American pianist Ivan Ilic has recorded his second CD for the French label Paraty, entitled "22 Chopin Studies" by Leopold Godowsky.
Godowsky was a celebrity in his day: Artur Rubinstein said that ìit would take him 500 yearsî to acquire Godowskyís technique. Rachmaninoff wrote that ìGodowsky is the only musician of this age who has given a real, lasting contribution to the development of the pianoî.
But following Godowsky's death in 1938, his compositions were largely ignored until the year 2000, when super-virtuoso pianists such as Marc-AndrÈ Hamelin and Boris Berezovsky began to record and perform his works in concert.
Ivan Ilic is the latestRead more pianist to rise to the formidable challenge. His album focuses on the 22 Studies for the left hand alone, considered among the most difficult pieces ever written for the instrument.
But there is a poetry in Ilic's interpretations which makes one forget the difficulty, and allows the listener to bask in Godowsky's rich, dark re-working of Chopin's masterpieces. The CD is a tour de force of virtuosity and musicianship.
"[Godowsky's] studies, conceived as they are for the configuration of the left hand, sound markedly different from their Chopin originals. They are of terrifying difficulty, and it is to the credit of the American pianist Ivan Ilic that he manages to bring expressive finesse to them as well as negotiating the technical hurdles. His is certainly a labour of love. " -- Geoffrey Norris, Daily Telegraph Read less