Godowsky - his contribution to piano literature/technique

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Caprotti
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Re: Godowsky and his contribution to piano literature/technique

Post by Caprotti » Fri Nov 06, 2009 11:33 am

You are basically right in your second point. But if we speak about "parameters according to" every kind of music is still performed,I'd assume that, by importance, they are

1) historic intrinsic value, i.e. pioneristic attitude of the composer
2) taste of the public

Now, it is well known that Rachmaninov, for instance, does not belong to the first category (even though he doesn't belong exclusively to the second : his more complex scores, especially the symphonies, are more and more performed by important conductors). But it's also well known that a miriad of other composers do not fit the second category either. There are occasionally some new discoveries, that's true, particularly in the field of stage operas, but the record market only has been receptive in the last 30 years or so towards the works of the so-called minor composers. Today's performers - members of PiPhi excluded - are even more blind and ignorant about the minor repertoire and the public paying for public concerts subscriptions don't want even to hear about "strange programs". The "famous" pianists are more closed to new discoveries than their colleagues conductors, and even within musicology too specialistic lectures or writings are considered with a certain suspect. The only field which is partly cultivated by official channels is the one related to contemporrary classical music, again in the spirit of point 1).
That's why this site, IMSLP and a few others that dare to speak about Godowsky, Czerny or Blanchet have so many disciples !?

Richard0428

Re: Godowsky and his contribution to piano literature/technique

Post by Richard0428 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:09 pm

lebowl wrote:
I do not agree about the fact that an all-Schumann or an all-Mozart recital could be boring (at least if the performer is not boring !). Comparing those two to Godowsky is out of question. I love the music of Godowsky but, be serious, the history of music in his time was made by other people like Debussy, Ravel, Schoenberg and so on. Godowsky's style has been rightly compared to the Liberty, Jugendstil, Art Decò artistic movements by the italian scholar P.Rattalino and can indeed give to the listener some very pleasant moments in terms of sound and above all of research on multiple, complex lines at the keyboard. Even some viennese-style pages, as can be found in the violin and piano Impressions, are really nice : but let's consider that we are talking of pieces of music that are completely out of their time. How music could have made any progression if Schubert had written like a 18th century composer or Brahms like a second-hand Schubert or Stravinsky like .... ?
Oops, perhaps I didn't make myself as clear in my tongue-in-cheek comments on Schumann/ Mozart as I should have! What I failed to say clearly was that recitals of works by any solo composer, no matter how great, are likely to have a more limited audience and be more demanding of an audience than a well-chosen program of music by several composers mixing a few periods and styles. I've attended several programs devoted to Beethoven piano sonatas, and each time come away drained by the experience, feeling I would have enjoyed the experience even more if there'd been something a little lighter in there as well to let the concentration rest for a few minutes. I hope no-one thinks less of Godowsky because his music can't hold a complete recital unaided (in fact I don't care for much of of his music especially, although I stand by my point that the Java Suite is a masterpiece that would benefit by being played complete).

I don't think anyone would dream comparing the quality of Godowsky's music in general with his greater forbears: the limitations of his works are abundantly clear; it's his contibution to and extension of piano technique which is truely great.

Back to recordings of the Java Suite, I probably wouldn't run a mile from Sherbakov's recording, but it's a pale approximation of the work. Follow his performance with the score (check out the deceptively fiendish opening of Hari Basaar: it's far too loud!) or even better get to know the work and start to unearth its endless subtleties) and you'll see he skates over the work, which is just not good enough. The one exception I can recall, where he really shines, is 'The Water Castle' which he handles with breathtaking poetry and care. Otherwise Esther B's performance on Pro Piano runs rings around the competition, revealing the work for the masterpiece it is. You must hear that performance if you get a chance.

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Re: Godowsky and his contribution to piano literature/technique

Post by lebowl » Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:56 pm

How long would the entire Java Suite take? I'm guessing it could make a reasonable half recital piece. I could listen to carefully varied Godowsky's works for half a recital with no problem.

I don't agree with those who find much of Godowsky's works over brilliant, bombastic sounding(like the worst of Liszt, perhaps) or containing much virtuosity for its own sake. Sometimes all the extra voices become too much but I think that is different from overly brilliant.

Richard0428

Re: Godowsky and his contribution to piano literature/technique

Post by Richard0428 » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:18 pm

lebowl wrote:How long would the entire Java Suite take? I'm guessing it could make a reasonable half recital piece. I could listen to carefully varied Godowsky's works for half a recital with no problem.

I don't agree with those who find much of Godowsky's works over brilliant, bombastic sounding(like the worst of Liszt, perhaps) or containing much virtuosity for its own sake. Sometimes all the extra voices become too much but I think that is different from overly brilliant.

The full Java Suite is a good fifty minutes long, and, although not quite as exhausting to play, perhaps, as the complete 'Iberia' or 'Hammerklavier', pretty draining stuff for a performer. I'm planning to program the suite complete next year, only adding two short (and simpler) 'interludes' (by other composers) inseted between Books 1-2 and 3-4.

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Re: Godowsky and his contribution to piano literature/technique

Post by Arjuna » Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:54 pm

Here is an interesting article about Godowsky

http://www.leopoldgodowsky.com/articles/adlergloves.pdf

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Godowsky - 3 Concert Studies Op. 11

Post by klaviersonic » Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:09 pm

Does anybody happen to have the complete set of this opus? IMSLP is missing the second, and it's doesn't appear in Carl Fischer's The Godowsky Collection Vol I: Original Works.

Many Thanks!

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Re: Godowsky - 3 Concert Studies Op. 11

Post by fhimpsl » Thu Jul 09, 2015 12:02 am

Godowsky Op. 11, No. 2 is deemed a lost work, according to Donald Manildi of the International Piano Archives at Maryland University, the institution in possession of the Godowsky personal archive. The Carl Fischer folio would not necessarily include Op. 11, as the known pieces from this set were originally published and copyrighted by Schirmer. I've contact Schirmer regarding Op. 11/2 in the past without success.

(The moderators may elect to move this posting to another thread. Pianophilia protocol is to include specific requests such as this within an already established and related thread, rather than create a new one.)

ModEdit: Thanks, FH, I have. FB

Hope this information helps!

Frank H.

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Re: Godowsky - 3 Concert Studies Op. 11

Post by klaviersonic » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:22 pm

Ah, interesting. Thanks Frank!

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Godowsky : Studies and Heirs

Post by Enzo Dal Fitto » Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:14 pm

Dear members, I am new to this community and I would like to propose you a new thread discussing Godowsky’s Studies after Chopin and all of those who continued his project. As you probably know, many of Godowsky’s transcriptions are still unpublished (I think of his complete rewriting of Mozart Concerto in C minor and Double Concerto in E flat Major). Worse, many scores were lost at the edge of World War I when he left Vienna. Here is an abstract of a letter wrote by a friend of Godowsky about some of the Studies he worked on just before leaving. Hinderer wrote in 1931 to Leonard Liebling: “Godowsky has numerous compositions still in manuscript that were stored away in Vienna at the outbreak of the [First World] war, including the following, -- The three Chopin A minor Etudes combined (for two hands) and played simultaneously; the two A minor Etudes, Op.25, Nos .4 and 11, also for two hands played simultaneously; the Chopin Etude, Op.25, No.8, in sixths turned into thirds, one for the left hand alone and one for the right hand; Chopin Etude, Op.25, No.7, an Elegie for the left hand alone; arrangements of the Etudes, Op.10, No.11 in E flat (another version); the F minor Etude (the first of the three composed for Moscheles) in variation form; and the Etude Op.25, No.12, in a version for two hands because the published one is for one hand alone -- ten altogether." (See Sachania Thesis, Chapter II).


As you know, pianist Marc André Hamelin wrote his own version of the Triple Etude (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VecnWFSkjy4), combining all A minor Chopin’s Studies. There is also a version of such superimposition made by the Brazilian pianist Artur Cimirro. (Here is a preview taken on his old public website: http://www.geocities.ws/arturcimirro/trans/chopin03.jpg). (Here is a link to his new website catalogue including numbers of marvellous transcriptions: http://www.arturcimirro.com.br/en_opus.htm). Many are inspired by Godowsky such as left hand transcription of Scriabin and Liszt studies (here is a video of him playing his Scriabin transcriptions with score: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_OmMQ_wvfk&t=175s).
New versions have been made by Frederic Meinders (Here is a link to his Chopin catalogue: https://www.fredericmeindersarchive.com ... nsofchopin) including a double study combining Opus 10, VI and Opus 25, XI. Some time ago, I found a “Study 44A” by Marc-André Hamelin, who apparently had access to some previously unseen manuscripts. The work has not been recorded yet. (Here is a link to the preface: https://www.edition-peters.com/product/ ... de/ep68589).
I also found a transcription of Opus 25, XI for the left hand alone (a transcription Godowsky apparently never worked on) by a certain Komanetsky: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZI0InIJ1gA : the title of the video is misleading and the music is Midi but interesting nonetheless).
If we could establish a catalogue of all work made in the wakes of Godowsky (including set of transcriptions made on other composers) and of his newly released sketches, I think it would be of a great interest for the piano community. I am also presenting for my year final-exams in composition a set of my own Studies for piano. Those are Godowsky-like transcriptions of some of the Chopin Etudes Godowsky did not complete and of Liszt Transcendental Studies. As soon as I finish typesetting them, I will publish some of them in this forum without any copyright.
Here are two academic works on Godowsky that I find quite interesting and that would like to share with you: Millan Sachania’s and Younggun Kim’s dissertation.
https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/252319
https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bits ... hesis.pdf
I’m looking forward having a good talk on those matters between counterpoint-addicts and non-analysable-chords-junkies.
Bye,
Enzo
PS: can someone help me access Opus Transcribisticum? All the links I found are dead.

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Re: Godowsky - his contribution to piano literature/technique

Post by lebowl » Tue Jan 29, 2019 6:48 pm

I've only played through his simpler works and some of his editions of pieces by other composers. Good fingering is part of technique IMO, and I find Godowsky's extensive fingerings perhaps the best of any editor.

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