Left-Hand Piano Music

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Lance
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Left-Hand Piano Music

Post by Lance » Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:37 pm

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I have always had an interest in left-hand piano music. More recently in the twentieth century, there is a reason why some left-hand music has been composed: the pianist may not have a left hand! But even before music was written especially for Paul Wittgenstein [Austrian, 1887-1961] before he lost his arm/hand in the war, music was written for just the left hand.

Recently I discovered a recording on the Charade label [3029], part of the German Es-Dur label of all left-hand piano pieces performed by Anja Wackhusen. A few of the composer's names are well known, such as Brahms, who wrote the famous Chaconne after Bach's BWV 1004, Saint-Saens' Elegie, Liszt's Ungarns Gott (itself not very well known), and Scriabin's Prelude and Nocturne, but includes fairly unknown left-hand pieces by Ludwig Berger (1777-1839); Jakob Schmitt (1803-1853); Carl Reinecke (1824-1910); Eduard Marxsen (1806-1887), and a truly rare work by piano pedagogue Theodore Leschetizky (1830-1915) with his Lucia Sextet Parapharse. The disc concludes with two pieces by Manuel Ponce (1882-1948).

The notes are all in German, no translation, and the recording was made in 2002 in Hamburg, Germany. Near as I know, it has not been previously released, and if that's the case, it's taken 15 years to finally make its appearance.

The pianist is certainly adequate, but sounds like she is working hard to accomplish the tasks at hand. The piano sound is also just adequate. Nevertheless, there are not a lot of just left-hand piano recordings out there and this fills the bill nicely.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
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maestrob
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Re: Left-Hand Piano Music

Post by maestrob » Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:29 pm

That looks interesting, Lance. I've always been a fan of piano music for the left hand, and invited one of my judges to appear at Carnegie Hall and play a few of Czerny's studies for the left hand: wonderful music! I wonder if you have come across any recordings of that repertoire in your travels......

John F
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Re: Left-Hand Piano Music

Post by John F » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:09 pm

Leopold Godowski lost the use of his right hand following a stroke while recording Chopin's scherzos for Columbia, and composed some music for the left hand, though he never played one-handed in public. Godowski's music doesn't appeal to me much but it does have its fans.

The only major pianist I know who had to play with the right hand only is Cyril Smith, who recorded the Rachmaninoff 3rd concerto before a stroke took his left hand away. He and his wife Phyllis Sellick played 3-handed in works composed for them, such as Malcolm Arnold's concerto, or arrangements of 4-hands pieces. I have a "Carnival of the Animals" featuring them. His playing strikes me as rather cold in the recordings I've heard, and I mention him only because of his rare handicap, rare among pianists.
John Francis

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