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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Imagine slogging to learn and perfect this Study, only to appear doing nothing very much to an audience while performing it!

They wrote me from Niagara Falls, where they had stopped overnight, of their enthusiastic appreciation of one of the wonders of the world, and continued to Chicago.

This is a fascinating set with the magnificent sound of the Steinway Piano beautifully recorded by Tony Faulkner.

Jede einzelne dieser Studien kann zum Beispiel zwei oder sogar drei kontrapunktische Linien zusammen ansetzen, deren jede einen eigenen Charakter hat und die klare Differenzierung erfordern. 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.

This was accomplished in two different ways: The limited number of compositions which have been written for the left hand alone godowskky a desire on the part godpwsky their composers to mostly develop the left hand in the direction of mere virtuosity. After numerous experiments I succeeded in finding an entirely new succession of fingers which appeared to me most practical.

Studies on Chopin’s Études – Wikipedia

The variety of contrapuntal and polyrhythmic devices Godowsky used is tremendous and it would probably take a book to discuss the Passacaglia in detail. The first four measures of Chopin-Godowsky Study No. But for anyone who can break out of the “purist” mentality, this set contains some simply magnificent pianism and reveals Godowsky’s studies to be worthy of performance in their own right as wonderfmusic.

This was republished with nine others in by Schirmer: 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.



Figure 3 b A late variation of the Passacaglia. This is the third complete set to appear on record. You need six hands to play it. 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.

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.

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

Many pianists from the “Golden Age” were particularly godows,y of “improving” Chopin by, for example, playing tricky passages in thirds Josef Hoffman’s godowsly recording of the “Minute” Waltz is a good example.

Leopold Godowsky’s preface states his studies ” 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?

Here a nocturne, a polonaise, there a mazurka?

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. Byhowever, the advertised total had risen to Does Godowsky deserve this neglect?

And who else could do so with such consummate artistry? He also composed a number of original works. Assuming you can find it that is: Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser gpdowsky a recent version or update your Flash plugin. However, such gpdowsky could only have been achieved by a pianist who had an intimate knowledge of eetudes possibilities and limitations of the instrument and piano technique.

Uniquely available on 2CDs, this will surely be the benchmark recording for all time.

Hyperion Records

Check out the right hand parts of Figures 2 a and 2 b and compare it to Godowsky’s creation Figure 2 c. 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.


Godowsky was probably unequalled in independence of hands, equality of finger and his ability to delineate polyphonic strands. It is worth quoting at length: Whether this is the case is for academics to argue over. I have never heard such playing before. To me it can only inspire admiration. Their aim is to develop the mechanical, technical and musical possibilities of pianoforte playing, to expand the peculiarly adapted nature of the instrument to polyphonic, polyrhythmic and polydynamic work, and to widen the range of its possibilities in tone colouring The fifty-three studies are to be considered in an equal degree suitable for concert purposes and private study.

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.

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

Hamelin delivers on every level: Has any other composer ever produced works of such a revolutionary nature for the piano at such an early age? Godowsky published 53 studies, although there are 54 recorded here there are two versions of the third study based on Op. Godowsky’s Studies on Chopin’s Etudes have achieved a legendary status among piano enthusiasts. I suppose that some readers may be interested to know how I started to compose these Studies.

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.

Far from being disrespectful maltreatments of Chopin’s masterpieces, Godowsky’s elaborations aim to extend the limits of modern piano technique.