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Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
#2990870 06/13/20 05:35 AM
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Inspired by a new thread in the Non-Classical Forum (which I never look at), and somewhat bored at present - unlike Samuel Johnson ("Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”) I'm not in said London - I thought I'd start one for classical pianists, as I know we're all very fond of lists here: 'The best 50 composers who've never lived', 'The top twenty pianists that you've heard but wish you hadn't' etc. Being a generous sort wink , I've allowed ten rather than the five permitted in the other forum.

OK, I know that it's impossible to make such a list for classical piano works, as there were zillions composed even before the piano was ever invented, but there's no harm trying. ('Nothing ventured, nothing gained', as Confucius - or Reinhold Messner - was never fond of saying.) I'm looking for what you consider are the Everests of the solo piano world (no concertos or chamber works please - though maybe someone might start new threads for those: hint, hint....). Any piece originally composed for keyboard (other than organ) can be included - so, you can have Les barricades mystérieuses on your list, if you want. But no transcriptions please - that goes into minefield areas, and we don't like stepping on mines in PW.

Also note that I said 'Everest', i.e. the highest, but not necessarily the most difficult mountain (after all, I've climbed it, and if I can, anyone can; whereas I wouldn't touch Nanga Parbat with a barge pole), so I'm not looking for sheer difficulty, but rather, what you consider to be the 'highest' or greatest peaks of the solo piano literature, the works that you believe that every serious classical pianist should at least get to know, if not learn. (After all, some of us prefer to admire Everest from afar whistle). I suspect that there will be two or three that will be on everyone's lists, but let's see.

I have a few ideas at present, but rather than put all my cards on the table, like good poker players, I'll wait until others have. cool

So, over to you........


"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: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2990967 06/13/20 09:15 AM
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Beethoven: Hammerklavier
Beethoven: Op. 111
Beethoven: Diabelli Variations
Schumann: Fantasie.
Schubert: D.960.
Mozart: D minor concerto
Bach: The Art of Fugue
Bach: WTC
Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit
Chopin: E minor Concerto

Last edited by johnstaf; 06/13/20 09:15 AM.
Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991010 06/13/20 10:54 AM
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johnstaf:

bennevis wrote "no concertos," so if we are to play his game, we should play by his rules, right?

Cheers!


BruceD
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Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991014 06/13/20 11:03 AM
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I must have missed that bit.

Beethoven: Hammerklavier
Beethoven: Op. 111
Beethoven: Diabelli Variations
Schumann: Fantasie.
Schubert: D.960.

Bach: The Art of Fugue
Bach: WTC
Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit

Ligeti: Etudes

Xenakis: Mists

Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991020 06/13/20 11:08 AM
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I can't think of 10 at the moment, but these come to mind:

Chopin - 4th Ballade
Chopin Barcarolle
Bach WTC - any prelude/fugue
Beethoven Opus 110
Beethoven Opus 53
Liszt - Un Sospiro
Schumann C Major Fantasy
Brahms 118 #2

That's all for now. I'll keep thinking....


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991021 06/13/20 11:10 AM
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Bach: The Goldberg Variations
Beethoven: "Waldstein" Sonata, op. 53
Schubert: Sonata in A Major D. 959
Schumann: Fantasie in C, op. 17
Mozart: Sonata a minor, K. 310
Chopin: Ballade No. 4 in f minor
Chopin: Sonata No. 3 in b minor, op. 58
Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit
Debussy: Images, Book 1 (or at the very least "Reflets dans le Eau")
Rachmaninoff: Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, op.36


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Liszt: Chasse Neige
Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991024 06/13/20 11:22 AM
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I'll substitute Brahms's Paganini Variations for the Xenakis.

The Xenakis is more of a piece that I wished I had learned. The Brahms is one of the ultimate Everest pieces.

Beethoven: Hammerklavier
Beethoven: Op. 111
Beethoven: Diabelli Variations
Schumann: Fantasie.
Schubert: D.960.

Bach: The Art of Fugue
Bach: WTC
Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit

Ligeti: Etudes

Brahms: Paganini Variations

Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991037 06/13/20 11:43 AM
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Every pianist should know and learn the piano music for children by the first 10 or however many composers you can think of. Beyond that, if they make it that far, every pianist will have their own "Everest," which may not be the same for every other pianist. For some, it may be among those children's pieces.


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Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991038 06/13/20 11:44 AM
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Schoenberg op.19
Beethoven op-109
Feldman For Bunita Marcus
Bach Goldberg Variations
Hindemith Ludus Tonalis
Brahms 118/2
Cage one5
Liszt Les Jeux d'eau a la Villa d'Este
Borisova-Ollas The secret beauty of waters
Haydn Sonata XVI/46

Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991045 06/13/20 12:02 PM
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I’ll mention entire sets in chronological order.

Bach - WTC
Bach - Goldberg Variations
Mozart - Piano Sonatas
Chopin - Ballades
Chopin - Préludes
Chopin - Nocturnes
Scriabin - Préludes, op. 11

Last edited by CyberGene; 06/13/20 12:03 PM.

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Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991050 06/13/20 12:12 PM
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I cannot find just ten that I would put in that category. I would need closer to maybe 30. I could not choose just 10 from my list below.

Bach-Goldberg, WTC, Partitas
Beethoven- Moonlight, Appassionata, Waldstein, Op.109,110,111
Chopin-Preludes, Sonatas in B flat minor and B minor, Barcarolle, Ballade No. 4, Etudes
Schubert- Sonata D.960
Schumann- Fantasie, Symphonic Etudes
Brahms- Paganini and Handel Variations, Op. 119
Liszt- Sonata, Transcendental Etudes, song transcriptions. Les Jeux d'eau a la Villa d'Este
Prokofiev- Sonatas Nos. 6,7,8
Scriabin- Sonatas Nos.4 and 5
Ravel-Gaspard, Jeux d'eau, Une Barque
Debussy-Preludes
Albeniz-Iberia

Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991072 06/13/20 01:10 PM
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I'm going to answer the question slightly more personally. This a list of the things that in the first few years of playing the piano again as an adult, I decided I should learn someday, knowing full well that some of them would always be way too hard for me:

Schubert: Sonata in B flat D.960 (still haven't attempted yet)
Schubert: Impromptus Op. 90 (learned #1, #2, #4)
Brahms: Op. 116 through Op. 119 (have learned most of these)
Chopin: Berceuse (tried for a while, should try again)
Chopin: Barcarolle (haven't attempted, may be too hard)
Chopin: Nocturnes (learned about seven of these, including the C Minor)
Debussy: Preludes (learned four of Bk. 1, learning two of of Bk. 2 now)
Debussy: Reflets dans l'eau (learned it last year, still not great though)
Beethoven: Sonata #28 in A (tried for a while, second movement might be too hard)
Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin (learned the Forlane, Rigaudon, and Menuet; learning Prelude now)
Shostakovich: Preludes and Fugues Op. 87 (learned a very small set of these)

Oops, I think I went over ten.


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Debussy: Images Bk.1 #1-2, Préludes Bk.2 #1,#6; Brahms: Op. 119 #3,#4; Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin, Prélude; Bolcom: Graceful Ghost Rag
Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991211 06/13/20 08:58 PM
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J.S. Bach - WTC
Beethoven - Appassionata
Beethoven - Diabelli Variations
Chopin - Etudes
Schumann - Fantasie
Liszt - Sonata in B minor
Ravel - Gaspard de la Nuit
Debussy - Etudes
Ligeti - Etudes
John Cage - 4'33 (Yes, seriously! It may have been done with other ensembles but it was premiered as a piano piece.)


Beethoven - Piano Sonata, op. 101
Bartok - Piano Sonata
Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991231 06/13/20 11:52 PM
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Bach—Well-Tempered Clavier
Bach—Goldberg Variations
Beethoven—Hammerklavier
Beethoven—Diabelli Variations
Chopin—Etudes
Schumann—Fantaisie
Brahms—Paganini Variations
Hindemith—Ludus Tonalis
Messiaen—Vingt Regards sur l'enfant-Jésus
Ligeti—Etudes

Other contenders would be:
Bach—Partitas
Bach—Art of Fugue
Schubert Sonata D.960
Schubert Wanderer Fantasy
Liszt—Transcendental Etudes
Liszt Sonata in B Minor
Chopin 4 Ballades
Schumann—Symphonic Etudes
Schumann—Kreisleriana
Brahms—6 Piano Pieces
Brahms—Handel Variations
Scriabin—Etudes
Mussorgsky—Pictures at an Exhibition
Albeniz—Suite "Iberia"
Busoni—Fantasia Contrappuntistica
Ravel—Miroirs
Ives—"Concord" Sonata
Rautavaara—Etudes

Last edited by achoo42; 06/13/20 11:54 PM.
Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991386 06/14/20 12:59 PM
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There's a similar list compiled by the people at talkclassical.com for various types of classical works.

Here are the first 10 entries from The TC Top 200 Recommended Solo Keyboard Works:

1. Bach - The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846–893
2. Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 29, Op. 106 "Hammerklavier"
3. Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 32, Op. 111
4. Chopin - 24 Preludes, Op. 28
5. Bach - Goldberg Variations, BWV 988
6. Schubert - Piano Sonata No. 21, D. 960
7. Ravel - Gaspard de la Nuit
8. Chopin - Ballade No. 4, Op. 52
9. Schumann - Fantasie in C major, Op. 17
10. Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition

The full list is here:
https://www.talkclassical.com/17996-compilation-tc-top-recommended.html

Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991399 06/14/20 01:41 PM
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Very interesting lists so far. I was wondering if people felt 'duty-bound' to allocate no more than one work to each composer, but I was glad to see that there were no such scruples thumb.

So far, it looks like two pieces tie for first place: Bach's WTC and Schumann's Fantasie, with six people having one or both of them on their lists. And the Goldberg is in second place, with five votes.

My own list, after some (but not too much) cogitation, is quite conventional. Perhaps even boring, and nothing to frighten the horses whistle but they do reflect my long-standing love for those pieces. And I never tire of listening to great pianists play them, nor of playing them myself, meaning that they have real staying power in my book......

Bach: Goldberg Variations
Mozart: Sonata in A minor, K310
Beethoven: Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111
Schubert: Sonata No.21 in B flat, D960
Chopin: Sonata No.3 in B minor
Schumann: Fantasie in C
Liszt: Sonata in B minor
Brahms: Klavierstücke, Op.118
Rachmaninov: 24 Preludes
Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit

As I made an analogy earlier to climbing mountains (my second favorite activity), I decided to have a list of the K2's of the solo piano rep too wink - not quite the highest peaks in my esteemed estimation, but more challenging generally and - possibly - even more prized, just like K2 over Everest:

Bach: WTC
Beethoven: Diabelli Variations
Chopin: Études Op.10 & 25
Liszt: Années de pèlerinage
Franck: Prélude, choral et fugue
Albéniz: Iberia
Prokofiev: War Sonatas (Nos.6 - 8)
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Scriabin: Sonata No.5
Ligeti: Études

More lists, anyone? Remember, they don't have to be complex or difficult or big - just your own personal list of ten.......or twenty grin.


"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: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991411 06/14/20 02:10 PM
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If my list went up to 11, Iberia would be on it.

Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2991487 06/14/20 05:55 PM
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It's interesting how many pieces are on many different lists. There's a small number of pieces on only one list.

Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
pianoloverus #2994019 06/22/20 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
It's interesting how many pieces are on many different lists. There's a small number of pieces on only one list.

Schumann's Fantasie appears on 9 of the lists so far. That's more than any single Beethoven Bach piece!

Re: Ten piano works that a pianist must learn (or know, or hear)
bennevis #2994089 06/22/20 01:52 PM
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The Schumann Fantasie has everything for a discerning pianist and musician - a test of his ability to be spontaneous yet with a long integrated view of the whole, be able to change moods abruptly on a hairpin yet sound totally convincing in every aspect, convey deep pathos without sentimentality........and last but not least, show off his chops and elicit a "Bravo!" from his audience (albeit in the wrong place wink ).

What more could any pianist want? It's in the rep of every concert pianist who doesn't turn up his nose at Romantic music thumb.


"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."
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