As an introduction to the works on this disc we quote Godowsky himself: “the studies’ aim 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 colouring”.
Leopold Godowsky (1870-1938), one of the greatest pianists in history, was fascinated by Chopin’s Etudes, and made his own enhanced transcriptions of them, to be divided in three types: a strict transcription for the left hand alone, free transcriptions, in which the text is either inverted, combined with another study or imitated through the medium of another study, and Cantus Firmus, where the left hand plays the melody and the right hand is freely treated in a contrapuntal way.
Needless to say the technical and mental demands of these works are enormous, seemingly impossible to play. In the hands of a master however they become new and original, masterpieces in their own right.
Young Italian pianist Emanuele Delucchi possesses the superhuman powers to conquer these works successfully, as he has proven with his previous Godowsky recording for Piano Classics, PCL0096. He plays on a 1906 Steinway D instrument, from the time of the composition of these works.