Study for Left Hand Alone

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Etude for the Left-Hand, Op.36 (Blumenfeld, Felix)

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List of Piano works for the left hand

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Close X Tell A Friend. To send to more than one person, separate addresses with a comma. Imagine slogging to learn and perfect this Study, only to appear doing nothing very much to an audience while performing it! Godowsky has been accused of sacrilege for writing these Studies, i. Whether this is the case is for academics to argue over. 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. So Horowitz said of the Passacaglia. The above statement is certainly not true but it still remains a formidable work which requires a pianist of an unusually fine technique to execute.

Godowsky used the opening 8 measures of Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony as the theme, composed 44 variations based on it, of course, heaping difficulty upon difficulty on succeeding variations and concluded the work with a cadenza and a fugue. The work opens innocently enough, with the theme presented in both hands first 8 bars , and it is followed immediately by the 1st variation Figure 3 a.

The theme is in the left hand, while the right hand introduces counter melodies. The 'density' of the writing gradually increases and a late variation is shown in Figure 3 b. Many of the variations feature such dense contrapuntal writing. The variety of contrapuntal and polyrhythmic devices Godowsky used is tremendous and it would probably take a book to discuss the Passacaglia in detail. 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.

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. Godowsky also arranged many works by J. Bach violin sonatas, cello suites , Schubert Lieder and other composers for solo piano. He also composed a number of original works.

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? 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. However, such writing could only have been achieved by a pianist who had an intimate knowledge of the possibilities and limitations of the instrument and piano technique.

Such difficult music is probably out of reach technically for most of us, but it is nonetheless a fascinating experience exploring, listening to and appreciating the music written by one of the most unique figures in the history of the piano. Pianovers Talents is all about supporting our fellow aspiring musicians progress and advance in their pursuit of musical passion, take to the stage and realise their dreams of performing at a recital, by providing them with the formal recital environment and authentic performance experience.

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