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One composer recitals #2948214 02/17/20 08:12 PM
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Which composers do you think can succeed in one composer recitals and why? Which do you think don't work and why?

I think virtually any composer works for half a recital but not all would work for an entire recital.

I think some composers are obviously doable for one composer recitals because of the quality and variety of their work and because they have many instances of working well in the past. These would include Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Schubert, Liszt.

I think all Brahms and all Schumann would work although they are not as common in one composer recitals as those given above.

As much as I like Scarlatti I don't think he would work for an entire recital(half would be fine)because that would mean around 20+ short pieces which doesn't work for me.

Although I know pianists have played all Scriabin recitals, I think in general this would be too intense for me. Again, half a recital would be fine.

As much as I love Debussy and Ravel I'm not sure they'd work for an entire recital and have never heard of a one composer recital for them. Half a recital yes.

Prokofiev has been done in one composer recitals but I don't know how often. Very infrequently I think. I know Richter did this a long time ago.

Although I love Albeniz's Iberia, I personally would not like to hear the entire suite in one recital although this has been done by de Larrocha, Barenboim, Hamelin and others.

I have heard two all Rachmaninov recitals and do not think his music is quite great enough to work WELL in a one composer recital. Half a recital is fine.

So which composers do you think work or don't work for one composer recitals and why?



Last edited by pianoloverus; 02/17/20 08:13 PM.
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Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948224 02/17/20 08:37 PM
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I love 1-composer recitals. I agree that not all composers would work.

One that you didn't mention that could work great (IMO) is Scriabin, because of how much his style evolved over time.

I agree that Scarlatti wouldn't work great. I think his music actually has enough variety in it, but there aren't any 'big' enough pieces.

(That said, if Horowitz were to come back to life and he were playing an all Scarlatti recital, I'd wait on line overnight for tickets.) grin

Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948225 02/17/20 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus


As much as I love Debussy and Ravel I'm not sure they'd work for an entire recital and have never heard of a one composer recital for them. Half a recital yes.


Both books of Debussy's Préludes have been programmed as a complete recital by more than one pianist - including Krystian Zimerman. It was the only London recital of his that I didn't bother to attend (for obvious reasons), and I believe it was the only one of his that was very far from being sold out........

On the other hand, all-Ravel recitals work well, and I've attended a few by various pianists, including the complete solo piano works in two concerts. There's a lot of variety in Ravel's piano music, ranging from neo-classical to impressionism to full-on Lisztian virtuosity (trumping Francis), which is why it works.

I'd happily sit through (and have sat through) the complete Iberia or Goyescas, and both suites have enough variety to make them work as complete concerts. Of course, you need a pianist with the right temperament.

And all-Rachmaninov recitals work very well if you have the right pianist - as here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaIS8KWt5Fs

All-Bach (apart from Goldberg obviously), all-Brahms and all-Schumann are not for me, nor all-Scriabin or all-Prokofiev or all-Bartók.


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Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948250 02/17/20 09:20 PM
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I wouldn't mind an all Faure program as it would be like hearing a mix of Chopin and Debussy. An all Mendelssohn would work since "Songs without Words" has a lot of variety. Murray Perahia's CD of selected songs is very satisfying.

An evening of Ligeti's etudes? Or the Shostakovich 24 Preludes and Fugues? If Valantina Litsitsa were performing, then perhaps.
A complete performance of Messiaen's "Vingt Regards sur l'enfant-Jesus" would require a bit of ear stamina though.

I would balk at attending an all Carl Czerny evening however. An evening of "The School of Velocity" would drive me up the wall. Likewise an all Clementi evening of "Gradus ad Parnassum" or Sonatinas would not entice.
I would dissuade anyone from attending a recital of Hanon's "The Virtuoso Pianist" as well.


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Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948254 02/17/20 09:26 PM
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In my opinion, none of them work. That's because I can't stand to sit through an entire piano recital.

I would literally rather be staring at a wall. At least then there wouldn't be any pressure to applaud (or refrain from applauding, depending on which movement we're talking about).

Or, just playing the piano myself.

Re: One composer recitals [Re: MichaelJK] #2948263 02/17/20 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
In my opinion, none of them work. That's because I can't stand to sit through an entire piano recital.

I would literally rather be staring at a wall. At least then there wouldn't be any pressure to applaud (or refrain from applauding, depending on which movement we're talking about).

Or, just playing the piano myself.


I'd gladly sit through forty full length piano recitals instead of performing one myself. Been there, done that.

But why do you find it so difficult? Just not into the music?


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Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948268 02/17/20 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Which composers do you think can succeed in one composer recitals and why? Which do you think don't work and why?

I think virtually any composer works for half a recital but not all would work for an entire recital.

I think some composers are obviously doable for one composer recitals because of the quality and variety of their work and because they have many instances of working well in the past.
PL - What exactly do you mean by "work or don't work" (beyond the quality and variety of a composer's compositions and instances of working well in the past)? Is it a concern about the average listener's capacity to tolerate too much "sameness" in one sitting? And wouldn't that tolerance vary from listener to listener?


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Re: One composer recitals [Re: BeeZee4] #2948288 02/18/20 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by BeeZee4
I would balk at attending an all Carl Czerny evening however. An evening of "The School of Velocity" would drive me up the wall. Likewise an all Clementi evening of "Gradus ad Parnassum" or Sonatinas would not entice.
Czerny and Clementi write significant pieces light years beyond the ones you mentioned. That being said, I don't think they're great enough composers to merit a full recital program. Half a program would be fine.

Re: One composer recitals [Re: Carey] #2948289 02/18/20 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Which composers do you think can succeed in one composer recitals and why? Which do you think don't work and why?

I think virtually any composer works for half a recital but not all would work for an entire recital.

I think some composers are obviously doable for one composer recitals because of the quality and variety of their work and because they have many instances of working well in the past.
PL - What exactly do you mean by "work or don't work" (beyond the quality and variety of a composer's compositions and instances of working well in the past)? Is it a concern about the average listener's capacity to tolerate too much "sameness" in one sitting? And wouldn't that tolerance vary from listener to listener?
Work or don't work is really the question in the thread and up to each poster to decide. The three qualities you listed in parenthesis would be some of my criteria but not an absolute list for me or anyone else. I would like to hear a single book of Debussy Preludes but both books wouldn't work so well for me.

Another criteria for working or not would be the works chosen from the single composer' output. I wouldn't like an all-Chopin recital emphasizing his most often played works.

Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948290 02/18/20 12:22 AM
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I have been to a lot of one composer concerts. Sometimes it has just been a single piece or collection. Vingt Regards takes an entire concert, as does the Quartet for the End of Time. I have only been to one opera performance that was a double bill. The War Requiem, the German Reuiem were single concerts, as was the Petite Messe Solennelle, and I stayed for both performances of the Ellington Mass in one day. The Debussy Etudes lasted an entire concert, and a retrospective of Milhaud's music was just that.

We go to a lot of performances that are just one thing: Movies, plays, lectures, as well as music. Sometimes they work, sometimes they do not. The fact that one person performs or is performed on a piano is no different.


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Re: One composer recitals [Re: Carey] #2948300 02/18/20 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by MichaelJK
In my opinion, none of them work. That's because I can't stand to sit through an entire piano recital.

I would literally rather be staring at a wall. At least then there wouldn't be any pressure to applaud (or refrain from applauding, depending on which movement we're talking about).

Or, just playing the piano myself.


I'd gladly sit through forty full length piano recitals instead of performing one myself. Been there, done that.

But why do you find it so difficult? Just not into the music?



When I said "playing the piano myself", I really had in mind just playing by myself, not in front of an audience. I haven't played a full-length piano recital in a long time, but you know, maybe I'd be up for it again. I'd have to find a unique take on it, though.

What I find difficult about sitting through a recital is the sheer length of it, the cramped seating, the stifling social conventions. Also, the discomfort of the performer is quite palpable for me. There's really very little I find appealing.

To answer the OP more directly: I would say Bach can work quite well, if it is played by someone who has real mastery of the instrument.

Last edited by MichaelJK; 02/18/20 12:46 AM.
Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948363 02/18/20 05:32 AM
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I'd love to hear Iberia or Goyescas in a single concert. Even better would be hearing both of them back to back. They'd have to be separate concerts of course, given that both works are by different composers, but still... grin

Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948370 02/18/20 05:50 AM
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PS I attend a fairly major piano competition every few years. I love listening to competitor after competitor. It doesn't seem long at all when the competitors are good.

Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948377 02/18/20 06:13 AM
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A Gershwin recital would work well for me. I also think recitals of only Grieg, or Tchaikovsky would be ok.


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Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948382 02/18/20 06:44 AM
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I'm thinking hard (always a dangerous thing to do), and I think I've only ever been to one one-composer recital, and that was Kissin's Beethoven program last week! Which worked very well and was out of this world amazing.

I agree on Scarlatti because of the length of the pieces. I'd also find all-Bach a bit taxing, because I never really relax when listening to Bach, it's too much of an active process for me. But that might be a personal thing.

Otherwise? Give me all-Brahms, all-Schumann, all-Liszt, all-pretty-much-anything other than atonal stuff. I can really get into that at times, but two or three hours in a row would be too much.

What I'd love most would be all-Chopin or all-Rachmaninov, simply because I could listen to their music all day.

Last edited by Sibylle; 02/18/20 06:44 AM.

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Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948435 02/18/20 08:56 AM
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I’ve been to an all-Scarlatti recital, and it was absolutely incredible. Rest of the audience loved it, too. Don’t doubt until you hear it for yourself!

Beethoven and Chopin are obviously great choices for single-composer recitals.

I’ve heard all the Debussy preludes in one concert, and while the pianist was incredible, it was a bit much for me to hear them ALL in ONE sitting like that.

Brahms and Schumann would be fine for many, but I’m not a huge Schumann fan besides the vocal music and most of Brahms’ non-solo piano music I like much more than his solo piano works. I’ve been to several recitals with all three Brahms violin sonatas, as well as recitals with the G minor quartet/F minor quintet, vocal recitals, etc. and they were absolutely incredible.

Scriabin would also be awesome. I’ve been to some all-Bach concerts and they were great, too.

Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948482 02/18/20 11:39 AM
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Some composers work, others don't, as many have already said.

Personally I feel that as long as the individual pieces are contrasting enough it usually works, especially with Beethoven (early, middle, and late).

Contrary to what some have said, I think an all Chopin recital would get very boring. His style didn't change enough in his lifetime, probably due to his dying at a young age.

I've been to a couple all Schubert recitals and loved them both.

All Mozart gets old, as would an all Haydn recital.

Brahms MIGHT work, but much of his solo piano works probably won't appeal to non-musicians for a full recital duration (unless it's a short recital).

An all Bach recital would work quite well, in my opinion.

Re: One composer recitals [Re: Orange Soda King] #2948485 02/18/20 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I’ve been to an all-Scarlatti recital, and it was absolutely incredible. Rest of the audience loved it, too. Don’t doubt until you hear it for yourself!
Who was the pianist? Do you recall about how many sonatas they played?

Re: One composer recitals [Re: Orange Soda King] #2948487 02/18/20 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I’ve been to an all-Scarlatti recital, and it was absolutely incredible. Rest of the audience loved it, too. Don’t doubt until you hear it for yourself!
Who was the pianist? Do you recall about how many sonatas they played?

Re: One composer recitals [Re: pianoloverus] #2948511 02/18/20 12:30 PM
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I heard Joaquin Nin-Culmell play an all Soler recital. His father rediscovered Soler. (His sister was Anais.)


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