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From a performer's rather than a listener's point of view, there are many pieces that I come back to and I hope, when I do, that I bring something more to them than I did when I worked on them in the past.
This month, I am revisiting the Brahms Op. 117 Intermezzi. I performed them in a recital perhaps three years ago, but there is such depth to these pieces that they merit revisiting. Building on my past experience with them, I can still find elements that can be further refined or can be approached in a different manner.
Prokofievs 8th piano sonata, both from a performers and a listeners perspective I find to be extremely fascinating. I would describe this piece the way BruceD described the Brahms Intermezzi. It's a piece that you can revisit an endless amount of times and still find new little things and new ways to approach certain passages. The same can also be said about Beethoven's late piano sonatas.
The first movement of the Bach Italian Concerto in F for sure. This is probably the the first keyboard piece composed in the 18th century that has dynamics written into the score. Back in those days there were keyboards (harpsichord & clavichord) with different configurations. The original was played on a harpsichord and not a piano with 2 sets of keys 1 above the other. 1 set produced a louder sound while the other produced a muted sound. There are a few p & f markings but nothing in between (mp, mf, cres. & decres.)
A holiday favorite was an arrangement of "O Holy Night" that I use regularly as warm-up piece because of the L-hand arpeggios despite the connection to Christmas.
And then there is the piano arrangement of Shostakovich Waltz #2 I found online. This piece from the 20th century has a modern sound but retains elements of a waltz by Johann Strauss a century earlier.
Well, I decided to come back to this place after a long absence due to a shameful post I wrote a while ago (which was my 2nd time), so 1st piece I keep coming back to is piano world forums;
And thus I have re-emerged from my cave - like grinch, who, instead of ruining christmas, is now here to ruin new years' eve for every single person on this forum with my idiotic posts.
But, off-dee-doo with the silly-willy talk now, and onto-de-loo the thread-illy-didlly thread topic now -
from a listeners' standpoint - too much stuff for me to be able to bring out a top few; a lot of Liszt, some Chopin, Philip Glass' etudes as of recently and the final movement of Mahler's 2nd symphony-dymphony are some of the works I have been listening to a lot recently.
From a performers' stand (or sit) point - I keep coming back to this one piece of crap I wrote a while ago - It's a half-finished cack which I don't know what to make of, and it makes me depressed every time I look at it and play it again.
I go through phases when I listen to music, but any piece/composer I really like, I keep coming back to. I discover new stuff all the time, but I haven't stopped listening to any particular pieces either.
"Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious." -Brendan Gill
I keep coming back to the popular intermediate and more accessible advanced classics. Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique, Debussy's Clair De Lune, Motzart's Rondo Alla Turka, that sort of thing. Also a good percentage of Chopin's catalog falls into this category.
It is very nice to be able to produce enjoyable and beautiful music without having to break too great a sweat. At this point in my life I can't devote everything to leaning new and complicated pieces, so a few dusty gems are frequently just the thing for me.
I usually go through phases of listening to one piece over and over again.
Definitely some pieces I keep going back to are Chopin's Ballade no. 4, Brahms Op. 117, and Schumann Fantasiestucke. I've also been enjoying Grieg's Piano Concerto and would love to play some day. Not exactly a piano solo piece but one of my all-time favorite pieces is Franck's A major Violin Sonata. I can't and won't ever get over how awesome the whole piece is.
K488 is one of those pieces I keep returning to as well. Coincidentally I've been working on it for the last couple of weeks. I've been doing this every so often for the last ten years without any expectation of ever finishing it. Anyone that doesn't know the Kempff/Leitner 1960 recording of this work owes it to themselves to have a listen to it. It's coupled with an equally superb recording of K491.
One piece I've recently been coming back to a lot is Scriabin's Sonata-Fantasy in G# Minor. It really is an amazing piece with plenty of texture, color, and emotion that I think every classical enthusiast should listen to at least once.