Godowsky’s Studies on Chopin’s Etudes have achieved a legendary status among piano enthusiasts. Few areas of the repertoire have such a notorious. Small wonder, then, that Godowsky’s crowning achievement was his 53 studies based on 26 Chopin Etudes, 22 of them for the left hand alone. As Godowsky. Few, however, went anything like as far as Leopold Godowsky () whose 53 Studies on the √Čtudes of Chopin have received a fair amount of bad press.

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Those of us who enjoy older recordings, originally on 78s, cho;in well aware that ultimate fidelity to the text was not always considered a necessary attribute of great playing.

In its application to piano playing the left hand has many advantages over gidowsky right hand and it would suffice to enumerate but a few of these to convince the student chopiin it is vodowsky fallacy to deem the left hand less adaptable to training than the right hand.

Der amerikanische Kritiker James Huneker, der einige der ersten Studien in Manuskriptform zu sehen bekam, erteilte anderen den weisen Rat, sich nicht zu fragen, ob Godowsky Chopin Ehrfurcht erwiesen habe.

Beautifully involved harmony in velvety rich textures? I don’t recall ever even seeing his recording. 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.

After numerous experiments I succeeded in finding an entirely new succession of fingers which appeared to me most practical. Those Godowsky studies listed but not published are: Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.


GODOWSKY Studies on Chopin

Before discussing Godowsky’s music proper, some mention of his pianistic abilities should be made. Few areas of the repertoire have such a notorious reputation for technical difficulty and audacious compositional invention. 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 godowskt generally having the strongest fingers for the strongest parts of a melody.

Below is a brief introduction to two of Godowsky’s most famous works, by which he is primarily remembered for today.

None, certainly, who had received such little formal training. And secondly, the Studies for the left hand alone, which number twenty-two and which can truly be said to have revolutionalized piano-writing for a single hand. This was republished with nine others in by Schirmer:.

In the more complicated variations, among the mass of notes, Schubert’s simple theme can almost always be found and should clearly be heard amidst the whirlwind of sound as a result of the decorative writing. Even though many pianists nowadays have the technical chops to perform Godowsky’s music, it has been neglected in favour of music which is outwardly showy. Home News Contacts Copyright. 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.

March Total duration: Isn’t the left-hand part from Op. To me it can only inspire admiration. As Abram Chasins, a composer and pianist, recounted in his book Speaking of Pianistshe once watched Godowsky play a very difficult work.

An even more amazing Study is No. As it was their first venture from New York, I offered to join them.

Studies after Frederic Chopin (Godowsky, Leopold)

The inventiveness displayed in these particular Studies in the areas of polyphony, counterpoint, physical configurations and fingering, is nothing short of staggering, and was a source of great inspiration to Ravel when he came to write his Concerto for the left hand.


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

A performance of the Passacaglia is shown in the embedded YouTube Video below: So what’s the fuss? 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 in the twenty-two studies for the left hand alone.

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

Studies on Chopin’s √Čtudes – Wikipedia

If you are indifferent or worse, offendedthen this music is not for you. These and a further twenty-two studies were published in godowskky Schlesinger and Schirmer, re-engraved with little change to the music but with commentary and, occasionally, revised fingerings and ossia readings. 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.

Eventually I came to the conclusion that the left hand is easier to develop when given an opportunity. The site is also available in several languages.

Last modified: January 1, 2020