Works associated with Paul Wittgenstein

This is a list of works associated with the left-handed Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein.

These works were either:

  • arranged for left hand by him (A)
  • commissioned by him (C)
  • dedicated to him or written with him in mind (D), or
  • premiered by him (P).
Composer Work Legend Comments
Johann Sebastian Bach A Wittgenstein arranged only the piano part of the Violin Sonata movement
Bach-Gounod A
Ludwig van Beethoven A
Sergei Bortkiewicz
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 in E-flat, Op. 28
DP Premiered 11 January 1929.[1] It draws on material from Bortkiewicz's first attempt at a piano concerto.[2]
Johannes Brahms
  • Variations on an Original Theme, Op. 21/1: Variation 7
  • An die Nachtigall, Op. 46/4
A Wittgenstein arranged only the piano part of the song
Rudolf Braun
  • Piano Concerto for the left hand
DP Premiered 31 October 1927.[1]
  • Three Piano Pieces for the Left Hand: Scherzo, Perpetuum Mobile, Serenata
D Composed 1922, pub 1928.[3]
Benjamin Britten DP Originally called Concert Variations; premiered 17 January 1942.[1]
Frédéric Chopin A
Norman Demuth
  • Piano Concerto (1947)
  • Three Preludes for Paul Wittgenstein (1947)
  • Legend for piano and orchestra (1949) [2]
Hans Gál
  • Piano Quartet in A major
DP Premiered 1928.[2]
Leopold Godowsky D Written for Wittgenstein, but he never played it so Godowsky rededicated it to Simon Barere.[2]
Edvard Grieg
  • Lyric Pieces, Book III, Op. 43: No. 1, Butterfly; No. 3, Melancholy; No. 4, Little Bird
Ernst Haberbier
  • Poetic Study, Op. 53/20 (Tremolo)
Joseph Haydn
  • Piano Sonata in A-flat major: II
  • String Quartet, Op. 64/5: Adagio
  • String Quartet, Op. 76/3: II, variation 1
Adolf von Henselt
  • Etude, Op. 5/11 Liebeslied (Love Song)
Josef Herz
  • Intermezzo for the left hand[2]
Paul Hindemith CD Wittgenstein did not understand the work and refused to play it. He kept the score, but never spoke of it, and it was believed lost. It was discovered in his papers after his widow's death in 2002.[2] It had its world premiere in Berlin in 2004, with Leon Fleisher and the Berlin Philharmonic; the U.S. premiere was on 2 October 2005, with Fleisher and the San Francisco Symphony, under Herbert Blomstedt.[4]
Alexis Holländer
  • Two tone poems for the left hand alone, Op. 69 (Venetian Gondola Song, and an arrangement of Franz Schubert's Erlkönig, D.328)
Leonard Kastle
  • Piano Concerto[1]
Erich Wolfgang Korngold CDP Wittgenstein was given lifelong exclusive rights to play the concerto; first performed 22 September 1924,[2] the composer conducting.[1] The UK premiere was in 1985, with Gary Graffman.[2]
  • Suite for 2 Violins, Violoncello and Piano (left hand), Op. 23 (1930)
CDP First performance in Vienna on 21 October 1930 by Wittgenstein with members of the Rosé Quartet.
Josef Labor
  • Concert Piece in form of variations in D major (1915)
DP Written when Wittgenstein was a prisoner of war in Omsk, Siberia, Russia. This was the work with which he made his return to the concert platform in Vienna, as a one-armed pianist.[2]
  • Quartet in C minor for piano, violin, viola and cello, Op. 6 (1916)[2]
  • Violin Sonata in E major (1916)
DP Premiered 9 January 1917.[2]
  • Concert Piece in F minor (1917)
DP Premiered 26 October 1936.[2]
  • Trio in E minor for piano, clarinet and cello (1917)[2]
  • Cello Sonata in C major (1918)[2]
  • Trio in G minor piano, clarinet and cello (1919)
DP Premiered 25 January 1932.[2]
  • Fantasy in F-sharp minor (1920)[2]
  • Concert Piece in E-flat major (1923)[2]
  • Septet for flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn, violin, cello and piano
D Unfinished.[2]
  • Quintet (Divertimento) for piano, flute, oboe, viola and cello
DP Premiered 18 March 1932.[2]
Felix Mendelssohn A
Giacomo Meyerbeer A
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart A
Sergei Prokofiev CD He did not understand the work, and would not play it until such time as he did - but that never eventuated. The premiere was on 5 September 1956, played by Siegfried Rapp, a German pianist who had lost his right arm during World War II.[2]
Giacomo Puccini A
Maurice Ravel CDP He gave the premiere on 5 January 1932, with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra under Robert Heger. The dedication was reassigned after Wittgenstein's sole performing rights expired in 1943.[1]
Felix Rosenthal
  • Impromptu for the left hand
D Found in his papers after his death.
Moriz Rosenthal
  • Neuer Wiener Carneval nach Themen von Johann Strauss (before 1935)
D The score is signed and inscribed: Paul Wittgenstein in Bewunderung zugeeignet von Moritz Rosenthal (Dedicated to Paul Wittgenstein in admiration by Moritz Rosenthal).
  • Un poco serioso (MS)
D Autograph manuscript of an untitled work. Extensively annotated by Wittgenstein.
Anton Rubinstein
  • Étude on false notes
Franz Schmidt
  • Concertante Variations on a Theme of Beethoven for piano (left hand alone) and orchestra (1923)
DP Premiered Vienna 2 February 1924.[1]
  • Piano Quintet in G major (1926)
DP Premiered 1927.
  • Quintet in B for piano, clarinet, violin, viola and cello (1932)
DP Premiered 1933.
  • Piano Concerto No. 2 in E-flat major (1934)
DP Premiered Vienna 10 February 1935.[1]
  • Quintet in A for piano, clarinet, violin, viola and cello (1938)
D Premiered 1939 by Friedrich Wührer. The finale is a set of variations on a theme by Josef Labor, and Wittgenstein often performed this lengthy movement as an independent piece.[2]
  • Toccata in D minor (1938)
Franz Schubert trans. Franz Liszt
  • Meeresstille, D.216 (trans. Liszt S.557b, S.558/5)
  • Du bist die Ruh, D.665 (trans. Liszt S.558/3)
Robert Schumann
  • Album for the Young, Op. 68: No. 1, Melodie; No. 14, Kleine Studie
  • Bunte Blätter, Op. 99: Nos. 1, 7
Eduard Schütt
  • Paraphrase for piano left hand and orchestra
DP Premiered 27 June 1929.[1][2]
Johann Strauss II A
Richard Strauss D
  • Panathenäenzug, Symphonic Studies in the form of a Passacaglia for piano left hand and orchestra, Op. 74 (1926–27)
DP It was written with him in mind and he gave the first performance, but it was not formally dedicated to him.[1]
  • Exercises for the left hand (1926)[2]
Alexandre Tansman
  • Concert Piece for Piano left hand (1943)[1][2]
Richard Wagner A
Wagner trans. Liszt A
Ernest Walker
  • Study for the Left Hand, Op. 47 (1931)
  • Variations on an Original Theme, for piano, clarinet and string trio (no opus no.; 1933)
  • Prelude (Larghetto), Op. 61 (1935)
Karl Weigl
  • Piano Concerto (1924)[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Donald L. Patterson, One-handed
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Hans Brofeldt: Piano Music for the Left Hand Alone
  3. ^ IMSLP: Braun (Three Piano Pieces for the Left Hand)
  4. ^ Rowe, Georgia (8 October 2005). "Paul Hindemith's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, Rejected by Its Dedicatee, Gets Its Belated US Premiere". Contra Costa Times. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2012.