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Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas #2743676
06/11/18 04:47 PM
06/11/18 04:47 PM
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Hey Folks,

So I just completed my first year at University and completed a decent load of work including the f minor Op. 2 No. 1 Sonata by Beethoven, three Bach Sinfonias (2, 3, 8, and 14), some Heller Op. 46 etudes, and the Chopin Nocturne in f minor Op. 55 No. 1. Which piano sonatas from the romantic/contemporary period could be a ballpark of my recently completed repertoire? I've been doing some looking and found the Schubert Sonata in A Major D. 664 to be around the same level as my aforementioned Beethoven Sonata. Are there any others?

Thanks a ton in advance!


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743682
06/11/18 05:26 PM
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In the more contemporary vein, you could look at the Stravinsky Sonata (I know there are two, but only the second one counts) or Serenade in A, Nin-Culmell Sonata Breve, Hindemith #2, Kabalevsky #3.

Schubert is really more late classical than romantic. For romantic, you might consider the Dvorak American Suite (since I am including pieces of similar length), or the Grieg Sonata.


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743683
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Originally Posted by JDRPiano
Which piano sonatas from the romantic/contemporary period could be a ballpark of my recently completed repertoire? I've been doing some looking and found the Schubert Sonata in A Major D. 664 to be around the same level as my aforementioned Beethoven Sonata.

Piano sonatas from the post-Classical period tend to be either big, difficult statements (e.g. Schubert - of which D.664 is the easiest of the completed sonatas, Chopin 2 & 3, Brahms, Balakirev, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Medtner, Prokofiev, Scriabin, Bartók, Barber, Vine) or inconsequential early or not very interesting stuff (Chopin 1, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Sibelius, Stravinsky). Perhaps Grieg's sonata best suit your level, though it's not on a par with his best piano music like some of the Lyric Pieces.

Why not look at selections from sets of pieces or shorter single pieces, like Kinderszenen, Carnaval, Chopin's Barcarolle, Brahms's Op.118, Rachmaninov's Preludes, Tchaikovsky's The Seasons, Debussy's Estampes & Preludes etc?


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: bennevis] #2743685
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Thank you all for the replies! In response to bennevis, I have looked at the Grieg Sonata, but, IMHO I believe it is a bit ambitious for me right now. The Schubert Sonata D. 664 is something more suitable and around the level that I am looking for. I haven't thought about Schumann's Kinderszenen or Carnaval nor have I looked at Tchaikovsky's "The Seasons". I really love Chopin's Barcarolle, but I have the same opinion as I do with the Grieg Sonata. My professor has suggested either the Ballade, Prelude from Suite Bergamasque, or his first prelude from Debussy's actual preludes set. For Rachmaninoff (Rachmaninov?) I have looked at his Op. 23 Nos. 1, 4, 6, and 10 as they are the "least difficult" of his Op. 23 set.


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743690
06/11/18 05:54 PM
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The Schubert A Major sonata is a good choice (albeit more Late Classical than Romantic) with the exception of the 3rd movement which is more difficult than the first two - and certainly more difficult than the Beethoven Opus 2 No. 1

As stated above, the Grieg Sonata might be close to your present level, but it would definitely be a challenge.

You might want to take a look at the beautiful Prokofiev Pastoral Sonatine Opus 59 No. 3.

https://youtu.be/VEKEebxOG3c


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743694
06/11/18 06:04 PM
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I took a quick listen to both Stravinsky piano sonatas, one was written in 1924 (super avant-garde) and the first one in F-sharp minor (I think it sounds a TON more lyrical) was written between 1903 and 1904. Both sonatas seem very difficult with the exception of the first sonata in F-sharp minor being a slight bit more difficult to convey musically.

EDIT: CAREY! I also listened to the Prokofiev Pastorale Sonatina, Op. 59 No. 3 and I have to say I was not expecting a very lyrical Prokofiev! I think it's because the pieces that are most familiar to me by him are his Suggestion Diabolique, piano concertos 2 and 3, and his Vision Fugitives. Thanks for the awesome suggestion!

Last edited by JDRPiano; 06/11/18 06:07 PM.

“It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.”
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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743707
06/11/18 06:47 PM
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Try Dello Joio Piano Sonata No. 3. It's a beautiful piece, and not all that difficult.

Hovhaness wrote a sonata "To Hiroshige's Cat." It has some nice movements.

Like what the other posters have said, the Grieg Sonata is probably the best fit for you right now. And it's really not that much more difficult than the Chopin Nocturne you played.


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743717
06/11/18 07:14 PM
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Unless you are required to learn a sonata from the period you mentioned I wouldn't do so unless you really like the Grieg Sonata(which I don't think very highly of). Why waste time on a fairly long piece you don't love unless it's required? As has been mentioned, almost all the sonatas from your chosen time period by the great composers are very advanced.

There are plenty of sonatas by Haydn, Mozart, or Beethoven if you want to play a sonata that's of suitable difficulty and are willing to drop the time period you chose. If you're mostly interested in music from the time period you mentioned but don't add the sonata requirement, there are many hundreds of suitable difficulty and very great pieces to choose from.

You don't like any of the pieces your teacher suggested?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/11/18 07:16 PM.
Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743719
06/11/18 07:20 PM
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Since you mentioned the Suite Bergamasque, why not the whole suite, or Pour le Piano? Or Ravel's Sonatine.


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743721
06/11/18 07:25 PM
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There is Bartok's Sonatina as well.


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743723
06/11/18 07:32 PM
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pianoloversus, so here's the thing. He's actually still searching up repertoire for from all four periods with multiple options for each period, he says. I just wanted to have some more to add to his suggestions and see what he thinks. It doesn't have to be a sonata, I just thought I should start delving into some of the more advanced Romantic period sonatas if there were any suitable for me (which is why I mentioned the Schubert D. 664). I like the Grieg Sonata, I just think it's too advanced and ambitious for me at this time. Maybe in another year.

BDB, I REALLY love the first movement of Ravel's Sonatine (but that's also because the third and fourth movements are the more difficult out of the entire set). I also fancy some of the movements from his "Le Tombeau de Couperin" such as the Menuet and the Rigaudon.

AZNpiano, I have never looked at any of Della Joio's piano literature. Now that you mention him, I wonder if Gottschalk has any piano sonatas...


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743726
06/11/18 07:37 PM
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I have also looked into Musczynski's Preludes Op. 6 as I have performed several of Tcherepnin's Op. 5 Bagatelles.


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743729
06/11/18 07:43 PM
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Also, for opinions on Chopin's first piano sonata or any Romantic piano sonata, the Grieg Sonata is really the best stepping stone towards that period, I think everyone has already stated this, yes? I am looking at other Beethoven Sonatas, specifically Op. 2 No. 2, Op. 10 No. 2 Op. 14 No. 1, Op. 54, and Op. 79. I actually haven't fully learned a Mozart, Clementi, or Hummel Piano sonata yet.


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― Johann Sebastian Bach
Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743733
06/11/18 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by JDRPiano
pianoloversus, so here's the thing. He's actually still searching up repertoire for from all four periods with multiple options for each period, he says. I just wanted to have some more to add to his suggestions and see what he thinks. It doesn't have to be a sonata, I just thought I should start delving into some of the more advanced Romantic period sonatas if there were any suitable for me (which is why I mentioned the Schubert D. 664). I like the Grieg Sonata, I just think it's too advanced and ambitious for me at this time. Maybe in another year.
EALLY love the first movement of Ravel's Sonatine (but that's also because the third and fourth movements are the more difficult out of the entire set). I also fancy some of the movements from his "Le Tombeau de Couperin" such as the Menuet and the Rigaudon.
I think the Schubert you mention is at least as hard as the Grieg. Better to choose among the almost endless great pieces from your time period that aren't sonatas.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/11/18 07:58 PM.
Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743735
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Originally Posted by JDRPiano
Also, for opinions on Chopin's first piano sonata or any Romantic piano sonata, the Grieg Sonata is really the best stepping stone towards that period, I think everyone has already stated this, yes? I am looking at other Beethoven Sonatas, specifically Op. 2 No. 2, Op. 10 No. 2 Op. 14 No. 1, Op. 54, and Op. 79. I actually haven't fully learned a Mozart, Clementi, or Hummel Piano sonata yet.
Chopin's Sonata No.1 requires extreme virtuoso technique. For the Beethoven you mentioned, the Op.2 and Op.54 are also advanced virtuoso pieces. The other three might be appropriate but I think it's simplest is to leave the options to your teacher since he is going to give you a lot of choice.

It's not necessary to play any steppingstone towards that period that's also a sonata. If you like Grieg a lot I would choose some of the Lyric pieces which I think are much better than the Sonata and vary greatly in difficulty. Much more rewarding to play and study IMO.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 06/11/18 08:06 PM.
Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743736
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Originally Posted by JDRPiano
Also, for opinions on Chopin's first piano sonata or any Romantic piano sonata, the Grieg Sonata is really the best stepping stone towards that period, I think everyone has already stated this, yes? I am looking at other Beethoven Sonatas, specifically Op. 2 No. 2, Op. 10 No. 2 Op. 14 No. 1, Op. 54, and Op. 79. I actually haven't fully learned a Mozart, Clementi, or Hummel Piano sonata yet.

Why not have a look at Schubert's Impromptus? They're popular with established concert pianists as well as amateurs, for good reasons.

The easiest is D935/2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8__NcNiEYc

My favorite is D899/3:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAxz16D4BlE


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743810
06/12/18 05:04 AM
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Thanks for the responses pianoloverus and bennevis! I really live the Schubert Impromptus as well and No. 3 of the Op. 90 set is my favorite smile. I did think that Chopin's first piano sonata was very difficult, which is why I thought of the other Beethoven Sonatas and even looked at Mendelssohn's Sonatas which I believe might even be harder than the Beethoven ones that I mentioned (especially the Op. 106 Mendelssohn Sonata). I have played a few Lyric Pieces by Grieg and I absolutely adore them, you do have a point of working up technical and expressive skill with shorter easier works vs. large-scale multi-movement sonatas. I just wanted a "ballpark" estimate of which piano sonatas might be in my technical range.


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2743852
06/12/18 09:49 AM
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I learned and performed both Schubert A major sonata (4 years ago) and Grieg sonata (this year). I think both of them are great works and worth spending your time on. In terms of difficulty, they are about the same but personally I think it's more difficult to pull off Schubert. Grieg sonata is not played often so it's refreshing for the audience.

Among the Beethoven you mentioned, I think Op.2 no.2 is a great one (and not played much) but it's quite hard. The 4th movement is so lovely and sweet - it always makes me smile when I listen to it.

Good luck!

Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2744018
06/12/18 11:28 PM
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Midlife_Piano, thank you for your reply! I would think the Schubert is more difficult in terms of musicality and expression, is this what you meant? Grieg has some of those moments as well but more often it's sheer power and virtuosic technique. I really like how the Schubert sounds, but I guess we'll find out what my professor says. It would seem more logical to tackle shorter pieces that contained some the same artistic and technical elements as the larger sonatas from the Romantic period. As bennevis already said, the Brahms Op. 118 pieces are a great example.


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2744186
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JDRPiano,

Thank you. While there are some easier pieces within Brahms Op.118, I think Brahms Op.118, as a whole, is harder than Schubert Sonata and Grieg Sonata. It's also more difficult to make Brahms Op.118 sound good and interesting. Brahms style is quite different from all pieces you have played (and Schubert or Grieg Sonata). I have learned and performed a few of Brahms Op.118 and I was never satisfied with the result. Maybe I just don't get it. Schubert and Grieg are more musically straight forward for me.

My personally favorite is the second movement of Grieg sonata (andante). It's between all the virtuoso movements and provides great contrasts with outer movements. It's not very difficult but extremely beautiful and effective. Audience just loved it.

Whatever you choose, good luck with it.

Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: Midlife_Piano] #2744197
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Originally Posted by Midlife_Piano
While there are some easier pieces within Brahms Op.118, I think Brahms Op.118, as a whole, is harder than Schubert Sonata and Grieg Sonata. It's also more difficult to make Brahms Op.118 sound good and interesting.

It's worth remembering that Brahms's sets of piano pieces can be mixed & matched, unlike sonatas, where the composer conceived the movements as part of the whole. In fact, there is currently an excellent ongoing recording project where the pianist makes his own selection of pieces from Op.10, Op.76, Op.79 and Op.116 -119 in his own order to fill up each CD, and it works very well, shining new light on his late piano music in particular when heard in a different juxtaposition from the published sets.

In other words, one wouldn't normally play Schubert's D664 second movement as a standalone piece (nor indeed Grieg's Sonata slow movement), but the famous Op.118/2 is very frequently played by itself - by both concert pianists as well as amateurs. Many students only ever learn No.2, in fact. There is no reason why anyone should feel obliged to learn all the pieces from Op.118 (or indeed, Op.117 - of which No.1 is by far the most popular too) for performance purposes.

Whereas with a piano sonata, one wouldn't normally hear a concert pianist play a single movement, except as an encore.

As for styles, it is good to become familiar with different composers' piano writing, which is a very good reason for someone who's never tackled Brahms before to play him.......


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2744204
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Hi Bennevis,

I hear you. Actually at the same program where I played Grieg Sonata this year, the other performer played Brahms Op.118. She played 1,2,3 and 6. It worked very well as programming but I would say her workload was at least as much as mine if not more. While Brahms Op.118-2 is often played by itself, I am not so sure this is what OP wants. If he tries to add 1-2 more Brahms pieces, the workload can quickly add up to the level of Schubert or Grieg Sonata. I do hear Schubert A major 1st movement played by itself quite often at recitals. I am curious to see what OP decides to do.

Yes, Brahms Intermezzi (Op.116-119) are great works. Lots of pieces to choose from. Maybe I will give Brahms another try later. (Op.119-2 in E minor comes to mind)

Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2744213
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JDRPiano: My suggestions for sonata-type pieces I have learned which are on about the same level of difficulty as the Beethoven Op. 2 no. 1.... 1) the already-mentioned Dello-Joio Sonata no. 3 (with the caveat that I only have played the first movement theme and variations, because that's the only movement I really like, but it's terrific!), 2) Khachaturian Sonatina (1958), 3) Kabalevsky Sonatina No. 1 in C, Op. 13 (one of my all-time favorite piano pieces by any composer, and all three movements are equally good and filled with opportunities for expressivity).

Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2744268
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I'll have to see what my professor will say, just so I can come up with more options to add to his list and see what he says about all of your suggestions. Also, just got a wonderful suggestion from my close friend who is also a piano performance major. I was messaging him and he brought up the idea of playing a selection from Bartok's Sketches Op. 9 for the Contemporary-era as it supposedly is a good enough amount of work for me (he says). Again, thank you for all your suggestions! If you have more, please, fire away! smile


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Re: Early Advanced Romantic to 21st Century Piano Sonatas [Re: JDRPiano] #2744270
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In response to Midlife_Piano, the fourth movement of the Grieg Sonata looks pretty difficult in terms of technical skill and sheer power. But I can see why the second movement could also be hard to interpret and convey as musically as possible. I may suggest the Grieg Sonata to my professor just to see what he says, although, some of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words also look very appealing as I have played Jaegerlied and boy did that give me a bit of a workout.


“It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.”
― Johann Sebastian Bach

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