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Composer's Hardest Piece
#1534869 10/13/10 06:08 PM
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What do you think is the hardest piece that these composers have written?
  • F. Chopin
  • F. Liszt
  • M. Ozart (haha)
  • Beethoven
  • J. S Bach
  • Rachmaninoff
  • Tchaikovsky
  • Prokofiev
  • Debussy

Finally, what is the hardest piece of all time?

My Opinion

Chopin- Etudes Winter Wind, Waterfall ("It's so hard!" - Horowitz)
Liszt - Feux Follets
Mozart - I have no clue here, need to play more of his music.
Beethoven - Hammerklavier
Bach - Also should play more Bach.
Rach - 3rd Piano Concerto.
Tchaikovsky - First Piano Concerto?
Prokofiev - 3rd Piano Concerto.
Debussy - Claire de Lune. Just because impressionistic music is impossible for some of us.

Hardest Piece: I believe that Grand Galop chromaique is very very difficult.

Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1534883 10/13/10 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Sean Lerkvikarn
What do you think is the hardest piece that these composers have written?
  • F. Chopin
  • F. Liszt
  • M. Ozart (haha)
  • Beethoven
  • J. S Bach
  • Rachmaninoff
  • Tchaikovsky
  • Prokofiev
  • Debussy

Finally, what is the hardest piece of all time?


Whatever, I'm feeling listy. I think you should leave out concertos, though.

Chopin - "Winter Wind" Etude
Liszt - Reminiscences de Don Juan
Mozart - Fantasia in C minor
Beethoven - Diabelli Variations
Bach - Goldberg Variations
Rachmaninoff - Sonata No. 1
Tchaikovsky - Grand Sonata
Prokofiev - Toccata
Debussy - Etude No. 12

The most difficult piece in the standard repertoire is probably Stravinsky's Trois Mouvements de Petrouchka. I don't understand how anyone can play that up to tempo.

Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1534901 10/13/10 06:55 PM
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I'm feeling list-y, and confrontation-y too. smile

Really, the Mozart Fantasia over D major sonata K. 576? (I've played the Fantasia; it's not that technically difficult.)

And, really, Winter Wind over the 3rd sonata?

A-and, really, the Prokofiev toccata over the eighth sonata?

Right on with Beethoven.

(It's difficult to judge difficultly because everyone's different, of course, but also because it depends so much on the choice of tempo, especially with classical-era pieces.)

-Jason

Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1534908 10/13/10 07:06 PM
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Bach is really the odd-man out here isn't he? (Excepting maybe Tchaikovsky) The only one of the group who wasn't a pianist (primarily). All of the other composers' reputations came (at first) as a great pianist.

Bach was also of an older order, where virtuoso playing was not so paramount. Given that, I don't know which Bach piece is most difficult. Goldbergs is a pretty good choice. Others may be some of the English Suites or perhaps that devilish Gigue from the 5th French Suite. Personally, I find most of Bach's keyboard music a bit easier than, say, Chopin or Lizst.

Last edited by Bill Finn; 10/13/10 08:01 PM.
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
Bill Finn #1534931 10/13/10 08:23 PM
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Virtuoso playing during Bach's time was huge, but in a different way. Where we value technical and almost athletic feats at the piano today, they valued improvisation. The great keyboardists of the baroque era could improvise a fugue as easily as horowitz could shred an octave passage. There were very often improvisation "battles" where an aristocratic figure would give two keyboardists a theme, and the players would have to improvise a fugue or a theme and variations piece.

Could today's concert pianists do that? I would guess a small handful of them could. not any more.

By the way, The goldberg variations were considered the most difficult keyboard piece until Beethoven wrote the Hammerklavier.

Anywho...I haven't played nearly enough from those composers to make a list like this...maybe in a couple years laugh


"I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well."

J.S. Bach
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1534951 10/13/10 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Sean Lerkvikarn
What do you think is the hardest piece that these composers have written?
  • F. Chopin
  • F. Liszt
  • M. Ozart (haha)
  • Beethoven
  • J. S Bach
  • Rachmaninoff
  • Tchaikovsky
  • Prokofiev
  • Debussy

Finally, what is the hardest piece of all time?

My Opinion

Chopin- Etudes Winter Wind, Waterfall ("It's so hard!" - Horowitz)
Liszt - Feux Follets
Mozart - I have no clue here, need to play more of his music.
Beethoven - Hammerklavier
Bach - Also should play more Bach.
Rach - 3rd Piano Concerto.
Tchaikovsky - First Piano Concerto?
Prokofiev - 3rd Piano Concerto.
Debussy - Claire de Lune. Just because impressionistic music is impossible for some of us.

Hardest Piece: I believe that Grand Galop chromaique is very very difficult.


Chopin: Not sure, but definitely not Winter Wind... 10/2 is much, much more difficult. Maybe one of the sonatas?
Liszt: Feux Follets I'll agree with you
Mozart: One of the concerti maybe? Not sure.
Beethoven: Hammerklavier, I agree with you.
Bach: Goldberg Variations? I don't know...
Rachmaninoff: Original edition of 2nd sonata is supposed to be unreal, but of course Rach 3's third movement is very difficult too.
Tchaikovsky: Either PC1 or Grand Sonata.
Prokofiev: 2nd piano concerto. My teacher played both 2 and 3, and said 3 was a walk in the park compared to 2. He also said Rach 3 was a walk in the park to Prok 2 (he's played that one, too).
Debussy: L'isle Joyeuse seems difficult, but there are many more.

Hardest overall: Eh, I'm gonna cop out and say the usual Ravel Scarbo. I've heard Islamey isn't really what it's cooked up to be.

Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1534953 10/13/10 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Sean Lerkvikarn
What do you think is the hardest piece that these composers have written?
  • F. Chopin
  • F. Liszt
  • M. Ozart (haha)
  • Beethoven
  • J. S Bach
  • Rachmaninoff
  • Tchaikovsky
  • Prokofiev
  • Debussy

Finally, what is the hardest piece of all time?



My Opinion

Chopin- 3rd Sonata
Liszt - Grande Fantasia de bravura on Paganini's La Campanella
Mozart - Not sure... maybe D major sonata K. 284
Beethoven - Hammerklavier
Bach - Goldberg Variations
Rach - 3rd Piano Concerto, 1st Piano Sonata if we exclude concertos
Tchaikovsky - 1st Piano Concerto? Not familiar with his solo rep at all.
Prokofiev - I'd say the 5th concerto. Solo, probably 8th sonata
Debussy - Images Book II maybe.

Hardest Piece: Maybe Gaspard de la nuit? I've head that Alkan's Concerto for Solo Piano is basically impossible to play but I've never heard it myself.

Last edited by bellamusica; 10/13/10 09:14 PM.
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
bellamusica #1535017 10/13/10 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bellamusica
Maybe Gaspard de la nuit? I've head that Alkan's Concerto for Solo Piano is basically impossible to play but I've never heard it myself.


dolce sfogato here at Piano World plays the Concerto for Solo Piano, and I wouldn't be surprised if he also plays Gaspard, so you can ask him.

The first movement has some tricky jumps and tremolos in it... And the third seems impossibly difficult, but many people play it faster than Alkan's metronome mark. Once you try it at 100 bpm instead, it becomes more feasible.

Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1535030 10/13/10 11:33 PM
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Agree about Liszt's Don Juan, though there are some nasty bits in the Norma Fantasy. And also, what about some of the earlier versions of the TEs?

Then of course there is Liszt's transcription of the Beethoven 9th. tiki

I agree with OSK about Prokofiev 2.


Jason
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1535036 10/13/10 11:44 PM
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What about Boulez and so on? Or are we sticking to music, then? smile


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
david_a #1535061 10/14/10 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by david_a
What about Boulez and so on? Or are we sticking to music, then? smile

Now, now, david! wink I heard Idil Beret's recording of Boulez's 2nd Sonata, and I must say that a fair amount of it made sense to me. I certainly don't claim that I fully understood what was going on (how could I?) -and Biret has come under fire on this board- but she did communicate something to me.


Jason
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1535113 10/14/10 02:32 AM
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I don't doubt that there is value in Boulez's music. But if I have to learn something, and I have only till Monday, and it's between Gaspard and the Boulez 2nd sonata, you know which one I'm going to pick. With Gaspard, I could conceivably learn one or two percent of it by then, if I do a lot of work. With Boulez, I'd still be trying to figure out which way up to put the score on the music stand. My own fault, but the truth.


P.S. I'm going to start a new business, a self-serve station just for bored pianists.

Gas-bar de l'ennui.

Sorry. smile


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
david_a #1535329 10/14/10 11:03 AM
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Dear david_a:

Here I was, feeling under the weather, but you've made my day, with this comment:

"With Boulez, I'd still be trying to figure out which way up to put the score on the music stand. My own fault, but the truth."

I echo your sentiment 100%.
Now back to the Polonaise-Fantasie.

All the best.
Ma'ati

Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1535477 10/14/10 03:38 PM
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my humble opinion:
Chopin: étude op.10/2 or sonata 3
Liszt: Feux follets or sonata
Mozart: sonata in D
Beethoven: sonata 29
Bach: Goldbergvariations
Tchaikovsky: Grande sonata
Prokofieff: sonata 7 or 8
Debussy: étude pour les 8 doigts

most difficult? probably yhe one you're practicing at the moment...though Gaspard and op.39 8/9/10 are quite a hurdle, I think all Stockhausen and Ligeti is harder.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
dolce sfogato #1535550 10/14/10 05:34 PM
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dolce:

hammerK over Diabelli?

-J


Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1535558 10/14/10 05:48 PM
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most definetely, Diabelli are hard, but nothing beats the fugue and for that matter the slow movement of op.106, really no comparison imho.


Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure, but not anymore!
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1535563 10/14/10 05:53 PM
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I think its great you also mention the slow movement of op106, because that is really one of its HUGE difficulties!


Currently working on: Perfecting the Op 2/1, studying the 27/2 last movement. Chopin Nocturne 32/2 and Posth. C#m, 'Raindrop' prelude and Etude 10/9
Repetoire: Beethoven op 2/1, 10/1(1st, 2nd), 13, 14/1, 27/1(1st, 2nd), 27/2, 28(1st, 2nd), 31/2(1st, 3rd), 49/1, 49/2, 78(1st), 79, 90, 101(1st)
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
dolce sfogato #1535570 10/14/10 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
most difficult? probably yhe one you're practicing at the moment...though Gaspard and op.39 8/9/10 are quite a hurdle, ...
Pardon my ignorance, but whose Op.39 do you refer to?


(I'm a piano teacher.)
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
slerk #1535575 10/14/10 06:20 PM
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For one of the most difficult pieces, has anyone here seen the score to the original Vallee D'obermann (Liszt)? I won't even attempt to begin it for a LONG while yet...


All theory, dear friend, is grey, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
Re: Composer's Hardest Piece
david_a #1535576 10/14/10 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by david_a
Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
most difficult? probably yhe one you're practicing at the moment...though Gaspard and op.39 8/9/10 are quite a hurdle, ...
Pardon my ignorance, but whose Op.39 do you refer to?

Betcha he means Rachmaninov...


Jason
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