Piano Music by Robert Helps

Music for Left Hand (1975)

 — A slip-and-fall accident temporarily debilitating his right arm offered Helps the personal impetus (and need) to write this set. He subtitled it “3 etudes” to follow his obsession with studies and triple groupings. Its unabashed swirliness attractively joins Godowsky and Ravel‘s contributions to the genre.
The 1st “etude” presents Helps‘ locked, but ever-changing ostinati as an accompaniment to a chordal line with rich, dissonant chromatic harmony.
The 2nd is a gentle cantilena; the 3rd a fiendish violin-inspired (Kolisch is dedicatee) toccata where a single line etches out rhythmic patterns of harrowing inflexibility.

Total duration: 10 minutes

Etude 1 — for Ian Underwood
Etude 2 — for Tison Street
Etude 3 — for Rudolph Kolisch
Listen to Music for Left Hand, Etude 2
A proof that violin-inspired piano nightmares didn‘t end with Paganini/Liszt, Music for Left Hand, Etude 3: bars 1-3
Sound clip - Music for Left Hand