written by Ittai Rosenbaum
Running a marathon is a feat; pianist Ivan Ilić has decided to run an ultra-marathon. Chopin’s Etudes for piano are among the most demanding piano works in the classical repertoire; Leopold Godowsky’s reworking of the etudes requires an even more accomplished technique.
Ilić chose the most challenging of Godowsky’s work for his new CD: the twenty two Studies for the left hand alone. The rich and elaborate compositions by Godowsky along with Ilić’s virtuosic performance make the Studies sound as if played by two hands.
Especially for a band that’s known for raucous garage rock, releasing a song driven by piano can create some judgmental reactions. Despite a long existence as the “gateway drug” of musical instruments, the piano is not exactly the most badass noisemaker in the market. It’s either used sparingly for a band’s ballads or it’s overused and mocked, as the case has been for many failed Billy Joel and Elton John imitators.
In the recently released video for “Me and You,” however, scrappy garage group Strange Boys make piano cool again. They accomplish this through overt, in-your-face repetitive dedication to the instrument.