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Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
#2652751 06/12/17 08:35 AM
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I'm interested in knowing who everyone's favourite is! When I was a kid, I just played whatever the teacher put in front of me. I didn't care who wrote it or when. Now I'm finding that I have favourites. I also think my faves may change as I go up in levels and more composers are open to me. (For example Chopin pieces start at grade 6 RCM.)

For now, I am finding I really love Beethoven and Bartok. I love Beethoven because everything he writes is amazing. It has such a consistent message. Like his sonatina in G is one story for both movements. At first listen I didn't even know it was two different time signatures for the two movements! His dances are lively and pretty. I am not at a level yet to play his sonatas, but they are powerful and emotional. I love it!

Bartok is interesting. I like the way he plays with texture and tempo. His songs feel "round" and I'm sorry I can't explain that further because it just is the way you press the keys and I have no other words to describe it.

I've also played a few songs by Cornelius Gurlitt that I have really liked, and I am going to keep looking out for his stuff to see if there's more.

I used to think I really liked Mozart, but I'm starting to think he's too vanilla. But maybe that's just his lower level offerings. I can't wait to play Turkish March. That is one of the best songs ever written. Yes I went there. I called it a song.

I'd love to hear what you guys like (and an idea of what level the stuff is at). I think someone is about to tell me about Einaudi. lol

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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652753 06/12/17 09:06 AM
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Cornelius Gurlitt is definitely my favourite composer in terms of my own practice. He is, I think, the composer who understood best what a beginning player needs to play in order to improve. It may be quite an early conclusion, considering I've been playing his Op. 117 (First Lessons) for just over a month, but the progression curve in that book is exceptionally good.

Bartók definitely deserves a mention. So far, I really enjoy his first book of Mikrokosmos. Not only in terms of how well paced it is, but also as a realistic introduction to 20th century music for beginning players. I'd have never guessed that I'd enjoy such modern music, but I do.There's a lot of his harder beginner's work that I also look forward to playing in the future, things like An Evening in the Village, For Children.

In terms of inspiration for the future, I'd have to say Grieg. I love pretty much every single Lyric Piece that he has ever written, and I can't wait to start on them. There are many more composers that inspire me in such a way, some works easier than others, but none inspire me as much as Grieg.


I've started playing January 2017, Nothing is too easy is where I keep track of my progress.

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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652755 06/12/17 09:46 AM
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I think Beethoven has always and will always be my No. 1 composer. Chopin is also up there.

But I go through phases. Lately, I've become obsessed with Jules Massenet. I don't know of any piano works he's written, but the operatic material and the accompaniments for those you can tell he was a great pianist and composed at the piano. I haven't yet had time to delve into any of his piano solos, but I definitely plan on learning a few.

Last edited by Morodiene; 06/12/17 09:54 AM.

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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
Keselo #2652756 06/12/17 09:47 AM
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Chopin and Brahms are my favorites although I don't know if I will ever be able to play any Brahms other than some of his waltzes. As my teacher said as I was struggling with one of the Brahms waltzes, Brahms did not write easy music. I also like and have played several of the Mendelssohn Songs Without Words.


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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652757 06/12/17 09:59 AM
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Not sure if I want to use the word favorite, but at this point in my learning I have an appreciation for Clementi. I think he is undervalued. Diabelli is interesting as well. I'm looking at his Sonatina in F major and I think it sounds nice, along with being quite challenging.

Next year I'll probably have a different answer.


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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652760 06/12/17 10:09 AM
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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652762 06/12/17 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by sara elizabeth
I'd love to hear what you guys like (and an idea of what level the stuff is at).


My favorite composer is nuevo tango composer Astor Piazzolla, but he wrote almost exclusively for ensemble so any piano works are adaptations. His textures are dense and complicated, so every piano arrangement has to brutally eliminate parts of the composition. Arrangements range from intermediate to advanced.

Here's a Piazzolla ensemble:



Here's a piano version, arranged and performed by John Mortensen, which I'd consider advanced. Music starts at 3:10, but he introduces Piazzolla's music to the audience at the beginning and it's worth a listen.



Of the late 20th century, I have a real fondness for Antonio Carlos Jobim's bossa nova. At its best, it's just free and breezy. These also are created for ensemble, but the music reduces well--at it's heart it's probably guitar+vocal, but there is a nice Lee Evans book of arrangements of Jobim. I'd call those arrangements intermediate note-wise with advanced rhythms.

Here's Astrud Gilberto singing "Corcovado":



The piano versions I found online were pretty much all in the jazz tradition, but, again, those Lee Evans written arrangements are pretty good.

Ragtime piano, it's either got to be Scott Joplin or Joseph Lamb. It's hard to pick. Ragtime was the pop music of its day and most composers created pieces that were forgettable, albeit very fun. The best Joplin and Lamb pieces are works of art, though. Ragtime reductions are probably early intermediate in difficulty, with classic ragtime being generally advanced intermediate to early advanced and certainly some that belong in the advanced category.

Joplin's "Gladiolus Rag" (Scott Kirby):



Lamb's "Ragtime Nightgale" (played with many expert variations and flourishes by John Arpin):



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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652768 06/12/17 10:25 AM
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Gosh, Chopin will probably always be my favorite, but right now it is also Debussy and Rach
I love Mozart, but I do not play Mozart well

Throw in a few tangos, and Gershwin And then whatever new finds. Right now, the new to me composer is Mel Bonis. There are several of her compositions on my "must play" list.


My list is bigger than my skills and bigger than my time
I have started a notebook with my wish list Some I can play now as soon as I get around to it and some I will need to grow into the skills to do

Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652769 06/12/17 10:40 AM
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Please excuse my poor english.

My favorite composers are Handel (his Keyboard Suites are jewels), Scarlatti (but I can hardly play his simplest pieces), Bach (obviously). I do not play composers of the classical period (Beethoven, Mozart, etc.) but I like the romantics, especially Schubert and Chopin.

I started learning piano only at the age of 32. I did not even know then what the white and black keys represented! But my ultimate goal (achieved!) was to play at least the first Gymnopédie from Erik Satie, a composer I admire at the highest level.

Being now retired, I discovered through some post on this forum, composers whom I esteem very much: Eugénie Rocherolle, Mary Leaf, Catherine Rollin, Martha Mier, Melody Bober, Pam Wedgwood, Elissa Milne, Timothy Brown and William Gillock. They produce excellent and nice pieces of my level and I confess that for a year, I explore a lot of their works.

Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652773 06/12/17 10:51 AM
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At this point as a late beginner in piano, my favorite hands down is Schumann. His Album for the Young is an excellent pedagogical tool for a beginner. His tunes are catchy, sound way more sophisticated and complicated than they really are, and are incredibly satisfying to play. I'm thinking I might memorize some of the pieces from the book as my "always-ready repertoire." It shouldn't be such a hard task as the tunes are short and they usually play upon variations of the same theme.

Second favorite is Tchaikovsky's Children's Album. Pretty reachable for a relative beginner with some very pretty tunes.

I'm a sucker for Romantic Era music!

Last edited by marimorimo; 06/12/17 10:53 AM.

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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652775 06/12/17 10:54 AM
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Mozart is my favorite at all levels!! And that's one thing that makes him such a genius. He has wonderful and rewarding piano music at the beginner level (e.g., K.2) all the way up to advanced (e.g., K.466).


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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652780 06/12/17 11:19 AM
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I wish I had more time to play all these things you guys are enjoying! I think 36 hours a day and ten days a week would almost cover it.

Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652784 06/12/17 11:30 AM
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I go in phases, but right now my "favorites" are Leo Ornstein, William Grant Still, Justin Rubin, and Lera Auerbach, as well as hobbyist composers on various forums who want me to give their pieces a go--these are usually my most favorite! I guess I have been sneaking in some Amy Beach as well when I'm crabby at my 6yo who thinks he's a 3yo.

I do have some Beethoven sonatas in my pile, but I never get to them.


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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652787 06/12/17 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sara elizabeth
I wish I had more time to play all these things you guys are enjoying! I think 36 hours a day and ten days a week would almost cover it.
.

I'm afraid that just wouldn't cover it for me. My 'I want to play' list is big enough for two lifetimes and unfortunately I keep adding to it

Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
GillesJ #2652805 06/12/17 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by GillesJ

Being now retired, I discovered through some post on this forum, composers whom I esteem very much: Eugénie Rocherolle, Mary Leaf, Catherine Rollin, Martha Mier, Melody Bober, Pam Wedgwood, Elissa Milne, Timothy Brown and William Gillock. They produce excellent and nice pieces of my level and I confess that for a year, I explore a lot of their works.


This is a great list of composers who have written seriously nice music for beginners. I am particularly fond of those Mary Leaf compositions with a Scottish flavor to them. They are just beautiful. And, Gillock is fantastic as well.

My favorite composer is Alexandre Tansman. I find him a bit enigmatic, as, the music he composed for beginners is beautiful, but, the "serious" music he composed, to me, is of the ugly, anti-beauty modern school. He is reputed to have been very disappointed about the tendency of beginner music to be plain, banal, repetitive, and uninspiring. So, he composed a lot of beginner music using chromatic scales, unusual harmonies, and mysterious motifs. I also wonder if he may have been somewhat disdainful or condescending toward other composers of beginner music, as, I find his beginner stuff to be seriously underrated in terms of playing level. When he says something is "very easy," it is actually very challenging. If I didn't already have a mountain of other beginner music as a reference point, I might be somewhat discouraged by the great struggle of playing some of his "easy" music. But, that aside, the music is beautiful, stimulating, and rewarding to play.


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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652811 06/12/17 01:16 PM
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Even though temperamentally Romantic music appeals to me the most, I actually love Bach. I find some masochistic pleasure in trying to play his (relatively) harder pieces just disentangling all the voices/parts, etc. I love the symmetry, the structure--everything. I haven't played much Scarlatti but would like to try him some time. I find Mozart very enjoyable to listen to and to play but he is challenging, as is Beethoven (even though beautiful, of course), because my technique leaves to be desired. As for the Romantics, my favorites used to be Chopin and Grieg, but, like zillybug, I fell in love with Mendelssohn's Songs without Words recently and will be learning a couple more of those in the next months hopefully. So, now I'm obsessing about Mendelssohn. There are so many wonderful composers and pieces, it's hard to choose...

Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
Whizbang #2652816 06/12/17 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Whizbang

My favorite composer is nuevo tango composer Astor Piazzolla, but he wrote almost exclusively for ensemble so any piano works are adaptations. His textures are dense and complicated, so every piano arrangement has to brutally eliminate parts of the composition. Arrangements range from intermediate to advanced.

Here's a Piazzolla ensemble:




I love this music too.
I've been wondering for a long time, why this music is so captivating in a special way.
So I decided to give it a listen and try to figure out why.

Of course there is the tango rhythm, which is very special.

I think we all need to use our musical ears a lot more than we do.
Here is my attempt to figure out what is going on, from just listening.
In the beginning, two different and distant scales are used and forced against each other.
There are some interesting clashes and other certain note combinations actually are sweet. The listener is sucked into the experience.
Eventually the scale used on the accordion is wins the battle. The music becomes harmonious, and it's experienced as a very strong relief by the listener. And now we are really sucked into the music and the mood.
This continues throughout the body of the piece.
Getting close to the end, a return to the dis-harmonies introduced in the beginning.
And that is followed by a similar, but brief victory by the accordion, which takes full control, and ends very strongly on the main notes of the tonality and on the tonic.

It would be nice to hear other peoples opinion on this.
Either to entirely trash my whole reasoning, or to add more to it.
Maybe only ears allowed?

Last edited by RaggedKeyPresser; 06/12/17 01:34 PM.

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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652828 06/12/17 02:05 PM
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I pretty much love the composer whose piece I'm working on. Lately, it's Robert Schumann. I have totally fallen in love with his Op 16 Kreisleriana. I'm trying to learn as much of it as I can.


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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652831 06/12/17 02:26 PM
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Cole Porter -- about a quarter of what I play is his.


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Re: Who are your favourite composers at this point in your study
sara elizabeth #2652869 06/12/17 04:42 PM
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I take it that favourite composer doesn't mean favourite music to play. My favourite composer remains to be J. S. Bach. Mozart and Beethoven come second. Brahms and Chopin come third. Rachmaninov and Prokofiev come fourth. Then there's a sea of fifths.


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