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Brahms suggestions
#3049861 11/26/20 06:17 PM
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I am looking at options for brahms pieces. So far I have played opus 76 no 1, opus 117 no 2 and rhapsody g minor. In my current collection I have two good pieces but one is too hard atm (rhapsody no 1) and the other one i wanted to try (op 118 no 6) has been played by a few others recently in piano group so I wanted to find another. I know about the intermezzo but many people play these especially the opus 118 no 2 so wanted something a bit more interesting. What do people think of this one and any similar to this suggested ?


Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3049873 11/26/20 06:52 PM
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Opus 119, (4 pieces,) is great. The last, the Rhapsody is tough but the rest aren't too bad, esp. 1 and 2.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3049876 11/26/20 07:01 PM
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There are lots of possibilities all of about equal difficulty compared to the ones you've already played.

The Ballades Op. 10 Nos.1 and 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6pHawY2zJg

Op. 76 No.4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahqhor4NCUE

Op. 79 No.1(not really harder than the Brahms you've already played IMO)

Op.116 Nos. 4, 6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHz0qWXeG4M
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnCKHmMiit4

Op. 117 No.1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvhWk6j2tFw

Op. 119 No.1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Fl7ZSq6AzM

My top recommendation would be a selection from the Waltzes Op.39. These range in difficulty from easier than the Brahms you've done to more difficult.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIztXJ3kqi4

One last recommendation ..the Cortot transcription of the Brahms Lullaby
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou3I2JWek6I

Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3049891 11/26/20 07:37 PM
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Thank you for the suggestions. Some of the Waltz are very good.


Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3049924 11/26/20 10:10 PM
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Definitely look at the op 39 Waltzes. I'm working on them and they are fun, challenging and rewarding.

Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3049932 11/26/20 10:44 PM
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Brahms is wonderful. I'm currently in a Brahms phase and have been working through the op 116 set (in no particular order).

Here are a few of my recommendations in increasing order of difficulty:

1. Waltzes Op 39 - Wonderful little pieces with moderate technical demands. They will acquaint you better with Brahms' style of piano composition.

2. Op 117 - None of these are particularly vicious, but they provide excellent practice for chord voicing and are incredibly satisfying to play. I've learned all three and they are well worth the effort to learn.

3. Op 116 no 6 - Just gorgeous and rewarding. This is one of his most underrated pieces in my opinion.

4. Op 21 no 1 variations - Quite tricky, technically just below the 1st rhapsody, in my opinion. It's rarely recorded, but Katchen is amazing as always.

5. Various other op 76 pieces - Try sight reading through some of the slower pieces in this set. If you can play the second rhapsody, most of these should be reasonably within your reach. All of them are interesting in their own way.

Re: Brahms suggestions
pianoloverus #3049957 11/27/20 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Op. 79 No.1 (not really harder than the Brahms you've already played IMO)

The OP stated that this one is a tad too hard for him "at the moment." Henle rates the Opus 79 No. 2 at 6 (high end of medium difficulty), and the Opus 79 No. 1 at 7 (low end of difficult). In my personal experience it seems that the No. 2 is played by a good many high school pianists, while the No. 1 is usually performed by undergrads and grad students. Of course, it is challenging to play either work well.
smile

I would recommend Opus 117 No. 1 and Opus 76 No. 7.

Last edited by Carey; 11/27/20 01:00 AM.

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Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3049989 11/27/20 04:11 AM
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I really love the Brahms ballades. Either 1 or 2 are i think doable for you and are within the same range of difficulty as opus 118,2. The opus 10,2 is a lyrical piece which i like a lot. Here is one of my preferred recording by Michelangeli. He is playing on a older piano dated 1910.

https://youtu.be/vf9AUtqjks4

Re: Brahms suggestions
Sidokar #3050181 11/27/20 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sidokar
I really love the Brahms ballades. Either 1 or 2 are i think doable for you and are within the same range of difficulty as opus 118,2. The opus 10,2 is a lyrical piece which i like a lot. Here is one of my preferred recording by Michelangeli. He is playing on a older piano dated 1910.

https://youtu.be/vf9AUtqjks4

I'd say that "parts" of Opus 10 No. 2 are lyrical - but the rest not so much. Actually, it seems that No. 2 would be much more difficult to learn and play than No. 1, yet Henle ranks Ballades 1, 2 and 4 as "medium" difficulty. Yikes.

The Michelangeli performance is wonderful !!


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Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3050223 11/27/20 05:35 PM
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118/6 is the most difficult of the Op 118 set.

Op 116 # 3 and 4 make a nice pair: 116/3 Capricio in Gm being a bit raucous and 116/4 Intermezzo in E being very lyrical.

Some pianists take 116/3 too fast for my taste, particularly depriving the middle section of its lyricism, but also rushing the main section. I like the rendering of it by Emil Gilels in this recording of the entire Op. 116:

https://youtu.be/uIqA2XICYxs

116/3 is roughly comparable to 79/2 in difficulty, but 79/2 is longer, and has a few areas I find more difficult than 116/3, so 116/3 should be fine if you've played 79/2.

116/3 does have some fingerwork challenges at the end, but not virtuosic in character.


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Re: Brahms suggestions
Sweelinck #3050680 11/28/20 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
118/6 is the most difficult of the Op 118 set.
"Difficult" is always the wrong thing to say to me because it gets my back up and I can't help taking on the challenge. I pulled out the music and... sorry, it's way to gloomy for me during these gloomy times.


Best regards,

Deborah
Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3050707 11/28/20 11:56 PM
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Well, I was neither encouraging nor discouraging the playing of it. 118/2 is more uplifting.


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Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3050729 11/29/20 02:03 AM
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Opus 119 is a terrific set. Number 2 is my favorite from that.
The Opus 10 ballades are beautiful, but their full impact is only achieved when played together.
The f-minor sonata is an interesting work that I keep coming back to. The second movement is heartbreakingly beautiful and can stand on its own.
If you are considering the waltzes, the first ten Hungarian Dances were arranged for solo piano by Brahms himself.


Peter
1949 Baldwin M
currently working on Brahms op. 10 Ballades, f-minor sonata and 2nd concerto
Mendelssohn Songs Without Words and E minor Prelude and Fugue
whatever strikes my fancy today.
Re: Brahms suggestions
Sweelinck #3050770 11/29/20 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
118/6 is the most difficult of the Op 118 set.

It's interesting to see how opinions about difficulty vary so widely. When I learned the entire Op. 118, I found the #3 and #4 to be the most difficult ones of the set. By contrast, the #6 was quite approachable. Sure, the middle section was challenging, but not impossible. Heck, even the middle section of #5 still gives me more trouble, probably because my fingers aren't very fast.

I understand gooddog's opinion about the gloominess of #6, but for me, that triumphal middle section makes up for it. It's like a ray of defiant hope.


1994 M&H BB; Yamaha N1X
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: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3050865 11/29/20 11:17 AM
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Suggestions like the f minor Sonata, solo version of the Hungarian Dances, Op.118 No.6 are not appropriate for the OPs level or even close. Remember, he is not considering the Ballad Op.79 No.2 because of its difficulty.

Re: Brahms suggestions
pianoloverus #3050871 11/29/20 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Suggestions like the f minor Sonata, solo version of the Hungarian Dances, Op.118 No.6 are not appropriate for the OPs level or even close. Remember, he is not considering the Ballad Op.79 No.2 because of its difficulty.
Concur with one small clarification: OP has played Opus 79 No. 2 and considers Opus 79 No. 1 too difficult at the moment. smile


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Re: Brahms suggestions
pianoloverus #3050947 11/29/20 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Suggestions like the f minor Sonata, solo version of the Hungarian Dances, Op.118 No.6 are not appropriate for the OPs level or even close. Remember, he is not considering the Ballad Op.79 No.2 because of its difficulty.
I don't know the gender of the OP but s/he has indicated having played 79/2 and that has been reiterated in other followup postings.

I only said that 118/6 is the most difficult of Op 118, not that it should or should not be recommended. Apparently there isn't even a consensus about the difficulty.

I suggested 116/3 and 116/4 to the OP, both accessible to someone who has played 79/2. Both are also very interesting pieces musically, and require contrasting technical and interpretive demands.

While none of the solo Hungarian Dances are what I would call easy, some are not especially difficult: Book 1 #5 certainly is less difficult than 79/2, and Book 1 #1 is at most no more difficult than 79/2, though I find it easier.

A couple of points were not discussed above. First, the difficulty of some of Brahms music can vary with the hand size of the pianist. Second, some interpretations of some Brahms pieces elevate the difficulty. Playing 118/2 horizontally with a cantabile melody projected over the other voices in the main section, and rendering the duet well in the middle section theme elevate the difficulty of the work perhaps to the level of the Chopin Etude 10/3. When I learned 118/2 to my teacher's satisfaction, it was based on my ability at the time. After I learned Chopin 10/3 years later, I returned to Brahms 118/2 and was able to get more out of it.


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Re: Brahms suggestions
Sweelinck #3050977 11/29/20 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Suggestions like the f minor Sonata, solo version of the Hungarian Dances, Op.118 No.6 are not appropriate for the OPs level or even close. Remember, he is not considering the Ballad Op.79 No.2 because of its difficulty.
I don't know the gender of the OP but s/he has indicated having played 79/2 and that has been reiterated in other followup postings.

I only said that 118/6 is the most difficult of Op 118, not that it should or should not be recommended. Apparently there isn't even a consensus about the difficulty.

While none of the solo Hungarian Dances are what I would call easy, some are not especially difficult: Book 1 #5 certainly is less difficult than 79/2, and Book 1 #1 is at most no more difficult than 79/2, though I find it easier.
1. It has already been posted that I meant to say Op. 79 No.1 as being avoided by the OP because of its difficulty.
2. Other posters suggested Op. 118 No.6 which I think is considerably more difficult than what the OP has played or is looking for.
3. Are you talking about the Brahms solo transcriptions of his Hungarian Dances? If so, the two you mentioned require virtuoso technique and are far harder than Op 79 No.1. My guess is you were thinking of the version for 4 hands at one piano.

Re: Brahms suggestions
Moo :) #3051070 11/29/20 11:22 PM
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I was referring to the solo versions. Henle rates Chopin Op. 44 at 7 and the Hungarian dance #5 at 8 which I think is backwards. Perhaps having learned the Hungarian dance #5 after Chopin Op. 44 and 53 made it seem easier, but it definitely was not as difficult as either of those. I also think some/many virtuosi pianists take this piece too fast. It is a dance after all, but often taken faster, contributing to the virtuoso tradition.


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Re: Brahms suggestions
Sweelinck #3051135 11/30/20 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
I was referring to the solo versions. Henle rates Chopin Op. 44 at 7 and the Hungarian dance #5 at 8 which I think is backwards. Perhaps having learned the Hungarian dance #5 after Chopin Op. 44 and 53 made it seem easier, but it definitely was not as difficult as either of those. I also think some/many virtuosi pianists take this piece too fast. It is a dance after all, but often taken faster, contributing to the virtuoso tradition.
I think he OP is nowhere near the level where playing the Hungarian Dances 1 and 5 would be appropriate. I don't know why you mention the two Chopin pieces which are clearly way beyond his level also. All these pieces are far more difficult than the Brahms Op, 79 No.1 which he feels is too difficult.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/30/20 07:13 AM.
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