Digital Edition – Adam Golka: Etude Alla Turca for piano


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Preface: Adam Golka


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The idea for
Etude Alla Turca came to me as a challenge from my late teacher José Feghali (1961-2014). During my teenage years, José demanded a rigorous study of all of Chopin’s Études, and my personal escape from the patient and sometimes slow progress on those masterpieces took its form in a fascination for the extra-virtuoso world of Godowsky’s Badinage and especially the paraphrases of Vladimir Horowitz and Arcadi Volodos. During breaks from my practicing, I enthusiastically transcribed works of the latter two by ear, since the sheet music was not widely available then (which gave the process a secrecy which was doubly thrilling). One day, after playing Volodos’ Turkish March to José, he dared me to create my own paraphrase of Mozart’s famous Rondo, knowing that I was suffering daily over Chopin’s A Minor Étude opus 10 #2, and suggesting a riotous combination of the two pieces. I think we were both surprised by what resulted!

In retrospect, the creation of Etude Alla Turca was a brilliant way to dissolve some of the seriousness which perhaps clouded my piano practicing at the time, and I now tend to believe that the big laughs and good fun accompanying the creation of this wild piece expanded my technical capabilities beyond what I could have ever otherwise imagined being capable of. So in this spirit, I invite my colleagues to work out the difficulties of this monstrous little creation with a smile on their face and occasional chuckles, which will anyway keep the body freer, the ears more open, and the hands more nimble. Most kind thanks to Mr. Shota Ezaki for the exquisite printing and also for requesting its publication almost two decades after I composed it. Having to transcribe many passages from my own live recordings brought many happy memories back, and I would like to dedicate its publication to José Feghali, whose boisterous laugh over a musical joke used to shake the walls and ceilings.

Adam Golka
Born in 1987, Polish-American pianist Adam Golka celebrated the 250th Beethoven Anniversary with performances and streams of the complete 32 Piano Sonatas in three American cities, accompanied by an original film project about his preparation for the cycle, called “32@32,” available on YouTube. He has performed as soloist with the San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis Symphonies in the USA, as well as the Warsaw Philharmonic, Shanghai Philharmonic, National Arts Centre Orchestra (Ottawa), and the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra (Caracas). He has performed recitals at the Klavier-Festival Ruhr and Tonhalle Zürich as part of Sir András Schiff’s “Building Bridges” project, as well as recitals at Musashino Civic Hall (Tokyo), Het Concertgebouw Kleine Zaal (Amsterdam), and Alice Tully Hall (New York City). Adam formally studied with José Feghali and Leon Fleisher, and he has benefited deeply thanks to his mentorship from Alfred Brendel, András Schiff, Richard Goode, Murray Perahia, Ferenc Rados, and Rita Wagner.