From the Naxos Blog: Left to its own devices

June 02, 2023

Photo: Jazz Edge

In English, the word ‘sinister’ suggests a touch of evil, taking its cue from the Latin, in which it denotes the adjective ‘left’ and a perception that the left hand is weaker than the right. As a left-hander myself, I prefer the view that we’re noted for being more artistic than right-handers! But, as a rather pedestrian pianist, I do humbly marvel at performances of keyboard works specifically written for the left hand alone.

Although Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand is probably the work that first springs to mind in relation to such repertoire, this blog has lined up a short selection of other pieces for the medium, starting with a Study for Left Hand Alone by the Russian composer Felix Mikhailovich Blumenfeld (1863–1931). He was a concert pianist (his pupils included Horowitz), conductor (he directed the first Paris performance of Mussorsky’s Boris Godunov in 1908) and composer. Blumenfeld’s piano compositions show the influence of Chopin and Anton Rubinstein. He wrote his study for the left hand in 1905; here’s an extract. Continue reading and listening at