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Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
argerichfan #2866287 07/05/19 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by johnstaf
I never understood what emotion has to do with music. Maybe that's why I like Xenakis...
So you've never been moved to tears when listening to the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony or "Nimrod" from Elgar's Enigma Variations?


Afraid not, much as I love the Enigma Variations.

Yeah, not everything works. Call me crazy but I don't much care for Celine Dion singing 'My Heart Will Go On'.


That gives me an emotional equivalent of nausea. I think it's one of the most annoying things I've ever heard.

Last edited by johnstaf; 07/05/19 11:24 AM.
Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
achoo42 #2866329 07/05/19 01:24 PM
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Of course if I hadn't heard this over, and over, and over again in shopping centres, I probably wouldn't have any opinion one way or the other about it.

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
achoo42 #2866471 07/06/19 03:43 AM
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I'd bet Sviatoslav Richter probably performed maybe 3/4 of the total list laugh

I really don't care too much for rankings of difficulty, though obviously I was interested enough to read this thread. I think more in terms of sound and thematic development. Beethoven's Op. 106 is very difficult, but I don't think it's difficulty just *for the sake of being difficult*. You can hear how themes are being developed throughout, and the final movement (to me) is a joy to hear. Maybe it's my "conservatism", but I'd still rather listen to Schumann's concerto Brahms's Second than the concertos of either Prokofiev or Bartók, regardless of relative difficulty.

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
rmns2bseen #2866787 07/06/19 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rmns2bseen

Beethoven's Op. 106 is very difficult [...] you can hear how themes are being developed throughout, and the final movement (to me) is a joy to hear.


Funny thing about the 'consensus' of difficulties in Beethoven. The opus 106 is always trotted out as some kind of unattainable Parnassus, but Charles Rosen -surely nobody's fool- writes that the opus 57 is at least that hard.

Some years ago I asked a professor of piano at a major university -no names- if he agreed with Rosen. It was interesting. He thought for a moment, then said "you could make a case for that".


Jason
Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
argerichfan #2866809 07/06/19 10:43 PM
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I said it was very difficult. I think that's incontrovertible.

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
rmns2bseen #2866948 07/07/19 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
I said it was very difficult. I think that's incontrovertible.


As far as difficulty goes, I think the Hammerklavier is on a different planet from anything else Beethoven wrote.

Last edited by johnstaf; 07/07/19 10:44 AM.
Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
achoo42 #2867168 07/07/19 08:53 PM
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I think they're all difficult if you're doing 'em right...

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
argerichfan #2877225 08/07/19 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by rmns2bseen

Beethoven's Op. 106 is very difficult [...] you can hear how themes are being developed throughout, and the final movement (to me) is a joy to hear.


Funny thing about the 'consensus' of difficulties in Beethoven. The opus 106 is always trotted out as some kind of unattainable Parnassus, but Charles Rosen -surely nobody's fool- writes that the opus 57 is at least that hard.

Some years ago I asked a professor of piano at a major university -no names- if he agreed with Rosen. It was interesting. He thought for a moment, then said "you could make a case for that".


Musically, you could make a case for pretty much any mid-to-late Beethoven sonata being as difficult as the Hammerklavier.

Now, I'm a fan of Rosen and I own much of his writing but his assertion that Op.57 is as difficult as Op.106 surely disregards the sheer discrepancies in mechanical difficulty.


Schumann is the mann.
Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
achoo42 #2877460 08/07/19 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by achoo42

Musically, you could make a case for pretty much any mid-to-late Beethoven sonata being as difficult as the Hammerklavier.

Now, I'm a fan of Rosen and I own much of his writing but his assertion that Op.57 is as difficult as Op.106 surely disregards the sheer discrepancies in mechanical difficulty.


Indeed. On purely musical grounds, I think many might make a case for the Diabelli Variations, although there are considerable technical challenges as well.

However, there are parts of the Hammerklavier, such as the infamous jumping trills, that verge on the unplayable as written. Still, difficulty is personal. A particular interpretive choice can make a difficult work a formidable beast.

I think this is why so many fear Op.111. While there is nothing even remotely like an easy way to play this sonata, breathing delicate life into the closing pages with an effortless lightness of touch is something that only the best of the best can manage.

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
johnstaf #2877492 08/08/19 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf

I think this is why so many fear Op.111. While there is nothing even remotely like an easy way to play this sonata, breathing delicate life into the closing pages with an effortless lightness of touch is something that only the best of the best can manage.

True that. I think the cruelly exposed trills are what kills it for many. I've heard several live performances (not in this case by front line pianists) which were ruined by uneven or inaccurate trills at the end... a glorious journey through the Elysian fields suddenly ship wrecked on the rocks.

Some years ago I read a review of a recording of the 111 by a well recorded pianist, and the reviewer was rather incensed: why did they record this sonata if they didn't have the requisite trills? Fair enough.


Jason
Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
achoo42 #2877494 08/08/19 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by achoo42
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
https://youtu.be/WjrtnX22d_s

Esa Pekka Salonen's piano concerto, wonderfully played by LA Phil and resident artist Yefim Bronfman is worth a listen.


I went to the Houston premiere of Salonen's Violin Concerto, easily one of the best 21st century pieces composed in recent memory. I will be sure to listen to his Piano Concerto.


Which 21st century pieces were not composed in recent memory? smile


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Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
BDB #2877570 08/08/19 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by achoo42
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
https://youtu.be/WjrtnX22d_s

Esa Pekka Salonen's piano concerto, wonderfully played by LA Phil and resident artist Yefim Bronfman is worth a listen.


I went to the Houston premiere of Salonen's Violin Concerto, easily one of the best 21st century pieces composed in recent memory. I will be sure to listen to his Piano Concerto.


Which 21st century pieces were not composed in recent memory? smile


Considering that I was born in 2001, anything from about 2001-2010 wink


Schumann is the mann.
Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
johnstaf #2877574 08/08/19 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by achoo42

Musically, you could make a case for pretty much any mid-to-late Beethoven sonata being as difficult as the Hammerklavier.

Now, I'm a fan of Rosen and I own much of his writing but his assertion that Op.57 is as difficult as Op.106 surely disregards the sheer discrepancies in mechanical difficulty.


Indeed. On purely musical grounds, I think many might make a case for the Diabelli Variations, although there are considerable technical challenges as well.

However, there are parts of the Hammerklavier, such as the infamous jumping trills, that verge on the unplayable as written. Still, difficulty is personal. A particular interpretive choice can make a difficult work a formidable beast.

I think this is why so many fear Op.111. While there is nothing even remotely like an easy way to play this sonata, breathing delicate life into the closing pages with an effortless lightness of touch is something that only the best of the best can manage.



To make Rosen's case worse, we need only to look at the 3rd movement, which is arguably one of the most musically difficult 17 minutes in the entire Classical/Romantic era. One must have a superhuman sense of touch, phrasing, and that extra little "something" in order to not bore the audience and yourself.

Op.106 is, frankly speaking, a completely different species of difficulty compared to Op.57. Musically, and mechanically. I just don't see how anybody could think otherwise.

Op.111 is just a different species, period. It's such a strange sonata that many don't know what to do with it, and of course, it's also bloody difficult. Still doesn't hold a candle to Op.106, in my opinion.

Last edited by achoo42; 08/08/19 09:40 AM.

Schumann is the mann.
Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
achoo42 #2878443 08/11/19 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by achoo42

...

Op.111 is just a different species, period. It's such a strange sonata that many don't know what to do with it, and of course, it's also bloody difficult. Still doesn't hold a candle to Op.106, in my opinion.

I disagree. I think Opp. 109, 110 and 111 are Beethoven's three "greatest" sonatas, and of the three Op. 111 is the most transcendent. With Op. 106 I sometimes get the feeling that Beethoven is being difficult for the sake of being difficult. Op. 106 is still a great, awe-inspiring work though. I'd rather listen to a virtuoso play it than to try it myself. It's a workout.

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
argerichfan #2878445 08/11/19 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by argerichfan


Some years ago I read a review of a recording of the 111 by a well recorded pianist, and the reviewer was rather incensed: why did they record this sonata if they didn't have the requisite trills? Fair enough.


I've often thought something similar about Gould's recording of Op.57. If you hate a piece, why go through the trouble of recording it? Even as a bit of satire it's a waste of time, energy and money. And frankly that's what it sounds like.

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
rmns2bseen #2878588 08/11/19 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42

...

Op.111 is just a different species, period. It's such a strange sonata that many don't know what to do with it, and of course, it's also bloody difficult. Still doesn't hold a candle to Op.106, in my opinion.

I disagree. I think Opp. 109, 110 and 111 are Beethoven's three "greatest" sonatas, and of the three Op. 111 is the most transcendent. With Op. 106 I sometimes get the feeling that Beethoven is being difficult for the sake of being difficult. Op. 106 is still a great, awe-inspiring work though. I'd rather listen to a virtuoso play it than to try it myself. It's a workout.


Ah, when I said "hold a candle" I did mean difficulty only. Of course there are sonatas that are on equal terms with the Op.106 when we talk musical value.

And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.


Last edited by achoo42; 08/11/19 03:08 PM.

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Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
achoo42 #2878660 08/11/19 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by achoo42


And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.


Well then that's Op. 106's weakness. The totality of the work, like Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, is imposing and mighty...and kind of hard to love.

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
rmns2bseen #2878669 08/11/19 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.


Well then that's Op. 106's weakness. The totality of the work, like Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, is imposing and mighty...and kind of hard to love.



I easily "love" them - both Op. 106 and Liszt's Transcendental Etudes.



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Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
rmns2bseen #2878673 08/11/19 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.


Well then that's Op. 106's weakness. The totality of the work, like Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, is imposing and mighty...and kind of hard to love.


I certainly love it.

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking
achoo42 #2878712 08/11/19 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by achoo42

To make Rosen's case worse, we need only to look at the 3rd movement, which is arguably one of the most musically difficult 17 minutes in the entire Classical/Romantic era. One must have a superhuman sense of touch, phrasing, and that extra little "something" in order to not bore the audience and yourself.

So just to clarify the parameters, you presumably know that Rosen recorded the last five Beethoven sonatas and that they were subsequently reissued on CD? You would probably admit that he clearly knows the music.

Rosen is an odd fellow. Sometimes one wonders if he is just having fun, there are numerous points in his writing wherein I get the impression he is merely toying with our preset sensibilities. His book 'The Romantic Generation' is a very provocative read, though his (deliberately) outrageous opinions can be scathing, reference Mendelssohn. But I don't believe HE believes that. The prose is eye twinkling, very clever Charles!

So yes, it seems quite obvious to us that the intellectual difficulties of Beethoven come to a head in the later sonatas, and maybe he was just joking about the Op 57. But then again, he has played them.


Jason
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