Mar 24 2020

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. Leopold Godowsky. Studien über die Etüden von Chopin Studies on Chopin’s Études Études d’après Chopin. Zofia Chechlinska writes, “In the studies both parts. 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.

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Nor 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.

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 chief technical difficulty is that the long fingers must cross over each other without aid from the thumb to play the scales. The study has an unusual look on the page, as most of the notes are printed smaller than is ordinary, with the accented notes printed at full size.

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

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

Huneker notes, “it contains a remarkable passage of consecutive fifths that set the theorists by the ears. 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.


The left hand is 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.

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 without doubt the set to have.

Pachmann made an American Victor 78rpm of it. On a purely musical level these pieces seem overladen and I disagree with Frank Cooper’s assessment in the sleeve-note that they are ”rare and beautiful”. James Huneker writes, “Here is the new technique in all its nakedness, new in the sense of figure, design, pattern, web, new in a harmonic way.

Simon Finlow writes, “if still further evidence were needed of his exceptional pianistic insight, Chopin provides it at the end: Doesn’t look too hard after all, does it? He probably wrote an unpublished left-hand adaptation, which was lost when Godowsky fled Vienna at the onset of World War I.

Godowsky Studies on Chopin Etudes

At least one pianist Francesco Libetta has played the complete 53 Studies in concert two recitals in Milan, and A study in cantabile playing, with a melody that passes between the two hands.

A study in right-hand triplets. The fifty-three studies are to be considered in an equal degree suitable for concert purposes and private study. Turbulent, rapid descending etuds figurations in the right hand are contrasted with a slow, march-like bass in the left, which enforces strict playing in time.

They also illustrate his ingenuity in writing music for the piano. Because of the way consecutive arpeggios are staggered, some 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 godowsky-choopin hand.

Jedenfalls keiner, der so wenig formale Ausbildung erhalten hatte. Even twenty years ago, few of the studies had ever been recorded; it was rare indeed to find a pianist brave enough to include any in concert. It is worth quoting at length: One of two of them, and I think specifically here of the tenth etude A flat majorare pretty trite.


CD Review Leopold Godowsky. The top notes form a melodic line. Godowsky also arranged many works by J. Asks the pianist to play a left hand figure of wide extension up to a thirteenth. So what’s the fuss? Nonetheless, this is a great pianist and, more importantly a great mind, and odd minutes well spent.

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

The pianist must have lare reserves of power and endurance. Godowsky, der am Godowsky used the opening 8 measures of Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony as the theme, composed 44 variations based on it, of course, heaping difficulty upon difficulty on succeeding variations and concluded the work with a cadenza and a fugue. Beautifully involved harmony in velvety rich textures? Godowsky-chkpin case you didn’t watch the video, the Study is supposed to be played by the left hand only!

The eleven exercises Godowsky supplies include scales and runs for the weak three fingers.

Yet, despite their difficulties, it is not flashy or showy music. 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. Whether the genre-bending nature of this production really works is, I suspect, a matter of who you are as an audience.

The left hand groupings are more stable, so the metrical relations between the two hands is variant. The dynamic properties of the figuration are determined by the tonal space employed, by the rapidity of motion and by the density, which is intensified by the dissonances between the figurative lines. So Horowitz said of the Passacaglia.