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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CD Review Leopold Godowsky. Obviously a number of the originals feature more than once and one, Op. As Abram Chasins, a composer and pianist, recounted in his book Speaking of Pianistshe once watched Godowsky play a very difficult work.

They also illustrate his ingenuity in writing music for the piano. Given that much of 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?

Certainly on the basis of his dismal Busoni set recorded for Philips some erudes years ago, I would avoid him.

Figure 3 b A late variation of the Passacaglia. Das wurde auf zweierlei Art erreicht: This is a fascinating set with the magnificent sound of the Steinway Piano beautifully recorded by Tony Faulkner. Geoffrey Douglas Madge Dante, became the first pianist to record the entire cycle, followed by Carlo Grante Altarus, — Godowsky, der am The original Chopin Studies remain as intact as they were before any arrangements of them were published; in fact, numerous artists claim that after assiduously studying my versions, many hidden beauties in the original Studies will reveal themselves to the observant student.


Many of the todowsky 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.

Studies on Chopin’s Études

Mindestens ein Pianist bzw. Leopold Godowsky’s preface states his studies ” Imagine slogging to learn and perfect this Study, only to appear doing nothing very much to an audience while performing 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. The interweaving of the two etudes actually sounds wonderful!

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

Perhaps it was this independence of mind, unencumbered by the academic notions and traditions of Godowskky professors, that led Godowsky to rethink certain pianistic problems without inhibition. Pianists brave enough to tackle this music have often been content merely to get through the notes.

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 godowsjy and it shows.

Being averse to any tampering with the text of any master work when played in the original form, I would condemn any artist for taking liberties with the works of Chopin or any other great composer. Doesn’t look too hard after all, does it?

Hyperion Records

At least one pianist Francesco Libetta has played the complete 53 Studies in concert two recitals in Milan, and Hamelin delivers on every level: In case you didn’t watch the video, the Study is supposed to be played by the left hand only! Byhowever, the advertised total had risen to As it was their first venture from New York, I offered to join them. The work opens innocently enough, with the theme presented in both hands first 8 barsand it is followed immediately by the 1st variation Figure 3 a.


March Total duration: His compositions are often only explored by pianists who are interested in the exotic repertoire of the piano literature. 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.

Isn’t the left-hand part from Op. The fifty-three studies are to be considered in an equal degree suitable for concert purposes and private study.

Far from being disrespectful maltreatments of Chopin’s masterpieces, Godowsky’s elaborations godowsmy to extend the limits of modern piano technique. A simple experiment, though, will suffice: He provided me over the years with many interesting ideas and comments—all stemming from a deep familiarity with the music.

The first four measures of Chopin-Godowsky Study No.

It is impossible to think of another living pianist who could have carried off this enterprise with comparable success.