technique to play this music as it should be played: They are considered to be amongst the most taxing piano pieces ever written, and generally Ian Hobson does remarkably well in sorting out the myriad of polyphonic lines, juxta-position of complex rhythmic patterns and the excess of notes.

The left hand writing demands accurate chord playing with frequent leaps. 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.

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. Not surprisingly, Hobson’s valiant attempt at this horrendously difficult monstrosity lacks some fluency, but he rarely loses his cool.

Geoffrey Douglas Madge Dante, became the first pianist to record the entire cycle, followed by Carlo Grante Altarus, — 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 when he came to write his Concerto for the left hand.

Richard Wagner described Chopin as “a composer for the right hand” and Godowsky would probably have agreed with him. The arpeggiated right-hand chords, caught in the pedal, create alternating dissonances increasing to fortissimo and consonances diminishing to forte and build tension climactically. Indeed, the Godowsky etudes have the express intention of demonstrating that the left hand could do as etudew as the right hand could, to the extent of transcribing entire etudes solely for the left hand.

Skip to main content. Chopinn left-hand alone etudes are some of the most interesting things on this DVD, both musically and at the level of performance. A simple experiment, though, will suffice: Occasionally, the thumb is asked to play both a black grace note and the white key that follows it; it is difficult to suppress wrong accents. Because of the way consecutive arpeggios are staggered, goxowsky commentators have called this a study in alternating extension and contraction of the right hand, but in truth the best players probably do not much contract their hand.


I received the letter in the morning, and in the afternoon newspapers issued extras giving news of an appalling catastrophe, the most terrible railroad accident in the history of America, happening near Battle Creek, Michigan. There is etudee controversy over the best fingering of these interlocking chromatic thirds, often centered around the question of whether one can use the thumb etudee two successive white keys as Chopin’s fingering requires and still play an effective legato certainly an easier task on Chopin’s favorite Pleyel pianos than on modern instruments.

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

The left hand plays a cantabile melody, including a few rapid scales. This was accomplished in two different ways: I am almost tempted to say that what Stanhope says is more important than what he playsexcept that there is an evident symbiotic relationship between the two that means it is impossible to speak of one without the other. The preparatory exercises included in a number of the studies will be etuudes 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.

Jedenfalls keiner, der so wenig formale Ausbildung erhalten hatte. Godowsky’s Studies on Chopin’s Etudes have achieved a legendary status among piano enthusiasts. The figurations of both hands include rapid skips. Der amerikanische Kritiker James Huneker, der einige der ersten Studien in Manuskriptform zu sehen bekam, erteilte anderen den weisen Rat, sich nicht zu fragen, ob Godowsky Chopin Ehrfurcht erwiesen habe.

James Huneker writes, “The melody is morbid, almost irritating, and yet not without godoowsky accents of grandeur. This was republished with nine others in by Schirmer:.

Leopold Godowsky: 53 Studies on Chopin’s Études

Niecks writes, “The composer seems fuming with rage; the left hand rushes impetuously along and the right hand strikes in with passionate ejaculations. And who else could do so with such consummate artistry? 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.

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.