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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An even more amazing Study is No. Godowsky has been accused of sacrilege for writing these Studies, i. This was republished with nine others in by Schirmer: Out of the 53 Studies, 22 are for the left hand alone and Godowsky’s comments on these Studies are worth quoting in full.

Or perhaps he recorded them too soon. Despite their formidable reputation, many of them are serene in character, hardly ever exploiting the forceful, percussive side of piano writing.

But for anyone who choopin 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. Hamelin is, of course, one of the very few living pianists with the technique to play this music as it should be played: In chppin age where great pianists, including Josef Hoffman, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Arthur Rubinstein reigned supreme, gosowsky conceded that Godowsky had the most perfect pianistic mechanism of his time, and very likely of all time.

Studies after Frederic Chopin (Godowsky, Leopold)

There was a long wait before any significant artist recorded another. 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. He also composed a number of original works. 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.


Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads choopin a number of formats. Below is a brief introduction to two of Godowsky’s govowsky famous works, by which he is primarily remembered for today.

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. A performance of the Passacaglia is shown in the embedded YouTube Video below: Godowsky’s Studies on Chopin’s Etudes have achieved a legendary status among piano enthusiasts. The final result was the 53 Studieswhich Harold Schonberg a well-known critic for The New York Times described as the ‘most impossibly difficult things ever written for the piano‚Ķfantastic exercises that push piano technique to heights undreamed of even by Liszt.

Not only does Hamelin have the “chops” he has been including various of the studies in chopi recitals both programmed and as encores for years now and it shows. Hier eine Nocturne, eine Polonaise, da eine Mazurka?

GODOWSKY Studies on Chopin |

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. Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.

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. I suppose this music is not for everybody; there will undoubtedly be those whose first, second and indeed last reaction will be “sacrilege!

The interweaving of the two etudes godowaky sounds wonderful! It was only inafter some studies were dropped, different ones substituted and additions made, that the final total of 53 was reached.

Can you find the melodic line of the theme? The fifty-three studies are to be considered in an equal degree suitable for concert purposes and private study. 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.

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.

Yet who else among pianists could rise to the challenge? I suppose that some readers may chopni interested to know how I started to compose these Studies.


Some recast Chopin’s right-hand passagework for the godowsoy hand while introducing new contrapuntal ideas; some treat the originals more freely, inverting, imitating or combining two Etudes; others are character pieces or variations based on Chopin’s originals; and twenty-two of the Studies are for the left hand alone.

Check out the right hand parts of Figures 2 a and 2 b and compare it to Godowsky’s creation Figure 2 c.

Hyperion Records

Home News Contacts Copyright. Interview with John Perry Far from being disrespectful maltreatments of Chopin’s masterpieces, Godowsky’s elaborations aim to extend the limits of modern piano technique.

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 then transposed the Study to the left hand to see whether the same fingering could be applied to it: 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.

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 number of suggestions regarding the treatment of the instrument and its musical utterance in general.

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 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.

The ‘density’ of copin writing gradually increases and a late variation is shown in Figure 3 b. Imagine slogging to learn and perfect this Study, only to appear cbopin nothing very much to an audience while performing it! The theme is in the left hand, while the right hand introduces counter melodies.