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#2047861 - 03/13/13 08:19 PM Liszt Operatic Transcription Difficulty
DkCHoPSUEY Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/09
Posts: 21
Loc: Chicago
Hey guys. So I have this list of Opera Transcriptions that I would like to learn someday, and among them are:

Reminiscences de Norma
Valse Infernale Reminiscences de Robert le Diable
Faust Waltz
Reminiscences de Lucia du Lamermoor
Reminiscences de Don Juan
Tannhauser Overture
Tristan und Isolde Liebestod

I recently completed learning the Reminiscences de Norma and can play it pretty well (still needs more polishing, but it is definitely attainable). I am just wondering how you guys would rank the difficulty of the other pieces on this list compared to the Norma. Thanks in advance!

Edited by DkCHoPSUEY (03/13/13 08:24 PM)
"All we have to decide, is what to do with the time that is given to us...." -Gandalf

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#2047870 - 03/13/13 08:43 PM Re: Liszt Operatic Transcription Difficulty [Re: DkCHoPSUEY]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 22156
Loc: New York City
I am not even vaguely capable of playing the Norma Fantasy even if I practice it forever, but I think I have a reasonably good idea of the relative difficulty of the pieces you mention. So I don't understand how someone capable of playing Norma is not be able to judge the difficulties of these pieces. And doesn't the answer as always depend to a large part on one's particular technical strengths/weaknesses?

For example, I think it's fairly obvious that all the pieces require big virtuoso technique but that Lucia and Tristan are somewhat easier.

OTOH I can understand why anyone who was going to devote the time to learn one of these pieces might want to hear other peoples' opinions.

Edited by pianoloverus (03/13/13 08:43 PM)

#2047876 - 03/13/13 09:07 PM Re: Liszt Operatic Transcription Difficulty [Re: pianoloverus]
DkCHoPSUEY Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/09
Posts: 21
Loc: Chicago
Yes, I know all these pieces are extremely difficult, I am not dumb, why else would I ask others what they thought about it? I was just wondering what the relative difficulties of these pieces were...because I was pleasantly surprised too when I actually finished learning Norma which was one of my lifelong dreams since I was a kid, which before then, I had viewed all these pieces as unattainable, and indeed some of these still might be unattainable. Advanced or not advanced, does not mean I can't ask others what they think

I am glad you put that second part of your comment on here now that I look at it...sorry, usually I kind of steam up when people criticize a simple question, and I especially hate the types of comments like "as an advanced pianist, I do not understand why you can't decide for yourself." Why do we have teachers to give us suggested repertoire even at the advanced level then if we can "decide for ourselves?"

Anyways, sorry about steaming up...I just really dislike people criticizing questions...it's actually happened quite a lot today in some of my lectures (I am a college student), so I am a little on edge...I apologize

Edited by DkCHoPSUEY (03/13/13 09:12 PM)
"All we have to decide, is what to do with the time that is given to us...." -Gandalf

#2047959 - 03/13/13 11:59 PM Re: Liszt Operatic Transcription Difficulty [Re: DkCHoPSUEY]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5446
Loc: Philadelphia
I'm with pianolover. I'm not criticizing the fact that you asked a question, but I think your question could have been more meaningful to you. (And I think, to some degree, this is where pianolover was coming from, also.) I've never understood why we get questions like, "Hey, so, I just learned Rachmaninoff's 3rd Piano Concerto. I think it's easy, and I play it perfectly. Can you tell me what the relative difficulty of Mary Had A Little Lamb is?"

Now, obviously I'm just being facetious to make a point, but PL is right: if you can play at that level, you should be able to look at a score and decide its relative difficulty. (Especially in conjunction with a recording/video.) If you can't, I would invest some time in studying the music to develop this ability.

Before I get long-winded on the above, I will make at least one dehurtful retraction, so you know I'm not some mean criticizer who should rot in the 9th circle of heck (yes, I typed "heck" and not the other one that automatically gets changed to "heck"--I have learned my lesson): I also believe it is perfectly fine to ask others who have played a piece what they thought of it.

So, in the context of "ranking", I'm not sure that hearing someone else's point of view would benefit you. Their rank depends on their strengths. Your rank will depend on yours. I bring it full circle by saying, it's easy to see that Mary's Little Lamb is much easier than the Rach 3. But compare La Campanella to Feux Follets? If you play intricate, fast passages well, you'd probably prefer Feux Follets. If you play octaves and leaps well, you'd probably prefer La Campanella.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? I think, perhaps, knowing that, it may give more meaning/weight to any rankings. I'm sure there are several experts on these operatic transcriptions. (Unfortunately, I am not one of them.. but knowing the answer to the question, I could certainly help analyze the scores if you'd like.) The more information they have about your abilities, the better they would be able to help you decide on a ranking that suits your technique--and, in which case, is more meaningful than a random list. smile
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2047990 - 03/14/13 01:11 AM Re: Liszt Operatic Transcription Difficulty [Re: Derulux]
DkCHoPSUEY Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/06/09
Posts: 21
Loc: Chicago
I understand. I guess earlier, I was just a little annoyed. I had a bad day which was mostly caused by this exact problem of people criticizing questions that I would ask trying to make me look dumb. I've calmed down now! smile

Anyways, I would say that my strengths would include octaves, arpeggios (like that one part of the Norma towards the end with all those arpeggios that go up and down), chord playing (just being able to bring out the main notes in a chord more than the accompaniment notes), and I can probably play intricate fast passages decently with some slow practice.

I know in the Don Juan, there's rapid progressions of 3rds, and I definitely cannot do that (though I would like a recommendation of some way I could build up that aspect of my technique). I am not very good at playing repeated upward/downward patterns where your left and right hands start on different notes and proceed in the direction of the same pattern (not sure how to describe this). I am definitely horrible at pieces that have a lot of weird chord structures/dissonance like Prokofiev 3rd. The chords just don't sound right to me and I always feel like I am missing a sharp or flat on those! Haha!

Anyways, sorry about that outburst earlier. Thanks for the replies guys!

Edited by DkCHoPSUEY (03/14/13 01:13 AM)
"All we have to decide, is what to do with the time that is given to us...." -Gandalf


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