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Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
#2598571 12/28/16 01:53 AM
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This came at me out of the blue while I was listening to the terrific recording of Alborada Del Gracioso on the member recordings forum (sorry I can't remember the chap's name): What piece has the most difficult single-note repetitions in the post-double-escapement piano repertory?

My first thought was Alborada vs. Scarbo, which is of particular interest to me because I'm currently grappling with Scarbo after abandoning Alborada, not because of the repetitions but because of the double-note glissandi, which I couldn't see myself ever mastering. As far as the repetitions go, I would place Scarbo a notch higher than Alborada in terms of difficulty, mostly because of the complexity of the scoring (hand-crossing/interlocking) but also because you have to learn a whole bunch of different iterations of the figure, none of which is the same as any of the others. Then there's the D# reps in the opening and middle sections. These can be fingered (4321 4321 or something similar), fluttered using the front and back of the middle finger in the French manner, or just playing the notes as fast as you can with one finger, which is how I am working it. So there's a couple of candidates.

Other Ravel might include the last movement of Tombeau and there's some in the last movement of the G major concerto, but I don't think those are in the same league of difficulty.

The locus classicus is probably Liszt's La Campanella, in which the composer deliberately endeavored to exploit Erard's recently patented double échappement. These are really challenging when he moves from triplet 16th notes to 32nd notes; the latter, IMO, are virtually impossible to execute flawlessly. Of course there's lots of other Liszt examples - one of my favorite moments is the short passage in the middle of his Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este. Anyone who has ever learned this piece will know what I'm talking about. Also, Venezia e Napoli?

Moving on, Rachmaninov uses the technique in various places, for example in the last movement of the third concerto, where everything is so hard that the repetitions barely figure in the grand scheme of difficulty. More interesting are those triplet RH octaves in the development section of the first movement of the second concerto. Absolutely no way to cheat or use inventive fingering with those and they have to be so crisp and light as to sound completely effortless.

Another contender, of course, is Der Erlkönig, both Schubert's original and Liszt's transcription. Again, no opportunity for cheating, though I know people do. This may be the most difficult of all to bring off perfectly in performance.

Anyway, I'd be interested to hear some opinions about this, not only regarding the most difficult examples, but also any interesting usages (Ligeti, perhaps? Stockhausen?). So, yeah.


SRF
Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2598573 12/28/16 01:55 AM
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Start with here!



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

Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
Kuanpiano #2598575 12/28/16 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Start with here!

That's great. Thanks Kuanpiano!

Lots of Liszt as expected. I love the Josef Hofman version of the 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody. I think contenders for most difficult would have to include the Debussy Etude #9, Thalberg, the Schumann Carnival example (though for the wrong reasons - just not very pianistic), and maybe Scriabin 8. On the other hand, the opening to Ondine is, I think, a different pianistic paradigm with its own problems that are not all related to repetition. Oddly, I don't think the Alkan example is all that difficult (relatively speaking!). And I don't think the example from the Liszt Rhapsody #6 really belongs in this group.

So, question to all who have listened to this selection, what's the most difficult? Anyone who doesn't say Scarbo (Argerich at her aggressive best!) better have a good argument why not.


SRF
Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2598592 12/28/16 03:49 AM
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In the video above Hofmann plays the Caprice Espagnole at slightly faster than dotted crochet = 120. This means he's playing repeated notes at 12 notes per second!


Working on

Chopin: op. 25 no. 11
Haydn: Sonata in in Eb Hob XVI/52
Schumann: Piano concerto 1st movement
Rachmaninoff: op. 39 no. 8

Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2598636 12/28/16 09:10 AM
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Lipatti's reading of Alborada del Gracioso has the best repeated notes I've ever heard. It's like a machine gun! Really takes a piano in good regulation to pull them off well. The super heavy action of my church's Chickering makes it downright hazardous to do a lot of repeated notes.

Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2598637 12/28/16 09:18 AM
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Cadenza of Alkan's Concerto for Solo Piano and Alkan's cadenza to Beethoven's third concerto have repeated note sections, but I'm not sure if they're quite up there with Ravel's Alborada in difficulty to execute. Maybe dolce sfogato can fill us in.

Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2598646 12/28/16 10:01 AM
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Any number of pieces by Ligeti use very fast repetition over great lengths of time.


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Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2598739 12/28/16 02:43 PM
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Stravinsky's Duo Concertante starts with a lot of repeated 64th notes at mm=88, to be played with both hands.


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Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2598742 12/28/16 02:54 PM
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This may not be among the most difficult, but surely it's up there, somewhere:



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Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
Orange Soda King #2598783 12/28/16 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Cadenza of Alkan's Concerto for Solo Piano and Alkan's cadenza to Beethoven's third concerto have repeated note sections, but I'm not sure if they're quite up there with Ravel's Alborada in difficulty to execute. Maybe dolce sfogato can fill us in.
indeed,the coda of Alkan's op.39/8 is the longest passage of repeated notes I ever saw/played, but may be not as difficult as Ravel, though the alborada repeated note sections fit reasonably well under the fingers. Moszkowki's Capriccio espagnole caused me more trouble.


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Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
BruceD #2598804 12/28/16 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
This may not be among the most difficult, but surely it's up there, somewhere:



Regards,


Ahh yes, this is definitely a difficult one! Thanks for bringing this to the table. Some like to take an adventurous tempo, like Martha does here (though for her it's so effortless and clear, wow), but some others believe that it should be played slower and with one finger, using very fast wrist action (similar to when playing fast repeated octaves). I guess that emulates what it would sound like on a harpsichord? Either way, it is a terribly difficult piece to play well.

Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2598808 12/28/16 07:14 PM
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Schubert's Die Erlkonig is difficult, especially with the relentless repeated notes in octaves.


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Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
Orange Soda King #2598852 12/28/16 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Ahh yes, this is definitely a difficult one! Thanks for bringing this to the table. Some like to take an adventurous tempo, like Martha does here (though for her it's so effortless and clear, wow), but some others believe that it should be played slower and with one finger, using very fast wrist action (similar to when playing fast repeated octaves). I guess that emulates what it would sound like on a harpsichord? Either way, it is a terribly difficult piece to play well.


You mean like this? The action is light and the sound quality isn't effected by the way the key is engaged, so it works brilliantly here. Not so much on a piano.


Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2598858 12/29/16 12:26 AM
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Here is a beautiful example. I don't know how it ranks in terms of difficulty.
Recuerdos de la Alhambra performed by Koji Attwood

Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
jeffreyjones #2598864 12/29/16 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones


You mean like this? The action is light and the sound quality isn't effected by the way the key is engaged, so it works brilliantly here. Not so much on a piano.



Yes! I don't think I could play it that way on a modern piano, but I've heard other people say that's how it should be done, or at least how they would do it. I don't quite understand it, but I'm also not a harpsichord player.

I wonder, what is the difference between doing so in the video you posted, or alternating fingers, on a harpsichord?

Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
Ferdinand #2598871 12/29/16 01:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Ferdinand
Here is a beautiful example. I don't know how it ranks in terms of difficulty.
Recuerdos de la Alhambra performed by Koji Attwood

Clearly difficult! But not exactly mainstream. Also not in Scarbo/Alborada league since the repetitions seem to be uncomplicated. Thanks for sharing this!


SRF
Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
Orange Soda King #2598872 12/29/16 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Originally Posted by jeffreyjones


You mean like this? The action is light and the sound quality isn't effected by the way the key is engaged, so it works brilliantly here. Not so much on a piano.



Yes! I don't think I could play it that way on a modern piano, but I've heard other people say that's how it should be done, or at least how they would do it. I don't quite understand it, but I'm also not a harpsichord player.

I wonder, what is the difference between doing so in the video you posted, or alternating fingers, on a harpsichord?

Fascinating! I think you (or "one") could play it that way on a piano. That's the technique I'm using for the opening D# repetitions in Scarbo and, in my teacher's opinion, it sounds pretty good.

I really love this performance and the piece, of course. But it precedes the double escapement. Which leads me to . . . Soler. Should our performances of Soler's and Scarlatti's pieces on a modern piano be restricted to a tempo that would allow the repetitions to have been articulated on a harpsichord of the time? Or should we just go all out like Martha and exploit the escapement action to make this music fly?!

More good questions, I think . . .


SRF
Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2601868 01/07/17 04:26 AM
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Regarding La Campanella, I recently posted a Trifonov performance on my Facebook timeline without listening to it first, mainly because the caption said it ws really good. In fact it was really bad IMO. So I surfed YouTube for some live performances where you can really hear the 32nd note repetitions and this was the only one I could find. I love Gavrilov. His touch and phrasing are just exquisite IMO.



SRF
Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
Kuanpiano #2601870 01/07/17 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Kuanpiano
Start with here!


Here's a challenge. Can anyone play the Scarbo passage as fast as Argerich does in the video? Or, since that is impossible, can anyone play it at half her speed with every note correct and audible? I will try to record a version at about 1/8th note = 176 tomorrow. We can work forwards from there . . .



SRF
Re: Rapid Single-Note Repetitions
SiFi #2601907 01/07/17 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by SiFi
Regarding La Campanella, I recently posted a Trifonov performance on my Facebook timeline without listening to it first, mainly because the caption said it ws really good. In fact it was really bad IMO. So I surfed YouTube for some live performances where you can really hear the 32nd note repetitions and this was the only one I could find. I love Gavrilov. His touch and phrasing are just exquisite IMO.



Never heard that before. Christ that is amazing.


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