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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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.
Godowsky Complete Chopin Studies |
Those goodwsky 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. Obviously, Hamelin was born to make Godowsky live for us. Perhaps because he was equipped with such an all-encompassing technique, he wrote music that is technically very difficult to execute, though it is never difficult for the sake of it more below.
I don’t recall ever even seeing godowxky recording.
Hamelin is, of course, one of the very few living pianists with the technique to play this music as it should be played: 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.
This was the first significant body of left-hand piano music and Ravel studied it extensively while composing his Concerto. 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.
So Horowitz said of the Passacaglia.
It is worth quoting at length:. 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. CD Review Leopold Godowsky. Godowsky has been accused of sacrilege for writing these Studies, i. 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.
His compositions are often only explored by pianists who are interested in godowksy exotic repertoire of the piano literature.
Introduction to Leopold Godowsky, his 53 Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, and Passacaglia |
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.
Out of the 53 Studies, 22 are for the left hand alone and Godowsky’s comments on these Choopin are worth quoting in full. Home News Contacts Copyright. And who else could do so with such consummate artistry? 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.
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 todowsky of suggestions regarding the treatment of the instrument and its musical utterance in general.
Godowsky Complete Chopin Studies
Despite their formidable reputation, many of them are serene in character, hardly ever exploiting the forceful, percussive side of piano writing. Yet, despite their difficulties, it is not flashy or showy music. 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. The all-time greats Read about the artists who changed the world of classical music.
None, certainly, who had received such little formal training. Geoffrey Douglas Madge, whose Dante set I have not heard, is cgopin pianist whose technique, I would suggest, simply is not up to the task. Has any other composer ever produced works of such a revolutionary nature for the piano at such an early age?
The resulting music is some of the most fearsomely difficult ever to be composed for the keyboard – indeed, Godowsky also went so far as to compose a number of “warm up” studies, for the pianist to use beforehand.
Or perhaps he recorded them too soon. Whatever it is, it is hard cjopin dispute the compositional skill and ingenuity which Godowsky poured into these Studies. His rubato in No 15 is magical yet as natural as breathing, and his silken dexterity in No 17 reminds us of his assertion in the superb accompanying notes that there are more demands for pianissimo than fortissimo.
A simple experiment, though, will suffice: This provides yet another explanation why these Studies have been neglected over the years: Interview with Kevin Kern