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. 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, Frederic Chopin, Marc-Andre Hamelin – Godowsky: Complete Studies on Chopin’s Etudes – Music.
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Introduction to Leopold Godowsky, his 53 Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, and Passacaglia
It is worth quoting at length: Home News Contacts Copyright. This is the third complete set to appear on record.
Figure 3 b A late variation of the Passacaglia. I gpdowsky this music is not for everybody; there will undoubtedly be those whose first, second and indeed last reaction will be “sacrilege!
This provides yet another explanation why these Studies have been neglected over eudes years: 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. So what’s the fuss?
Introduction to Leopold Godowsky, his 53 Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, and Passacaglia |
Check out the right hand parts of Figures 2 a and 2 b and compare it to Godowsky’s creation Figure 2 c. 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. 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.
As it was their first venture from New York, I offered to join them. Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults. Uniquely available on 2CDs, this will surely be the benchmark recording for all time. They also illustrate his ingenuity in writing music for the piano. It is impossible to think of another living pianist who could have carried off this enterprise with comparable success. Leopold Godowsky’s preface states his studies ” March Total duration: Those of 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.
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. 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 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.
Whatever it is, it is hard to dispute the compositional skill and ingenuity which Godowsky poured into these Studies. Few areas of the repertoire have such a notorious reputation for technical difficulty and audacious compositional invention. 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.
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. The American critic James Huneker, who saw some of the first Studies in manuscript inwisely advised others not to wonder whether Godowsky had treated Chopin with reverence.
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?
The fifty-three studies are to be considered in an equal degree suitable for concert purposes and private study. 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.
Taken as a whole, these Studies revolutionized piano writing and expanded the polyphonic and polyrhythmic capabilities of the instrument. The famous Etude Op.
Classical Net Review – Godowsky – Studies on Chopin’s Études
In case you didn’t watch the video, the Study is supposed to be played by the left hand only! 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.
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 were dropped, different ones substituted and additions made, that the final total of 53 was reached. Godowsky published 53 studies, although there are 54 recorded here there are two versions of the third study based on Op.
The ‘density’ of the writing gradually increases and a late variation goodowsky shown in Figure 3 b. It is worth quoting at length:. Perhaps the task of learning and mastering such a work is too unrewarding, which may be why the Passacaglia is not heard frequently in the concert hall today.
Yet, despite their difficulties, it is not flashy or showy music. Certainly on the basis of his dismal Busoni set recorded for Philips some 15 years ago, I would avoid him. Blumenfeld’s Etude for the Left Hand spectacularly recorded by Simon Barere and Georges Cziffra’s transcription of Flight of the Bumble Bee are two of the most demanding works for the left hand The effect is like one’s first encounter with Milton’s earthly paradise.
One may wonder why Chopin himself did not do it. 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.
It is therefore not difficult to understand why these pieces have earned the reputation of requiring Olympian feats of execution, and this helps to explain their general neglect as well as the critical abuse they have received from the time the first few were published.
I received the letter in the morning, and in the afternoon newspapers issued extras giving news of an appalling catastrophe, the most terrible railroad accident in the history of America, happening near Battle Creek, Michigan.
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. Many of the variations feature such dense contrapuntal writing. Not only does Hamelin have the “chops” he has been including various of the studies in his recitals both programmed and as encores for years now and it shows.
Essential for those who love Chopin and the art of playing the piano. Well, all that were written: The limited number of compositions which have been written for the left hand alone show a desire on the part of ethdes composers to mostly develop the left hand in the direction of mere virtuosity. All was arranged accordingly, but at the last moment unavoidable circumstances prevented ftudes accompanying them.
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.
Special remarks on the studies for the left hand alone In writing the twenty-two studies for the left hand alone, the author wishes to oppose the generally prevailing idea that the left hand is less responsive to development than the right.