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Most "underplayed" piece?
#3044119 11/09/20 02:19 PM
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I'm doing this because I have a nominee for it, a clear #1 to my mind, although of course I'm sure I'll agree that any number of other pieces that you might mention are deserving too.

First, how to define it (does it need a definition?):

However you want. smile

How I see it: Greatest disparity between how good/great you feel it is and how much it is played.

Or, just, really should be played a lot more.
Or, "I don't understand why this isn't played more."

(although with this piece, I think I know why it isn't)


Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044150 11/09/20 03:54 PM
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As a crazy fan of Evgeni Bozhanov I’ve listened to this Impromptu hundreds of times in his performance from the same competition but in 2010. I’m biased but I think his Chopin is unmatched 😛


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Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044160 11/09/20 04:18 PM
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I'd say it is this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdlTTS2av9g

....especially when played by a super-virtuoso as here, where no quarter is given, and no prisoners taken, in the OTT conclusion 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."
Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044186 11/09/20 05:02 PM
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The idea of the single most underplayed piece is rather silly. Much more reasonable is just a list of underplayed pieces and there have been quite a few PW threads about this.

A few I'd put on such a list:
Rachmaninov: Romance of piano 6 hands
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuVpCXmrMeE

Chopin: Rondo a la Mazur
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MV2EUR90Yc

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044189 11/09/20 05:09 PM
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Most Schumann masterpieces belong high up on a list of most "underperformed" works.

Among them: Davidsbundlertanze, Sonata No.3, Humoreske, Novelletten, and Bunte Blatter.

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
pianoloverus #3044196 11/09/20 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Funny enough, I can respond again with Bozhanov from the same Chopin competition in 2010 where Trifonov got the 3rd prize and Bozhanov got the 4th


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Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
pianoloverus #3044206 11/09/20 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The idea of the single most underplayed piece is rather silly.

Of course! grin


BTW, before I posted the recording, I went through quite a few on youtube, to pick out my favorite. Bozhanov was one of the others that stood out to me. I was struck by how many I didn't particularly like.
The 'sins' were mainly: too fast, or too slow, or not "poetic" enough (or at all), or too ponderously/affectedly poetic.....

We might not necessarily think that this piece, which is relatively simple, would be subject to such persnickety-ness, but I found that at least for me, it is.

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044455 11/10/20 01:36 PM
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I think that the 2nd Impromptu (Opus 36) would be the most underplayed of the four Impromptus - given the difficulty of the final section. All those running notes - yikes !!

https://youtu.be/DpcBEpiLDWA

I'm amazed that Henle rates all four Impromptus at Level 7 (difficult). This one is clearly an 8.


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Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Carey #3044486 11/10/20 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Carey
I think that the 2nd Impromptu (Opus 36) would be the most underplayed of the four Impromptus - given the difficulty of the final section. All those running notes - yikes !!

https://youtu.be/DpcBEpiLDWA

I'm amazed that Henle rates all four Impromptus at Level 7 (difficult). This one is clearly an 8.

I do think the 2nd Impromptu is up there too, but, isn't it played quite a bit more than the 3rd?

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044504 11/10/20 03:34 PM
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Schubert’s Grazer Fantasy.

Only discovered in the last 40-50 years and almost never played or recorded. It’s on my ever-growing “to learn” list

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=65uRn8fLWlQ

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044510 11/10/20 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by Carey
I think that the 2nd Impromptu (Opus 36) would be the most underplayed of the four Impromptus - given the difficulty of the final section. All those running notes - yikes !!

https://youtu.be/DpcBEpiLDWA

I'm amazed that Henle rates all four Impromptus at Level 7 (difficult). This one is clearly an 8.

I do think the 2nd Impromptu is up there too, but, isn't it played quite a bit more than the 3rd?
Perhaps - but certainly not by me. ha I posted (and you commented on) a recording of No. 3 on PW about 10 years ago. I've recently revisited the piece and may re-record it in an effort to play it more smoothly - which is one of the challenges of the work.


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Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
D959 #3044515 11/10/20 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by D959
Schubert’s Grazer Fantasy.

Only discovered in the last 40-50 years and almost never played or recorded. It’s on my ever-growing “to learn” list

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=65uRn8fLWlQ

Obscure and underplayed indeed.

Part of this - particularly toward the end - sound eerily like Chopin. Such a tragedy that Schubert died so young !!


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Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044652 11/11/20 12:36 AM
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Mendelssohn Piano Sonata #1 in E would be a candidate.


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Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044653 11/11/20 12:41 AM
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The middle Chopin impromptus are to me both stunning and I think preferable to 1 and 4, so it is interesting I rarely hear them.

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Mark_C #3044812 11/11/20 10:16 AM
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I vote for Rachmaninov's Variations on a Theme by Corelli. I also consider Mendelssohn's Variations Sérieuses, Op. 54, and his Scottish Sonata, Op. 28, somewhat undervalued.

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Rachtoven #3044830 11/11/20 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Rachtoven
I vote for Rachmaninov's Variations on a Theme by Corelli. I also consider Mendelssohn's Variations Sérieuses, Op. 54, and his Scottish Sonata, Op. 28, somewhat undervalued.

I especially agree with that last one.
(usually called Fantasie in F# minor)

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Rachtoven #3044876 11/11/20 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Rachtoven
I vote for Rachmaninov's Variations on a Theme by Corelli. I also consider Mendelssohn's Variations Sérieuses, Op. 54, and his Scottish Sonata, Op. 28, somewhat undervalued.
I think the first two are played a lot.

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
pianoloverus #3044885 11/11/20 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Rachtoven
I vote for Rachmaninov's Variations on a Theme by Corelli. I also consider Mendelssohn's Variations Sérieuses, Op. 54, and his Scottish Sonata, Op. 28, somewhat undervalued.
I think the first two are played a lot.

The Mendelssohn Variations for sure.

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
D959 #3044894 11/11/20 02:05 PM
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Wow—thank you for this. Beautiful.

Re: Most "underplayed" piece?
Carey #3045176 11/12/20 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Carey
I think that the 2nd Impromptu (Opus 36) would be the most underplayed of the four Impromptus - given the difficulty of the final section. All those running notes - yikes !!

https://youtu.be/DpcBEpiLDWA

I'm amazed that Henle rates all four Impromptus at Level 7 (difficult). This one is clearly an 8.

I agree that this is a stunning piece. Only last year, I think, I heard this as if for the first time. Listened to it so much that I had to learn it. That's how that happens.

To me there is a rare quality to this piece because of the overall mood, organization of the sections and variety of style. Each section flows into the next but the nature of the sections are so dramatically different. The wonderfully subdued opening leads to jubilant expression in the closing pages.

I worked on this with my teacher from beginning to end but it didn't make it to the "done" pile (partly because it was never on the agenda to learn haha). That last section and the section before it (my favorite) are very difficult. Hopefully will return to it sometime next year. Similar to the comments about op. 51, there are few performances of this piece that I really like. I find Claudio Arrau to be a reliable source for the Nocturnes and Impromptus and he doesn't disappoint in the op. 36.


Someone else will mention it eventually but I will add Brahms Variations on an Original Theme op. 21 no. 1. I've heard many versions but at this point I'm not really sure which to recommend. I "found" the piece when hearing Julius Katchen's recording. You could certainly do worse. It's wonderful.

It seems that Brahms developed this composition over an extended period of time while he was working out his own techniques in variation. He did this during a period of obsession over the late Beethoven sonatas.

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