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Godowsky: Complete Studies on Chopin's Etudes Import


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Audio CD, Import, April 11, 2000
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Godowsky: Complete Studies on Chopin's Etudes + Godowsky: Sonata & Passacaglia + Medtner: Complete Piano Sonatas, Forgotten Melodies / Hamelin
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Product Details

  • Performer: Marc-Andre Hamelin
  • Composer: Leopold Godowsky, Frederic Chopin
  • Audio CD (April 11, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B00004S3BF
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,714 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Study No.1 in C, 1st Version (From Etude in C, Op.10 No.1): Allegro Maestoso
2. Study No.2 in D flat, 2nd Version (From Etude in C, Op.10 No.1): Allegro
3. Study No.3 in a, 1st Version (From Etude in a, Op.10 No.2): Allegro
4. Study No.4 in a 'Ignis Fatuus', 2nd Version (From Etude in a, Op.10 No.2): Allegro
5. Study No.5 in D flat (From Etude in E, Op.10 No.3): Lento Ma Non Troppo
6. Study No.6 in c# (From Etude in c#, Op.10 No.4): Presto
7. Study No.7 in G flat, 1st Version (From Etude in G flat, Op.10 No.5): Vivace
8. Study No.8 in C, 2nd Version (From Etude in G flat, Op.10 No.5): Vivace
9. Study No.9 in a 'Tarantella', 3rd Version (From Etude in G flat, Op.10 No.5): Vivace
10. Study No.10 in A, 4th Version (From Etude in G flat, Op.10 No.5): Vivace
See all 28 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Study No.25 in A flat, 3rd Version (From Etude in A flat, Op.25 No.1): Allegro Sostenuto
2. Study No.26 in f, 1st Version (From Etude in f, Op.25 No.2): Vivace
3. Study No.27 in f 'Waltz', 2nd Version (From Etude in f, Op.25 No.2): Tempo Di Valse
4. Study No.28 in f, 3rd Version (Version A)(From Etude in f, Op.25 No.2): Allegro Moderato
5. Study No.28 in f, 3rd Version (Version B)(From Etude in f, Op.25 No.2): Allegro Moderato
6. Study No.28a in f#, 4th Version (From Etude in f, Op.25 No.2): Presto Ma Non Troppo
7. Study No.29 in F, 1st Version (From Etude in F, Op.25 No.3): Allegro Moderato
8. Study No.30 in F, 2nd Version (From Etude in F, Op.25 No.3): Allegro Moderato
9. Study No.31 in a, 1st Version (From Etude in a, Op.25 No.4): Allegro Moderato
10. Study No.32 in f 'Polonaise', 2nd Version 9From Etude in a, Op.25 No.4): Allegro Drammatico
See all 26 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

While some great pianists play the core works we've heard countless times, Marc Andre-Hamelin has an affinity for those lesser-heard gems. On his recording of Busoni's epic Piano Concerto, Op. 38, the pianist revealed abilities that couldn't be overshadowed by the complex composition at hand. But his take on Godowsky's thoroughly challenging studies on Chopin's Études is, quite simply, mind-boggling. Godowsky's 53 studies are some of the most difficult piano pieces ever written, requiring performers to dissect, reverse hand positions, and dramatically change the tempo of Chopin's well-loved compositions (not to mention his 22 transcriptions of the Études to be played by left hand alone!). Originally written as a playful diversion by Godowsky (1870-1938), a self-taught composer barely in his 20s, these pieces never sacrifice listening experience for ivory pyrotechnics. They're a joy to hear--a fresh (and sometimes dizzying) take on Chopin, with added voices, multiple arabesques, and inventive fingering positions. Hamelin handles it all, making these challenges sound like a walk in the park. A great recording. --Jason Verlinde

Customer Reviews

Very beautiful and mellifluent music here.
Sen Peng Eu
Hamelin's virtuosity is incredible, and it is perfectly matched by his level of musical understanding.
Barry Gruber
It was said in Godowsky's day that he was writing for a future generation of pianists.
Phillip J. Rodgers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Phillip J. Rodgers on November 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The astonishing Marc-Andre Hamelin has done it again. This two CD set is now the best available recording of these amazing pieces. Not that pianists have been lining up to tackle them. I know of only two other pianists that have dared to record a complete performance: Geoffrey Douglas Madge (whose recording of these pieces is, I believe, out of print now) and Carlo Grante. You may draw any conclusion you please from the fact that Madge took four CDs, Grante three, but Hamelin only two to traverse these finger breakers. Godowsky (1870-1938) was, perhaps, the greatest pianist that has ever lived. He was playing the piano at three years of age, and that without lessons! His understanding of the modern piano and its capablities was unique and profound. All of the great pianists of his day (and he lived in an age of masters - players like Rachmaninov, Hoffmann, Grainger, and Busoni were his peers) held him in awe. Godowsky's "Fifty-three Studies based upon twenty-six Etudes of Chopin" are infamous for their murderous difficulty. Twenty two of the studies are for the left hand alone. Several of them contrapuntally combine two of Chopin's etudes at the same time. The results have been vilified by many as a blasphemy against Chopin; however, Godowsky loved Chopin's music and considered these pieces an act of reverence. They are unique in the piano literature and every lover of the instrument should be familiar with them. It takes a musician of Mr. Hamelin's Olympian gifts to do them justice though. It was said in Godowsky's day that he was writing for a future generation of pianists. Mr Hamelin shows that generation has arrived with a vengeance. These fascinating CDs are well worth your time and money, don't hesitate to purchase them.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mark Carpenter on March 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ten years ago, following a severe accident where I broke my right upper forearm and my shoulder, I undertook paraphrasing eight of the Chopin etudes to be played with the left hand alone. I was really proud of that accomplishment: I stayed faithful (mostly) to the original compositions, and I thought my paraphrases were wickedly difficult to play!

After listening to Hamelin's performance of the Godowsky Paraphrases on the Chopin Etudes, I have concluded:

1) Godowsky's paraphrases leave mine in the dust, both technically and musically.

2) Hamelin's performance of Godowski's paraphrases is nothing short of amazing.

These paraphrases are FIENDISHLY difficult to play -- but Hamelin makes them sound almost *easy*. It would be one thing merely to be able to PLAY these paraphrases -- and some of us have the technique to pull it off; but Hamelin's technique is so completely secure that one hears the tonal coloring, the inner voices, the occasional canons and the utter musicality of the compositions which Godowsky obviously wants us to hear.

In particular, listen to the performances of the Etudes arranged for the left hand alone. A good left hand transcription (or composition) should give the effect of two hands playing the instrument -- Godowsky (and Hamelin) often give the impression of *three* hands playing.

Note: if you are a Chopin "purist", you're probably not going to like these paraphrases. Godowsky is strongly influenced by the post-Romantic musical idiom in the time he wrote, and you'll hear very strong elements of the pianistic and harmonic language used by Scriabin and (particularly) Rachmaninov infused throughout each paraphrase.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Lau on October 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The famous critic Harold Schonberg once described Godowsky's Studies on Chopin's Etudes as "probably the most impossibly difficult things ever written for the piano". Others, however, view it as a corruption of Chopin's originals, which are amongst the most important and reverred compositions for the piano.
Godowsky himself was a giant of the keyboard and a great interpreter of Chopin (although his recording legacy doesn't appear to do him justice as he never felt comfortable in the confines of the ancient recording studio). He certainly has managed to push pianistic technique to its very limits in these 53 Studies. However, besides being pianistically effective, the writer finds the great majority of the pieces to be very musical and, in quite a few instances (e.g. No. 13 in E flat minor, No. 25 in A flat major, No. 36 in G sharp minor, No. 45 in E major), the effect is exquisite.
In fact, Godowsky was rather faithful to Chopin's originals in most cases. However, his re-workings often involve a thicking of the textures, the addition of intricate and often amusing counter-points, inversion of figurations, and a re-distribution of the melodic strands between the hands. In particular, those Studies written for the left hand alone (numbering 22 in all) can be regarded as landmarks for keyboard composition for a single hand, and listeners will be amazed by the sonorities and possibilities that can be achieved by one hand alone. One has to hear to believe!
These daunting works can hardly find a better advocate than in Marc-Andre Hamelin.
Read more ›
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