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SiFi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by trigalg693
Yea the arm naturally takes care of most of it, but the stretches (e.g. F A F, E Ab F) require the fingers to do some work since the hand is expanding so you can't really shove your arm around as freely smirk My index finger is not enjoying this treatment.

Besides, my white key to black key movement speed limit on the thumb is maybe around the 121 bpm (16th notes) mark, which is not enough to catch Yuja Wang or Claire Huangci or Haochen Zhang.

I agree with what you say about those stretches, though your example is, I think, slightly easier than when it returns in bar 185 (Gb Bb G natural is really awkward at tempo). I'm assuming you're talking about when it's all sixteenth note-chords and the fifth finger has to repeat all the notes in the top line?

Speaking of 16th notes, when you say 121 bpm, don't you mean 8th notes? (Or, lord love us, quarter notes???)

I'm excited that you're working on this as well. I'm also interested that you mention Claire. I attended the complete Van Cliburn in 2013 and she played the first recital of the entire competition. I loved her playing and really wished she had made the finals. According to the spreadsheet I created to keep score, her first round performance actually was in the top six of all the competitors.


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SiFi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by SiFi
. . . slightly easier . . .

. . . slightly less difficult . . .

Last edited by SiFi; 07/22/20 12:53 AM.

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Originally Posted by johnstaf
. . . I find that when the thumb is completely relaxed it takes no effort for the hand to shape itself. That only happens when it feels as if the thumb is doing no work. Changing the angle of the hand to the key has the same effect as changing its width. If the hand is relaxed, it can also be "opened up" by the keys when necessary . . .
I meant to say, I think this is right. IMO, Prokofiev does a good job, in this piece at least, of making that relaxation fairly easy to accomplish in the passages we're talking about.


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I was watching Alexander Molfeev play Rachmaninov's 2nd Concerto recently, aghast at how good this young man is at playing the piano (good in all sorts of ways) and wondered why the concerto finished quite a long time before the end of the video. Answer: He played an encore. What did he play as his encore? Prokofiev's Toccata! If you listen to this, remember that he was a 15-year-old boy at the time.

https://youtu.be/0CW6cxApOBg?t=2104

I have tried to follow his fingerings in passages where you can see what he's doing, and some of them seem kind of strange. Like the way his thumb hangs down below the keyboard at times. But I was most interested in how he did the main idea that emerges in the RH near the beginning after the repeated Ds. I finger that 2 3 5 5 3 5 2 1 - 2 3 5 5 3 5 2 1 - 2 . . . so I can get a change of finger on at least one of the repetitions. Malofeev doesn't seem to use his thumb at all!

I'd be interested to know what fingering solution other people have used for this motif. I'm also curious what people think of Malofeev's performance.


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Originally Posted by SiFi
I'm also curious what people think of Malofeev's performance.
A brief review: Wow!

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Alexander Molfeev. Wow, never heard of him. But amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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Been following Malofeev for years. Quite a lot on YouTube with him and all very impressive even though still quite young. He came in second in the first Chinese International Competition last year and I thought he should have been first. He followed that almost immediately with the Tchaikovsky and I think he was the youngest there. Unfortunately he let his extraordinary fingers get the best of him and was playing everything way too fast and never made the finals rightfully so. It’s very interesting on YouTube his Rach 3 cadenza I think he has a memory slip as he sounds as if he is playing from the third movement but catches himself quite well and back on track almost immediately. He is a remarkable talent and will be among the greats one day. There is another much younger Russian pianist Alexandra Dovgan who is also quite remarkable.

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Originally Posted by kbrod1
Been following Malofeev for years. Quite a lot on YouTube with him and all very impressive even though still quite young. He came in second in the first Chinese International Competition last year and I thought he should have been first. He followed that almost immediately with the Tchaikovsky and I think he was the youngest there. Unfortunately he let his extraordinary fingers get the best of him and was playing everything way too fast and never made the finals rightfully so. It’s very interesting on YouTube his Rach 3 cadenza I think he has a memory slip as he sounds as if he is playing from the third movement but catches himself quite well and back on track almost immediately. He is a remarkable talent and will be among the greats one day. There is another much younger Russian pianist Alexandra Dovgan who is also quite remarkable.
I thought he seemed familiar. At the Tchaikovsky I recall he played almost his entire program at warp speed. In particular the third mvmt of Appassionata was quite ludicrous. Entertaining, but exhausting to listen to.

https://tch16.medici.tv/en/replay/#filter?instrument=piano,round=first-round,slug=first-round-with-alexander-malofeev-

Last edited by rach3master; 08/15/20 01:24 PM.

Youtube piano recordings (classical music/video games/anime): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh9N3Xirs86USDQXE1WiwXg
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Originally Posted by SiFi
Speaking of 16th notes, when you say 121 bpm, don't you mean 8th notes? (Or, lord love us, quarter notes???)

Yes sorry, quarter notes.

I'm discovering that with so many notes in the right hand, solid muscle memory is taking quite a while to build...the daily grind continues.

Last edited by trigalg693; 08/15/20 04:32 PM.
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I observed some of the master classes at last weeks PYPA (Piano Festival for talented young pianists in Philadelphia) and a 17 year old student played this piece, and quite well, the teacher spent more time discussing the artistic aspects than technical obstacles. Wish they had that recording available on their web site or their Facebook page, it would provide more insight for OP.

Last edited by AssociateX; 08/15/20 08:13 PM.

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Okay wow, this feels very discouraging: I did a metronome check today since it's the first day I feel like the notes are mostly in my fingers, and I realized 110 feels like another 2 months of practice away from happening, and 120 is probably at least 6 months of practice away. I definitely underestimated the difficulty quite a bit.

For reference, I used Soundbrenner to measure the speed at the hardest passages (octaves and major thirds in left hand, thirds with extra notes in right)
Yuja Wang @ Berlin Philharmonic encore: 122
Claire Huangci: 122-124
Martha Argerich @ DG recording: 117
Martha Argerich @ later video?: 119-120

Last edited by trigalg693; 09/02/20 11:52 PM.
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Originally Posted by trigalg693
Okay wow, this feels very discouraging: I did a metronome check today since it's the first day I feel like the notes are mostly in my fingers, and I realized 110 feels like another 2 months of practice away from happening, and 120 is probably at least 6 months of practice away. I definitely underestimated the difficulty quite a bit.

Maybe just play it as fast as Emil Gilels and call it good.


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Originally Posted by trigalg693
Okay wow, this feels very discouraging: I did a metronome check today since it's the first day I feel like the notes are mostly in my fingers, and I realized 110 feels like another 2 months of practice away from happening, and 120 is probably at least 6 months of practice away. I definitely underestimated the difficulty quite a bit.

I think Mark Alexander is right. Gilels plays at 102. The way he performs it, it sounds perfectly fine at that speed. I am using that tempo as my first goal. There's just one little sequence that I simply can't get right at that speed. It's, like, three sixteenth notes in the whole piece. I've tried messing with the fingering, practicing backwards, chunking--nothing works. I can fudge it OK, but it's still frustrating.

Gonna try it with an online audience this weekend. Gulp!


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I'm measuring 93 on that Gilels recording. I need a little more practice to solidify my memory, but I can do 93, and I feel like 100 isn't hard, but I don't think it sounds good below ~112. This piece is very fun so hopefully I'll still enjoy playing it in a few months when I can hit 112.

Good luck with your performance Simon!

Last edited by trigalg693; 09/04/20 01:11 AM.
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SiFi Offline OP
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Originally Posted by AssociateX
I observed some of the master classes at last weeks PYPA (Piano Festival for talented young pianists in Philadelphia) and a 17 year old student played this piece, and quite well, the teacher spent more time discussing the artistic aspects than technical obstacles. Wish they had that recording available on their web site or their Facebook page, it would provide more insight for OP.

Gosh, I would love to have seen that!


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It finally happened. I broke a high treble string practicing the really loud bit near the end. Amazingly, I've never done that before, at least not on my own piano. I suppose it's appropriate and not entirely surprising that it should happen with this piece. I was quite startled at how loud and dangerous it sounded; like a really big whip cracking!


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broken string! Prokofiev might approve!

This is such an informative thread. I, too, am learning this piece but I am giving myself 8 months to get it, very slowly increasing my tempo. For the beginning d minor motif, I used a 1-2-4-5-2-4-1-2 and it seems to work at tempo. I'm curious what fingering people are using for the the descending minor thirds on 81 and 177. I recently switched my fingering and find I have to play with very round fingers on top of the black keys to make them sound more precise.

I had originally thought the Huangci recording was as fast as it can get but then Cocchia comes, at the same time inspiring fear and admiration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DTtO-HDNrA. It almost sounds computer generated.

Anyone have more info on this guy? Seems there's very little on the internet.

Last edited by apianostudent; 09/05/20 12:07 PM.
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Wow, that was extraordinary and live too. I've heard other concert pianists play much slower and sound like they're at their limits.

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Originally Posted by apianostudent
. . . but then Cocchia comes, at the same time inspiring fear and admiration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DTtO-HDNrA. It almost sounds computer generated.

Anyone have more info on this guy? Seems there's very little on the internet.

Well listening to that was depressing. I wonder if this is the fastest one out there? I'd never heard him before nor heard of him. Observing that technique, I can't imagine why.


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I don't know that the piece gains anything by being played so fast. Horowitz and Argerich have a menacing quality about them. His technique is extraordinary, but what's the point?

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