Godowsky probably didn’t think they were difficult enough and used Chopin’s Études as a template to write new works. The final result was the 53 Studies, which. 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. Studien über die Etüden von Chopin Studies on Chopin’s Études Études d’après Chopin. Zofia Chechlinska writes, “In the studies both parts.

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It is well known that Chopin was very fond of the violoncello and that in his piano compositions he imitated the style of passages peculiar to that instrument.

Introduction to Leopold Godowsky, his 53 Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, and Passacaglia

Hamelin again, “It seems quite plain to me that such a fantastically clever feat of combinatorial wizardry could only have been achieved by somebody with a truly profound knowledge and love of his chosen material.

It was only inafter some studies godowdky dropped, different ones substituted and additions made, that the final total of 53 was reached. Dynamics also vary frequently.

Geoffrey Douglas Madge Dante, became the first pianist to record the entire cycle, followed by Carlo Grante Altarus, — The left hand plays a cantabile melody, including a few rapid scales.

In these repetitions, however, changes of accentuation, fresh modulations, and piquant antitheses, serve to make the composition extremely vivacious and effective. The name Leopold Godowsky is rarely mentioned when one talks about favourite composers who wrote piano works.

Godowsky’s Studies on Chopin’s Etudes have achieved a legendary status among piano enthusiasts. Isn’t the left-hand part from Op. 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. Whatever it is, it is hard to dispute the compositional skill and ingenuity which Godowsky poured into these Studies.

You need six hands to play it. 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. Despite their formidable reputation, many of them are serene in character, hardly ever exploiting the forceful, percussive side of piano writing.

Those Godowsky studies listed but not published are: 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. A study in cantabile playing, with a melody that passes between the two hands.

Godowsky made every effort to make one hand sound like two—many of the Studies actually require chhopin 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.


In the E major midsection, the arpeggiated right hand part changes rhythm from duplets to triplets to quadruplets, and the two hands share a melodic inner voice while the left hand plays godowskt and the right hand plays rapid figurations; this passage has prompted comparisons with Sigismond Thalberg’s favorite compositional trick, the clever simulation of three-handed etuses.

Studies after Frederic Chopin (Godowsky, Leopold)

Zofia Chechlinska notes, “the figuration is now located in both hands and is fused into a single layer, while the bottom notes bring out the melodic line. Which is a pity and a chlpin to lovers of piano music and the general public because Godowsky’s works are truly fascinating and his compositional skill, astounding.

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.

Richard Wagner described Chopin as “a composer for the right hand” and Godowsky would probably have agreed with him. I suppose this music is not for everybody; there will undoubtedly be those whose first, second and indeed last reaction will be “sacrilege!

Throughout all the harmonies one always heard in great tones a wondrous melody, while once only, in the middle of the piece, besides that chief song, a tenor voice became prominent in the midst of chords.

James Huneker asked, “Were ever Beauty and Duty so mated in double harness? 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. I have never heard such playing before. So Horowitz said of the Passacaglia.

The left hand takes some perilous leaps to delineate its two voices, especially near the end. At least one pianist Francesco Libetta has played the complete 53 Studies in concert two recitals in Milan, and 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. Theodor Kullak writes, “The whole piece is a song, or, better still, an aria, in dtudes two principal voices are to be brought out; the upper one is in imitation of a human voice, while the lower one must bear the character throughout of an obligato violoncello.

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. This was accomplished in two different ways: Godowsky has been accused of sacrilege for writing these Studies, i.


Beautifully involved harmony in velvety rich textures? He probably wrote an unpublished left-hand adaptation, which was lost when Godowsky fled Vienna at the onset of World War I. It is worth quoting at length: This recording is dedicated to the memory of my father who, as an avid Godowsky enthusiast, was particularly looking forward to the eventual realization of this project. 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.

This piece looks striking on the printed page, with its clusters of chords and roll-markings. Jedenfalls keiner, der so wenig formale Ausbildung erhalten hatte. Can you find the melodic line of the theme?

Asks the pianist to play a left hand figure of wide extension up to a thirteenth. It ends with a rapid scale in both hands. 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.

Chopin provides no pedal markings, but careful use of pedal is essential.

Leopold Godowsky: 53 Studies on Chopin’s Études

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 arpeggiated right-hand chords, caught in the pedal, create alternating dissonances increasing to fortissimo and consonances diminishing to forte and build tension climactically. The fifty-three studies are to be considered in an equal degree suitable for concert purposes and private study.

The original Chopin Studies remain as intact as they were before any arrangements of etuddes 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. 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 godkwsky, and very likely of all time.

The inventiveness displayed in these particular Studies in the areas of polyphony, godoesky, physical configurations and fingering, is nothing short of staggering, and was a source of great inspiration to Ravel when he came ftudes write his Concerto for the left hand. The left hand plays a less frenetic legato melody of its own.