The Left Hand Alone – The spoils of war. Four performances of the Bach/ Brahms Chaconne are offered below. Of the four, I quite like the way Sokolov and . Still, I kept coming back to the Bach Chaconne, arranged by Brahms for left hand only. You can find her performance in the video below. Bach/Brahms – Chaconne in D minor for left hand, from the Partita for solo violin No. 2 in D Minor. Jul At the Verbier Festival. Previous Post.
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Musical Ventriloquism“Chaconne” :
One can’t help wondering why it is that so much music has been written for the left hand lefg and virtually none of any significance for the right hand. The answer is that almost all of the great music written for the left hand alone is the result of a determinedly heroic concert pianist having lost his right arm during World War I.
Paul Wittgenstein uand, an Austrian pianist and, interestingly, brother of the celebrated philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, refused to allow his career as a concert pianist to be ended almost before it had begun in earnest by the loss of his arm.
Fortunately for us all, his was by no means an insignificant family in the world of music.
5 Studies, Anh.1a/1 (Brahms, Johannes)
And as a student of Theodor Leschetizky, he had an excellent pedigree as a pianist. Wittgenstein was in a position to ask many of the most important composers of the day to compose music for for him to play. The left hand alone repertoire resulting from Wittgenstein’s efforts has been veritable lifeline for other pianists as well who for one reason or another chafonne the use of their right arms.
Prior to Wittgenstein’s injury, a number of bdahms had composed or transcribed such piano music.
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The Reinecke and Reger are curiosities, not particlarly brilliant pieces. There was an earlier pianist who lost his right arm, the Hungarian Count Geza Zichy, a student of Liszt and the first to have a very successful career as a one-armed pianist. He was a sensation, but the piano music for the left hand that he composed or arranged for his own use was considered mediocre by Wittgenstein and seems to have died with him.
The Brahms work is sheer genius. It was transcribed for habd left hand alone for Clara Schumann when chaconnd suffered an injury to her right hand.
The Etude by Blumenfeld is performed by two pianists. I find the Barere much more to my liking.
The slower performance recalls to mind the comment of the emperor in nand movie Amadeus”Too many notes. Grigory Sokolov bRussian pianist recorded live in Adrian Vasilache, contemporary Romanian pianist recorded live in Zoltan Kocsis, Hungarian pianist b Takeo Tchinai, contemporary Japanese pianist. Prestissimo, e molto preciso Lustig und mit Witz Vivo assai e marcato.
I will address his work elsewhere in these pages. Suffice band to say for now that, in my esteem, and in the context of German composers, Henze is the Beethoven of the 20th Century.
Bach-Brahms: Piano Transcriptions of Bach’s Works – Discography
His music is that good, his opus that important. And the future will support me in this view. For those of you who enjoy murder mysteries, here is my first with a strong musical polemic as background.
Murder in the House of the Muse. And this is the more recently published second mystery in the series: Murder Follows the Muse. Copyright – forte-piano-pianissimo.