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#2004262 - 12/25/12 12:05 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
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


While I'm at it, same goes with the Scherzi, although they are a much different kind of piece in character than the Ballades.

Of course, there are more specific issues and comparisons to be made with and between all these pieces that could be discussed, but I'm not in the mood for that right now, hehe. I'm too busy putting my new Tallis Scholars and John Ogdon 17-disc set onto my computer right now! laugh

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#2004300 - 12/25/12 02:24 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Orange Soda King]  
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
While I'm at it, same goes with the Scherzi....

Oh -- I thought you had already meant the Scherzi too. ha

But nevertheless, another thumb up. grin

#2004377 - 12/25/12 09:37 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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How about the Beethoven piano sonatas?

Would someone be able to order them for me from easiest to most difficult?






( j/k everybody)

#2004388 - 12/25/12 10:12 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: spk]  
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Originally Posted by spk
How about the Beethoven piano sonatas? Would someone be able to order them for me from easiest to most difficult?


Check this out........

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...2/topic/002368/Number/0/site_id/1#import




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#2004393 - 12/25/12 10:28 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Carey]  
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that's hilarious. i was being facetious.

#2004418 - 12/25/12 11:57 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: spk]  
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Could somebody please number the Beethoven sonatas for me, from 1 to 32? grin

#2004423 - 12/26/12 12:12 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.

And just like all hard pieces, the best way to start learning is to start soon!

Very often the better one gets, the more nuances are found in the music which makes it even more difficult to pull off well. I revisit old pieces that I've played and find that there are new problems each time that I hadn't thought of earlier, so I think that each time I perform something, it gets a bit better in some regard.

And as for the E major scherzo, its hellishly difficult, especially all of those staccato passage which rise up in chords. Though surprisingly, I listened to the section that Mark brought up and found it to be one of the easier parts...

Last edited by Kuanpiano; 12/26/12 12:12 AM.

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

#2004433 - 12/26/12 12:38 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
....I listened to the section that Mark brought up and found it to be one of the easier parts...

I was hoping someone would say that too. grin

I'd love to hear you (or anyone!) play it (at some semblance of tempo, as I said) -- and we'll see if you're doing what I think is there.

Of course one could argue about what I think is there. ha
But what I'm talking about is playing what I think is there!

But I'm with you on the basic thing about the difficulty of the piece, and, speaking of those rising staccato chord passages, and of scrambling our brain (as I said in the previous post): I have a feeling that people who doubt the difficulty (and the complex difficulty) of the piece haven't much gotten to trying (really trying!) the snippet from 8:57-9:04 on the Rubinstein video:



BTW in re-listening to it for this post, I was horrified to see that it seemed I've been misreading a note for my whole life. shocked

But I re-checked the score, and I wasn't. Either he misread it, or he's playing a variant found in other editions. Gotta check it out.

The note in question: It's at 9:02 in this video....let's see how else to describe it: The top note of the 2nd beat of the 3rd-to-last measure of this phrase; or, the 6th-to-last chord of the phrase. My edition (Joseffy) has F# on top; Rubinstein plays F##.

Let's see other editions on IMSLP....

AHA -- I see the issue. smile

The note appears in the previous measure in the left hand clef, as a double sharp. When it appears in the chord in question -- in the next measure, in the right hand clef, while Joseffy indicates a regular sharp on the note, most editions indicate nothing -- which is how I'm guessing it appears in the manuscript(s).

So....what are we to make of that -- i.e. 'nothing' being indicated on a note in the right hand clef, which according to the key signature would be a regular sharp but which in the previous measure appeared in the left hand clef and was a double sharp?

I think it's pretty clearly a single sharp, and that Joseffy was right to clarify it as he did. But I guess you could argue that the double sharp from the previous measure carries over.

Last edited by Mark_C; 12/26/12 01:02 AM.
#2004435 - 12/26/12 12:40 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano


Very often the better one gets, the more nuances are found in the music which makes it even more difficult to pull off well.


Oddly enough, most of the time, the more nuance I find in a piece, the easier it is for me to play well. Don't really know why that is - maybe it focuses attention more? Maybe the concept of the music is more complete? Maybe the nuances give me more confidence that I truly know the music well? Whatever, it seems to work that way for me.

#2004444 - 12/26/12 01:00 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano


Very often the better one gets, the more nuances are found in the music which makes it even more difficult to pull off well.


Oddly enough, most of the time, the more nuance I find in a piece, the easier it is for me to play well. Don't really know why that is - maybe it focuses attention more? Maybe the concept of the music is more complete? Maybe the nuances give me more confidence that I truly know the music well? Whatever, it seems to work that way for me.

That's good! And also true for me. But I feel like...I can't really ever perform a Bach work or Mozart work because...I just have no conception of what's supposed to be going on. I think in order to actually "address the difficulties in the work", I would need to grow as a musician first, before attempting to perform it well.

And @Mark_C, when I was playing the piece (poorly in hindsight), that section I found to be alright because it didn't have the same lightness required for the other sections, and because the voicing was a balance between the left hand and the right pinky, which is one the easier voice-balancing configurations, IMO.


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

#2004446 - 12/26/12 01:04 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
....And @Mark_C, when I was playing the piece (poorly in hindsight), that section I found to be alright because it didn't have the same lightness required for the other sections.....

But IMO it does! -- and that's a big part of the difficulty.
I say it does have it, because if you don't play it with that lightness:

-- the accompanying 8th notes will garble up the melodies and the counterpoint; and

-- the dynamic won't leave room for shaping the two melodies.

#2004447 - 12/26/12 01:04 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano


Very often the better one gets, the more nuances are found in the music which makes it even more difficult to pull off well.


Oddly enough, most of the time, the more nuance I find in a piece, the easier it is for me to play well. Don't really know why that is - maybe it focuses attention more? Maybe the concept of the music is more complete? Maybe the nuances give me more confidence that I truly know the music well? Whatever, it seems to work that way for me.


Finding nuance is pretty related to developing an interpretive approach to a piece, because you're finding details that you want to play a certain way, rather than being terrified by the piece as a whole. So it makes perfect sense that when you've thought through all the details, a piece is easier in a sense. But then you have more details that you have to get right, and more ways to fail to achieve your conception of the piece.

#2004450 - 12/26/12 01:20 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
....And @Mark_C, when I was playing the piece (poorly in hindsight), that section I found to be alright because it didn't have the same lightness required for the other sections.....

But IMO it does! -- and that's a big part of the difficulty.
I say it does have it, because if you don't play it with that lightness:

-- the accompanying 8th notes will garble up the melodies and the counterpoint; and

-- the dynamic won't leave room for shaping the two melodies.

Mm, all true, but I find that section is pretty straightforward , because the speed helps create the lightness, the pedal and the bass octave make the articulation of the inner voice less important (it's not so transparent), and aside from how awkward the fingering gets, once the appropriate balance is achieved, it's alright. I have a live recording, but it's not great (in terms of performance), but also because I made some note mistakes at that very section...

I'll try it again when I take another look at this piece (maybe sometime soon?), and I'll share my thoughts then.

Back to the Ballades, they're all hard to conceptualize and keep coherent, because the form is IMO, not all that tight. It's important to make the codas seem like the inevitable product of the tension underlying the rest of the pieces, which is difficult because Chopin introduces new material in all of them.

Last edited by Kuanpiano; 12/26/12 01:22 AM.

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

#2004452 - 12/26/12 01:36 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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Mark, about that note: I hear it. He 'sharpens' one of the melodic notes in that phrase at 9:02. I've never heard it like that before. Though, Rubinstein is known for playing different versions of things.

#2004454 - 12/26/12 01:46 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Kuanpiano]  
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
....but also because I made some note mistakes at that very section...

Do you realize how ironic that is, after you said that you didn't see what's so hard about it?

We make 'note mistakes' there not because the notes per se would be hard, but because of everything else about the passage (as per the things we said) that makes the passage complex. If we don't appreciate those things and don't care about them, then I suppose it wouldn't be hard -- but we wouldn't be doing what's there. And once we're conscious of what's there and we want to do it, the notes become hard too.

#2004455 - 12/26/12 01:47 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: JoelW]  
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Originally Posted by Joel_W
Mark, about that note: I hear it. He 'sharpens' one of the melodic notes in that phrase at 9:02. I've never heard it like that before. Though, Rubinstein is known for playing different versions of things.

Joel: See my edit. It seems that what he's doing is just a certain kind of interpretation of the notation.

#2004457 - 12/26/12 01:52 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
....but also because I made some note mistakes at that very section...

Do you realize how ironic that is, after you said that you didn't see what's so hard about it?

We make 'note mistakes' there not because the notes per se would be hard, but because of everything else about the passage (as per the things we said) that make the passage complex. If we don't appreciate those things and don't care about them, then I suppose it wouldn't be hard -- but we wouldn't be doing what's there. And once we're conscious of what's there and we want to do it, the notes become hard too.

Yep, pretty ironic in hindsight actually!

I actually found a second recording I made...slower than the live performance by a minute, and again - in hindsight - I wasn't ready for the piece, nor did I appreciate its difficulties at the time.

Here's a link with that disclaimer in mind...
https://www.box.com/s/aqad5t4kcgl560jlj1c4


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

#2004458 - 12/26/12 01:59 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: im@me]  
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Thanks Mark for the Rubinstein playing of the Scherzo 4 (which is no joke!) ... staggering performance ... Chopin needed 20 pages (according to my edition)
to write down this racy work ... after attempting the first page of S4 (going at 20 mph) I’m off to the quack to mend my fingers ... but I do like Rubinstein’s masterly use of rubato ... somehow slows the mighty express down around the curves.

PS To keep on subject ...
I have only played through the first Chopin Ballade ...
which is a piece of cake ... except for the tricky fast bits.

#2004460 - 12/26/12 02:08 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: btb]  
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Originally Posted by btb
Thanks Mark for the Rubinstein playing of the Scherzo 4 (which is no joke!) ... staggering performance ... Chopin needed 20 pages (according to my edition)
to write down this racy work....

26 in the Joseffy. eek

Yes, I counted, and cursed. ha

How many other people do that -- i.e. see how many pages the score is when they start working on a piece, and keep on checking as you go along to see what fraction of the way you are? And, sort of curse when you see how far there still is to go?

(And being relieved when you see how much is sort of repetition....) grin

Anyway I'm always glad they didn't make there be fewer pages by making the print smaller.... ha

#2004461 - 12/26/12 02:30 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
How many other people do that -- i.e. see how many pages the score is when they start working on a piece, and keep on checking as you go along to see what fraction of the way you are? And, sort of curse when you see how far there still is to go?

(And being relieved when you see how much is sort of repetition....) grin
I do that constantly.

And I do that as a composer as well (*ashamed emoticon here*)... This is why I went back working on miniatures... To avoid checking the "200 bars and counting" thing...

#2004462 - 12/26/12 02:31 AM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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#2004557 - 12/26/12 12:45 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: btb]  
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Originally Posted by btb
Thanks Mark for the Rubinstein playing of the Scherzo 4 (which is no joke!) ...


Actually, all of the Scherzos ARE jokes. Literally. smile


Currently working on: Bach Partita 4, English Suite 2, Toccata d-minor, Chopin-op 10/1, Schubert Impromptus
#2004560 - 12/26/12 12:53 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by btb
[...]Chopin needed 20 pages (according to my edition)
to write down this racy work....

26 in the Joseffy. eek

[...]How many other people do that -- i.e. see how many pages the score is when they start working on a piece, and keep on checking as you go along to see what fraction of the way you are? And, sort of curse when you see how far there still is to go?
[...]


Well, if one is counting - and why would one? - it's 23 pages in the well-printed Henle. It would make more sense (if one is counting - and why would one?) to count the number of measures, wouldn't it?

Regards,


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#2004568 - 12/26/12 01:13 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: BruceD]  
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Originally Posted by BruceD
....It would make more sense (if one is counting - and why would one?) to count the number of measures, wouldn't it?

Don't think I don't do that too. ha

#2004599 - 12/26/12 02:15 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by BruceD
....It would make more sense (if one is counting - and why would one?) to count the number of measures, wouldn't it?

Don't think I don't do that too. ha


Or the number of notes.

I'm in way over my head learning the 4th ballade, i'm on page 11 (of 18 Joseffy). I may be on 25% of the notes. smile

So far nothing I won't be able to play in about 5 years, but its the coda i'm worried about if i will ever be able to do it.

Last edited by kuifje; 12/26/12 02:16 PM.
#2004629 - 12/26/12 03:01 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: kuifje]  
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Originally Posted by kuifje
....its the coda i'm worried about if i will ever be able to do it.

No problem -- just throw your hands up in the air after those fortissimo chords, people will applaud....Stand up and take your bows, and you don't need no coda. ha

#2004633 - 12/26/12 03:11 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by kuifje
....its the coda i'm worried about if i will ever be able to do it.

No problem -- just throw your hands up in the air after those fortissimo chords, people will applaud....Stand up and take your bows, and you don't need no coda. ha


That's actually plan B. I do it with the Barcarolle too. I think I will ultimately be able to manage that coda, but until i do I stop just after the fermata with as big a bang as possible.

#2004637 - 12/26/12 03:31 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: kuifje]  
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Originally Posted by kuifje
That's actually plan B. I do it with the Barcarolle too. I think I will ultimately be able to manage that coda, but until i do I stop just after the fermata with as big a bang as possible.

Cool! Now maybe you can come up with a way not to play "that measure" in the Db major Nocturne.... grin

#2004643 - 12/26/12 03:41 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: Mark_C]  
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hahaha!

I was just thinking about that! I mean, i love Chopin, but I hate it when he does that. With "that", i mean writing a beautiful, perfectly playable nocturne, and then putting in a measure like that.

Actually I put a lot of work in that measure, and i think i can play it now at about 3/4 speed, which is good enough, i mean, it is still fast and sparkling.

Also i wonder, selling sheet music was a big source of income for him right? So wouldn't it have been in his interest to write easier music, or provide alternatives? Or were the amateur pianists of his time so much better than now? Or did they buy his works even if they couldn't play it?

Last edited by kuifje; 12/26/12 03:42 PM.
#2004651 - 12/26/12 04:04 PM Re: Chopin Ballades [Re: kuifje]  
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Originally Posted by kuifje
....Also i wonder, selling sheet music was a big source of income for him right? So wouldn't it have been in his interest to write easier music, or provide alternatives? Or were the amateur pianists of his time so much better than now? Or did they buy his works even if they couldn't play it?

The simplest answer is that people like Chopin weren't heavily motivated in their composing by money. And in Chopin's case, I think he had pretty much all the money he wanted from giving piano lessons to countesses. smile

Also maybe he figured people would buy the sheet music before turning to that page. ha

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