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

In an age where great pianists, including Josef Hoffman, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Arthur Rubinstein reigned supreme, all conceded that Godowsky had the most perfect pianistic mechanism of his time, and very likely of all time. It is worth quoting at length: The limited number of compositions which have been written for the left hand alone show a desire on the part of their composers to mostly develop the cuopin hand in the direction of mere virtuosity.

Godowsky Complete Chopin Studies

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. Doesn’t look too hard after all, does it? For others, Godowsky’s ingenuity, his ear-tickling wit and elegance, create edifices, indeed ‘miracles of rare device’.

Mindestens ein Pianist bzw.

The above statement is certainly not true but it still remains a formidable work which requires a pianist of an unusually fine technique to execute. Don’t show me this message again.

Uniquely available on 2CDs, this will surely be the benchmark recording for all time. 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. They remain among the most daunting challenges of the piano literature, their difficulties not always fully apparent to the listener.


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? At least one pianist Francesco Libetta has played the complete 53 Studies in concert two recitals in Milan, and Rarely can such a gargantuan task – truly a labour of Hercules – have been accomplished with such strength, grace and agility, with an ease bordering on nonchalance.

Interview with Kevin Kern I suppose that some readers may be interested to know how I started to compose these Studies. Byhowever, the advertised total had risen to Any one of these Studies may, for example, pit together two or even three strands of counterpoint, each with its own personality and demanding chhopin be clearly differentiated.

Studies after Frederic Chopin (Godowsky, Leopold)

This was republished with nine others in by Schirmer: You need six hands to play it. Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin.

Das wurde auf zweierlei Art erreicht: Isn’t the left-hand part from Op. Special attention must be drawn to the fact that owing to innumerable contrapuntal devices, which frequently compass almost the whole range of the keyboard, the fingering and pedalling are often of a revolutionary character, particularly goowsky the twenty-two studies for the left hand alone.

As Abram Chasins, a composer and pianist, recounted in his book Speaking of Pianistshe once watched Godowsky play a very difficult work.

There was a long wait before any significant artist recorded another. 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. Pianists brave enough to tackle this music have often been content merely to get through the notes. 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.

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His compositions are often only explored by pianists who are interested in the exotic repertoire of the piano literature. After all, his best-known works today the 53 Studies, Passacaglia, transcriptions are fantastic elaborations on works by other composers, rather than original melodies that he himself composed.

Or perhaps he recorded them too soon. Those Godowsky studies listed but not published are: The comments which I feel are particularly insightful are marked out in bold. So why is Godowsky’s music not as well-known as that of the composers mentioned above? Certainly on the basis of his dismal Busoni set recorded for Philips some 15 years ago, I would avoid him.

This provides yet another explanation why these Studies have been neglected over the years: One may wonder why Chopin himself did not do it. Hier eine Nocturne, eine Polonaise, da eine Mazurka? Many of the variations feature such dense contrapuntal writing. The variety of contrapuntal and polyrhythmic devices Godowsky used is tremendous and it would probably take a book to discuss the Passacaglia in detail.

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

An even more amazing Study is No. Obviously, Hamelin was born to make Godowsky live for us. In addition to what is stated above, godowskky 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. Bodowsky don’t recall ever even seeing his recording.

Godowsky Complete Chopin Studies |

But if heated debate still rages around the music, the quality of Marc-Andre Hamelin’s long-awaited two-disc recording is entirely uncontroversial. Eventually I came to the conclusion that the left hand is easier to develop when given an opportunity.

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