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#2003869 - 12/24/12 11:10 AM Chopin Ballades  
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Can anyone order the Chopin Ballades in order of technical difficulty, then general difficulty thanks

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#2003890 - 12/24/12 11:38 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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Nope. Nobody can do such a thing.

#2003896 - 12/24/12 11:52 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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in my experience learning them, i thought the last was most technically difficult. everybody has their own technical strengths and weaknesses though.

#2003899 - 12/24/12 11:58 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: spk]  
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Originally Posted by spk
[...] everybody has their own technical strengths and weaknesses though.


And therein lies the very reason that it makes little sense to try to rank in order of difficulty pieces that are, as a whole, very difficult. It's not as though one were comparing a Bach minuet with a Rachmaninoff concerto!

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#2003942 - 12/24/12 01:45 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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Why do you ask?

#2003945 - 12/24/12 01:49 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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If you have to ask, then you're probably not ready for any of them. The Third is the least problematic, but I found the counting and rhythmical issues to be fairly tricky.

#2003949 - 12/24/12 01:57 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: jeffreyjones]  
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
If you have to ask, then you're probably not ready for any of them.

That's what I think whenever I see a thread like this, but I assume it's not necessarily right.

#2003956 - 12/24/12 02:11 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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I attempted the 4th Ballade but got bogged down half way through. My teacher suggested I wait a while before going back to it.

He then assigned me the 3rd Ballade. I'm tying together the last challenges of it. The last 5 pages are a blast to play but I'm still not getting clarity and accuracy on some of the large chordal passages. I'd have say the 3rd is easier than the 4th but that doesn't mean it's easy.

I wonder what happened to WiseIdiot? He was attempting the 3rd but I had the impression he was in over his head. I wonder how he did? He hasn't posted since September.


Best regards,

Deborah
#2003959 - 12/24/12 02:17 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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I would learn all four scherzi before any of the ballades.

#2003963 - 12/24/12 02:30 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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I think there are very easy parts in all of them, but overall, when the going gets tough, I think the first and last are slightly harder than the other two. But what do I know? I can only play the easy parts of them anyway. I know Horowitz avoided the fourth, playing the first all the time in concerts. I think he chose his pieces carefully and kept his performing list smaller than a lot of other pianists, but there must have been something about the fourth that he didn't like, or worried about. I like it the best, personally.

#2003980 - 12/24/12 02:54 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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Horowitz played the 4th Ballade but I think earlier in his career. I believe his recording is on YouTube.

#2004012 - 12/24/12 04:13 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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Chopin writes pianistically-problematic codas for his larger works, so expect all of the Ballades to become ridiculously awkward when the notes get quicker at the end.


Working on:
Chopin - Nocturne op. 48 no.1
Debussy - Images Book II

#2004013 - 12/24/12 04:13 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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Horowitz has at least two commercial recordings of the 4th Ballade (one from his 1981 Met recital) and several non-commercial ones. He obviously did not have any technical problems with the work. Perhaps he didn't like the 4th Ballade as much as the 1st Ballade, or perhaps he wasn't interpretively comfortable with the 4th Ballade (the most profound of Chopin's works).

Regarding the thread question, I think that most pianists would agree that the 4th Ballade is the most technically and musically demanding, while the 3rd Ballade is the least technically demanding. The debatable issue is whether the 1st Ballade is harder than the 2nd Ballade.

Last edited by LaReginadellaNotte; 12/25/12 01:51 AM.

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Liszt: Concerto #1 in Eb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dY9Qw8Z7ao
Bach: Partita #2 in c minor
Beethoven: Sonata #23 in f minor, Opus 57 ("Appassionata")
Chopin: Etudes Opus 25 #6,9,10,11,12
Prokofiev: Sonata #3 in a minor
Suggestion diabolique
#2004015 - 12/24/12 04:14 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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According to my experience ( I studied all Ballades )

technical difficulty:

No. 2 > No. 1 > No. 4 > No. 3
hardest

musical difficulty:

No. 3 > No. 4 > No. 1 > No. 2
hardest

rhythmic difficulty:

No. 3 > No. 1 > No. 4 > No. 2
hardest

So "IMO" skip No. 2 and No. 3 ( cause they are, I think above your level, I guess )

Choose No. 1 or No. 4

But their codas require mature technique.

@Joel_W

Scherzos are harder than ballades. Especially Scherzo no. 4 and no. 1 are devilishly hard.

Last edited by Batuhan; 12/24/12 04:18 PM.

Sorry for my English, I know it sucks, but I'm trying to improve.

#2004018 - 12/24/12 04:18 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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I would rank 4 over the others on musical difficulty and interpretive difficulty as well as technical. Then 1. Numbers 2 and 3 less so than the others.

#2004023 - 12/24/12 04:30 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by Joel_W
I would learn all four scherzi before any of the ballades.

IMO the 4th Scherzo is a greater technical challenge than any of the Ballades.

#2004024 - 12/24/12 04:31 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Chopinlover49]  
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Originally Posted by Chopinlover49
I think there are very easy parts in all of them....

Not really. smile

Quote
....I know Horowitz avoided the fourth....

He recorded it, and performed it many times.

Originally Posted by LaReginadellaNotte
....Perhaps he didn't like the 4th Ballade as much as the 3rd Ballade, or perhaps he wasn't interpretively comfortable with the 4th Ballade....

I don't think there's any reason to think that. And BTW I don't know that he gave any more attention to the 3rd than to the 4th.

Actually I think the one he played least was the 2nd.

#2004033 - 12/24/12 05:01 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Chopinlover49
I think there are very easy parts in all of them....

Not really. smile


Spoken like a true Chopiniac. Still I think the OP would be least likely to butcher the 3rd one...maybe.

#2004047 - 12/24/12 05:42 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Joel_W
I would learn all four scherzi before any of the ballades.

IMO the 4th Scherzo is a greater technical challenge than any of the Ballades.


For you!

#2004062 - 12/24/12 06:23 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by Joel_W
I would learn all four scherzi before any of the ballades.


Why not simply learn some of the more difficult Preludes, Impromptus, Mazurkas or whatever. Why "all four" of the Scherzi ??? Are they really a "prerequisite" for the Ballades??? smile



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#2004065 - 12/24/12 06:41 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by Joel_W
Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Joel_W
I would learn all four scherzi before any of the ballades.

IMO the 4th Scherzo is a greater technical challenge than any of the Ballades.

For you!

Well yeah!
Or maybe I just handle the Ballades unusually well. ha

But seriously folks....what I said about the 4th Scherzo is far from an idiosyncratic view. smile

#2004069 - 12/24/12 06:59 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Carey]  
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Originally Posted by carey
Originally Posted by Joel_W
I would learn all four scherzi before any of the ballades.


Why not simply learn some of the more difficult Preludes, Impromptus, Mazurkas or whatever. Why "all four" of the Scherzi ??? Are they really a "prerequisite" for the Ballades??? smile



Well, for technique, of course not. But I think that the scherzi are musically less challenging than the ballades. I think tackling one or two of the scherzi before any of the ballades is a good idea. Once a pianist can make a scherzi come together as a whole, then it's time for one of the ballades. I don't think it must be done that way but I just think it's a good idea.


#2004076 - 12/24/12 07:21 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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They're all staggeringly difficult. Don't buy into this "technically more difficult" or "musically more difficult" talk. They are all staggeringly difficult in both regards. Also, what makes something more difficult than something else, especially with pieces these difficult, is entirely different for you than it is for me.

#2004100 - 12/24/12 08:42 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by Joel_W
[...]Once a pianist can make a scherzi scherzo come together as a whole [...]


scherzo - singular
scherzi - plural


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#2004101 - 12/24/12 08:54 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Joel_W
[...]Once a pianist can make a scherzi scherzo come together as a whole [...]


scherzo - singular
scherzi - plural


Whoops, made a typi. Thanks, Bruce.

#2004104 - 12/24/12 09:11 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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The ballades are so difficult because there are so many sections and themes its very hard to hold them together. Often performances sound fragmented and as if the pianist is playing many different pieces together. The technical difficult is immense too. But I would say for someone who has never attempted a Ballade before, start with Ballade 1.

Ballade 1 is the most straight forward to begin with. Its not the most difficult in all aspects. Put in some work and it will sound decent.
Ballade 2 is too technically difficult.
Ballade 3 is very hard to "narrate" with and people often lost the plot somewhere in the middle. Ballade 4 is most difficult all round.

#2004151 - 12/25/12 12:25 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
They're all staggeringly difficult. Don't buy into this "technically more difficult" or "musically more difficult" talk. They are all staggeringly difficult in both regards. Also, what makes something more difficult than something else, especially with pieces these difficult, is entirely different for you than it is for me.

thumb thumb

#2004154 - 12/25/12 12:32 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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Mark, I believe you have written an entire wall of text concerning the 4th scherzo's transcending difficulty, but I have no idea where to find it. What about it is more difficult for you than the rest of the ballades or scherzi? (and don't hesitate to write another wall of text) smile

#2004162 - 12/25/12 12:52 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by Joel_W
Mark, I believe you have talked about the 4th scherzo before. What about it is more difficult for you than the rest of the ballades or scherzi?

I was hoping somebody would ask. smile

Some of it is hard to describe so I'll save it for last. The easy part to describe is, the passagework is so crystalline and transparent (unless you slosh it all with the pedal, in which case you're not really playing the piece), and so, IMO more so than in any other Chopin piece, the slightest imperfections, especially in evenness, will, ahem, shine through. smile In order to do the piece even half-justice -- or, if you don't want to see it that way, in order not to embarrass yourself -- you need the highest level of technique, aural sensitivity (because without that, even the highest level of technique will somewhat fail you), and poise. In this respect, the piece combines the challenges of playing Mozart with the challenges of Romanticism, and IMO it combines these challenges more than absolutely any other piano piece. (I'm open to suggestions of other pieces that would vie with this Scherzo; I'm sure some pieces of Liszt would be up there. But to me, this piece outstrips them all on this count.)

Now for the aspect that's harder to describe: There are some little brief places which (a) are extremely awkward, and (b) require complex voicing and/or coordination between the hands. Well actually they're not awkward and don't require complex voicing or coordination if you don't care about what's going on and don't care to try to make sense of it. grin
But if you do, the mere 'fingers' aspects are very hard, and even harder if you're trying to make music. The main example that occurs to me is the snippet from 8:29 to 8:32 on here (I'd give measure numbers but don't have them handy):



I'm sure it won't sound like much of anything to most people, but all I can say is, try it! -- and see if you can get it up to some semblance of tempo while feeling like you're making sense of the melodic lines in the treble and bass, and without your brain being scrambled by the subtly clashing voices.
I found it the hardest 3 seconds of Chopin I've ever played, and that includes pieces like the 4th Ballade and the 3rd Sonata.

#2004175 - 12/25/12 02:01 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by LaReginadellaNotte
....Perhaps he didn't like the 4th Ballade as much as the 3rd Ballade, or perhaps he wasn't interpretively comfortable with the 4th Ballade....

I don't think there's any reason to think that. And BTW I don't know that he gave any more attention to the 3rd than to the 4th.

Actually I think the one he played least was the 2nd.

That was a typo on my part. I meant to say that he might have been less comfortable with the 4th Ballade than he was with the 1st Ballade (the Ballade that he frequently played). Horowitz seldom played the 2nd and 3rd Ballades.


Recent Repertoire:
Liszt: Concerto #1 in Eb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dY9Qw8Z7ao
Bach: Partita #2 in c minor
Beethoven: Sonata #23 in f minor, Opus 57 ("Appassionata")
Chopin: Etudes Opus 25 #6,9,10,11,12
Prokofiev: Sonata #3 in a minor
Suggestion diabolique
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