Godowsky: Complete Studies On Chopin
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Format: COMPACT DISC
According to Leopold Godowsky (1870–1938), the aim of the Studien über die Etüden von F. Chopin “is to develop the mechanical, technical and musical possibilities of piano playing, to expand the peculiarly adapted nature of the instrument to polyphonic, polyrhythmic and polydynamic work and to widen the range of its possibilities in tone coloring…” Godowsky employs various forms in his Studies on Chopin, including variations on the études, transcriptions for the left hand, free transcriptions, cantus firmus, and metamorphoses. The magnificent C major of Study No.1 opens this extraordinary set: a mighty chorale, the text of the original study in the left hand and its inversion in the right hand are all combined in order to create a polyphonic work in full pianistic tone. In the final pages, the piano seems to express its highest dynamic degree and, as Godowsky writes, “in the coda the player must not show the slightest sign of fatigue”. Also based on Op.10 No.1, Study No.2 is a perfect example of Godowsky’s left hand writing. A revolutionary use of the fingering and of the right pedal allows a polyphonic effect similar to the original. Godowsky wrote three studies (Nos. 23–25) for the left hand alone based on Chopin’s Op.25 No.1. Of these, No.24 is intended to give the impression of a piece for four hands. The rippling texture of No.25 is reminiscent of an Aeolian harp. The final study (No.43), based on Op.25 No.12, is a tour-de-force for the left hand alone, covering the entire range of the keyboard by itself in homage to Chopin's 'Revolutionary' Étude. This set contains a selection of original compositions and transcriptions of works by composers other than Chopin and was recorded on the Steinway D 1906.