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Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? #1713101
07/14/11 07:29 AM
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Hello there :), how would you rank all of Schubert's sonatas in terms of difficulty?

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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Gould] #1713109
07/14/11 08:17 AM
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I've only played one, the C minor...not easy at all.

Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Gould] #1713247
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A minor D. 845 and A major D. 664 are the only ones within reach for most amateur pianists.

Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Gould] #1713251
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Originally Posted by Vesivian
Hello there :), how would you rank all of Schubert's sonatas in terms of difficulty?


They are all very difficult, and it would be very hard to rank them in difficulty because it for the most part, difficulty is different from person to person.

They are all also very fantastic. laugh

Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Gould] #1713311
07/14/11 01:53 PM
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I've learned two A major Schubert sonatas.

About four years ago I tackled 959. It was a real stretch for me, but I finally succeeded in playing it at a reasonably correct tempo, and in a manner that seemed musical to me.

Then, about two years ago, I learned 664, which was a piece of cake in comparison.

I feel that 959 is a little overrated by those who write books and professionally opine about these things. The first movement, in particular, seems like warmed over Beethoven. It's interesting that when Schubert's last sonatas are assessed, the rationale is usually something like "at the end of his life, Schubert finally wrote some sonatas that were in a league with LVB's." My take is that in this sonata, he sort of lost himself to Beethoven, particularly in the first movement, and the sonata suffers for that reason. The inner movements, the andantino and the scherzo, are as fine as anything Schubert ever wrote, much better than the first movement, and very unlike Beethoven--in my opinion.

664 is a delight, and it's pure Schubert--my favorite composer--all the way.

Tomasino


"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10

Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: tomasino] #1713364
07/14/11 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by tomasino
I feel that 959 is a little overrated by those who write books and professionally opine about these things. The first movement, in particular, seems like warmed over Beethoven. It's interesting that when Schubert's last sonatas are assessed, the rationale is usually something like "at the end of his life, Schubert finally wrote some sonatas that were in a league with LVB's." My take is that in this sonata, he sort of lost himself to Beethoven, particularly in the first movement, and the sonata suffers for that reason. The inner movements, the andantino and the scherzo, are as fine as anything Schubert ever wrote, much better than the first movement, and very unlike Beethoven--in my opinion.Tomasino

Interesting analysis. I'll have to think about it to see if I agree. smile

What do you think of the first movement's development section? That's always been very special to me, and feels like quintessential Schubert.

And the last movement, which you didn't mention explicitly, has for its main theme my very favorite Schubert melody (maybe my favorite melody ever?) which, all by itself, justifies the whole sonata for me.

My own personal jury is out only on the second movement's middle section. It's not that it's too radical and experimental for me. (After all, I do love Schoenberg and Webern.) It's that I'm not sure if the experiment works.

-Jason


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Orange Soda King] #1713616
07/15/11 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by Vesivian
Hello there :), how would you rank all of Schubert's sonatas in terms of difficulty?

They are all very difficult, and it would be very hard to rank them in difficulty because it for the most part, difficulty is different from person to person.

+1

I would have a similar hard time (although maybe a little less so) ranking Mozart's sonatas. Beethoven and Haydn are sort of easier to do this on, aren't they....

Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: jeffreyjones] #1713620
07/15/11 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
A minor D. 845 and A major D. 664 are the only ones within reach for most amateur pianists.

The trouble with that (IMO) is that it might apply to much or most of those sonatas, but not their entirety. So, really it works only if people leave out the parts they can't play.

For example, the development section of 664's last movement is technically as hard as anything in any other Schubert sonata. * In fact, we might say that even about just the one measure of the rising F# major figure (the one with alternate double-notes). The section and even just that measure aren't within reach of most amateur pianists, unless they slow it down or play it not very well. And if we reduce the playing criterion to that, then all of Schubert's sonatas are also within their reach.

There's a similar thing about many Chopin pieces. People might say (and often do) that such-and-such piece is easy -- like, the D-flat major Nocturne. Trouble is, they're not counting "that one measure." ha

P.S. When I first learned that sonata, that development section was the first part I worked on. I wanted to make sure I'd be able to play it before spending much time on the rest of the piece. I wasn't at all sure that I could.


*
And so is the leaping L.H. accompaniment of the last movement's 2nd theme!

Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Mark_C] #1819961
01/06/12 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
A minor D. 845 and A major D. 664 are the only ones within reach for most amateur pianists.

The trouble with that (IMO) is that it might apply to much or most of those sonatas, but not their entirety. So, really it works only if people leave out the parts they can't play.

For example, the development section of 664's last movement is technically as hard as anything in any other Schubert sonata. * In fact, we might say that even about just the one measure of the rising F# major figure (the one with alternate double-notes). The section and even just that measure aren't within reach of most amateur pianists, unless they slow it down or play it not very well. And if we reduce the playing criterion to that, then all of Schubert's sonatas are also within their reach.

P.S. When I first learned that sonata, that development section was the first part I worked on. I wanted to make sure I'd be able to play it before spending much time on the rest of the piece. I wasn't at all sure that I could.


*
And so is the leaping L.H. accompaniment of the last movement's 2nd theme!


I apologize for resurrecting an old thread, but since I am currently learning the D.664, I wanted to add a comment. The 1st movement of 664 is probably "early advanced" in difficulty, and the second movement can easily be played by an intermediate level student. The third movement, however, is another story - and reminds me of the third movement of the Wanderer Fantasy both in character and overall difficulty. Finally worked out the fingering this week, and now things are starting to fall into place. Such a beautiful piece !!!! smile

Last edited by carey; 01/06/12 09:26 PM.

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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Carey] #1819967
01/06/12 09:57 PM
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Well, since you revived the thread and I am also working on 664...The first movement is not terribly difficult technically, but is really difficult to voice and presents quite a few problems with balance. Also the tempo is really crucial to maintain the really long melodic lines; too slow and it dies unless you are Richter. If you play it at a nice clip, those octaves in the development require a little work. The second movement is about voicing, voicing, voicing. An intermediate pianist might be able to play the notes in rhythm, but to really make it sing is another story. The third movement is a bugger, especially if you try to get it around 80. Those rising double notes are a real pain, and some of those alternating lh/rh arpeggios in the exposition and recap are just really awkward and require some very quick hand displacement. Some of the jumps are quite tricky at tempo, unless you slow them down. Altogether not so easy. The is an early two-movement Sonata in E minor D.566, which I think is a perfect introductory sonata, but it has a few technical problems as well.


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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Gould] #1819981
01/06/12 10:40 PM
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Dame Myra -

Actually I need to listen to the Richter recording of 664 again. Have it on an LP that I bought 50 years ago (the Wanderer Fantasy is on the flip side).

I do have a fingering question related to the first movement. How do you handle the RH in measure 34 through 37, and 113 through 116. My edition suggests that the first note of each 6 note figure be played with the 2nd finger (i.e., first figure = 2-1-3-5-3-1). For some reason I'm finding that this feels quite awkward and I keep missing the lower note. What fingering do you use?????

And yes, the octaves in the first movement development section are a bit of a pain as well. smile




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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Gould] #1819983
01/06/12 10:45 PM
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How does the D.784 compare to the D.664?

Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Carey] #1819987
01/06/12 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by carey
Dame Myra -

Actually I need to listen to the Richter recording of 664 again. Have it on an LP that I bought 50 years ago (the Wanderer Fantasy is on the flip side).

I do have a fingering question related to the first movement. How do you handle the RH in measure 34 through 37, and 113 through 116. My edition suggests that the first note of each 6 note figure be played with the 2nd finger (i.e., first figure = 2-1-3-5-3-1). For some reason I'm finding that this feels quite awkward and I keep missing the lower note. What fingering do you use?????

And yes, the octaves in the first movement development section are a bit of a pain as well. smile



I use the 2. There really isn't any other fingering that works. (And as my teacher usually says in these situation, "Sorry.") And it does feel awkward, like much of Schubert. I just practiced it over and over, slowly. After awhile it just came and the whole shape of the phrase sort of fell in place. You aren't trying to connect the 2 and 1 are you? It is also one of those places where you have to look at the keyboard.

It really is a beautiful sonata, isn't it? My teacher, who has performed and taught most of them, agrees with me that overall it is probably the most "successful" of the sonatas.

Last edited by DameMyra; 01/06/12 10:56 PM.

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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Gould] #1819988
01/06/12 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Avaritia
How does the D.784 compare to the D.664?


784 is quite a bit more difficult and if you take take the octave triplets at the end of the 3rd movement at the same tempo as the rest of the movement, it is impossibly more difficult.


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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: DameMyra] #1819995
01/06/12 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by DameMyra
[quote=carey]Dame Myra -
You aren't trying to connect the 2 and 1 are you? It is also one of those places where you have to look at the keyboard.


No - I'm not. Guess I'll simply use 2 - practice slowly - and watch my hands !!!!! Thanks ! smile

And yes - this is a beautiful work. Just listened to Richter, Hess and Kempff. I prefer Richter's interpretation.

Last edited by carey; 01/06/12 11:22 PM.

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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Carey] #1819998
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Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by DameMyra
[quote=carey]Dame Myra -
You aren't trying to connect the 2 and 1 are you? It is also one of those places where you have to look at the keyboard.


No - I'm not. Guess I'll simply use 2 - practice slowly - and watch my hands !!!!! Thanks ! smile

And yes - this is a beautiful work. Just listened to Richter, Hess and Kempff. I prefer Richter's interpretation.


Two other versions I like on youtube are Ingrid Haebler and Solomon.


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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: DameMyra] #1820010
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Originally Posted by DameMyra


Two other versions I like on youtube are Ingrid Haebler and Solomon.


Thanks for the tip !! Just listened to both Haebler and Solomon (3rd movement only) as well as a recording by Badura-Skoda. The overall sound quality of the Solomon recording is superb - and I like his interpretation almost as much as Richter's. They set the bar so high for us ..........


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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: Gould] #1820135
01/07/12 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Avaritia
how would you rank all of Schubert's sonatas in terms of difficulty?


Easiest to most difficult, or vice versa, if you prefer.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

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Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: DameMyra] #1820398
01/07/12 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by DameMyra
Well, since you revived the thread and I am also working on 664...The first movement is not terribly difficult technically, but is really difficult to voice and presents quite a few problems with balance. Also the tempo is really crucial to maintain the really long melodic lines; too slow and it dies unless you are Richter. If you play it at a nice clip, those octaves in the development require a little work. The second movement is about voicing, voicing, voicing. An intermediate pianist might be able to play the notes in rhythm, but to really make it sing is another story. The third movement is a bugger, especially if you try to get it around 80. Those rising double notes are a real pain, and some of those alternating lh/rh arpeggios in the exposition and recap are just really awkward and require some very quick hand displacement. Some of the jumps are quite tricky at tempo, unless you slow them down. Altogether not so easy. The is an early two-movement Sonata in E minor D.566, which I think is a perfect introductory sonata, but it has a few technical problems as well.


smile I'm working on the D.664 as well! the second movement is especially beautiful...

I've never played any other Schubert sonatas though, so I couldn't really tell you which is more difficult. I guess it's on the easy side of his sonatas? "little" a-major, but still very lovely

Re: Rank in difficulty of Schubert's sonatas? [Re: emmov] #1820504
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I'm going to be working on the A Major Sonata D.664 also when my piano lessons resume next week, so I've just started it. It's my first Schubert Sonata. My teacher also said that the second movement is very pretty and that I will love it. smile


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