Tag Archives: symphonic metamorphosis

My Entry For World’s Fastest Pianist Competition ( LOL! ) Godowsky Die Fledermaus Lisitsa

Word from Valentina: ‘WARNING, WARNING – “competing” in music , no matter in what discipline : fastest , loudest, cleanest , octavest, trilliest, jumpiest, double-notiest…. IS THE SILLIEST THING, OK ? MUSIC IS NEVER ABOUT COMPETITION
Godowsky Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Johann Strauss: No. 2, Die Fledermaus 
Rightly called “one of the most complicated stunts ever written for piano”, this piece probably has more notes per second, or per square centimeter of sheet music, than anything comparable. For those listeners impatient enough to “endure” a few minutes of most delightful and inventive music , and just interested in world record in speed ( LOL again ) , just scroll to @ 6:00” , fasten your seat belts  and don’t complain about ” speeded-up and fast forwarded” video. It happens to be live and with quite a few witnesses 🙂
Godowsky called his paraphrase “Symphonic Metamorphosis on Strauss’ Fledermaus”. It is a contrapuntal piece, though it has nothing to do with fugues or Bach &Co. It just means that he first develops Strauss’ tunes by bending and misshaping them to his heart’s desire, and then he combines all of them — running independent of each other in rhythm and contours — into just two hands (or is it six hands like in this video — that would explain a lot ). 
It is not a fun piece to play ( oh no!) — it is a supremely fun piece to play with . Don’t try it at home though 🙂
To put all of it in perspective , and to give us all a reality check — here is a delightful story . Joseph Hoffmann ( who is one of my absolutely favorite pianists and heroes ) overheard Godowsky working on composing this piece , when he was his guest. Next week he performed it, every note and such — with no mistakes. The piece was not yet written down! What can I say? OMG I can only take solace in knowing Hoffmann was a lousy sight-reader…. LOL 🙂
PS. Just for the record , this piece happens to be a perfect example of so-called jeu perlé technique : light , detached finger staccato technique , with each note separated like pearls on a string …’