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#420005 - 09/22/05 10:00 PM most difficult piece ever  
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TheAsianPianist Offline
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In your opinion, what is the hardest piece to perform out of all of the classical pieces? I know there will be a variety of answers, but I want everyone to consider the tempo, technique, and musicality required to perform the piece.

My vote is for a piece on Vladimir Horowitz's Legendary RCA recordings CD, track 9 on disk 2 (don't know the name, the numbers aren't listed). Anyone else heard of it?


Asian Invasion
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#420006 - 09/22/05 10:02 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Maybe Bartok 2nd Concerto? I haven't played it (of course :p ), but it certainly sounds the hardest of all the music that I've heard.


Sam
#420007 - 09/22/05 10:33 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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8ude Offline
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Well, if this is the disk you mean http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...6163230-3144846?v=glance&s=classical then track 9 is from Kabalevsky's preludes. I don't know them, so I can't comment - but I don't think the excerpt I heard on amazon, while difficult, would qualify as the toughest piece ever.

Balakirev's Islamey is generally considered one of the toughest. Ravel wrote his Gaspard de la Nuit to be tougher than that, though - and that suite is pretty darn tough. Another notable mention would be Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum. While I've never heard it (and don't plan on it), it is reputed to be ridiculously hard. I've glanced at the score and I'd tend to agree. It's hard - and it's ridiculous... Of course, Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto is a monster, as is the Brahms PC No. 2 and the Bartok #2.


What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.
#420008 - 09/22/05 10:41 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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If you're speaking of Horowitz's "Legendary RCA Recordings" on which disc one has the Tchaikovsky and Rach 3 concertos, then track 9 of disc 2 would be Prokofiev's Toccata. I would have to disagree with you.

I think, quite simply, for each person, the 'hardest piece in the world' is the one they want to play but can't. wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
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#420009 - 09/23/05 12:24 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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I still hold that Alkan's Concerto for Solo Piano (movement 1, and 3 to a slightly lesser extent) is the most difficult piece ever written for the piano. Many would say that some of Sorabji's works are more difficult, but, seeing as how I haven't played either of these works, I really couldn't say.


- Zack -
#420010 - 09/23/05 06:31 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Here's a measure from Sorabji:

[Linked Image]


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
#420011 - 09/23/05 08:14 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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taking sheer musicality, technical dificulty and grasp of large form, and stamina I would certainly add Beethovens Hammerklavier Sonata Op 106,

Rzewski's 'The people united will never be defeated' sure belongs in this list as well, it also combines a blistering technique with the above qualities.

Boulez Sonata #2 is incredibly hard
most of Messieans works also could be added

#420012 - 09/23/05 09:20 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Liszt Don Juan Fantasie
Godowsky-Chopin Études (particularly the étude in A flat, Opus 25, No. 1)
Brahms-Paganini variations


Best regards,

David Ramezani
#420013 - 09/23/05 09:40 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Hmmm - anybody try anything of Nancarrow's?

#420014 - 09/23/05 12:54 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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As far as solo works go, the Sorajbi O.C. is about as hard & demanding (and impossible unless you're a real psyco?) as it gets. I think there are only 2 or 3 pianists that have recorded it. Fortunatly it's a pretty gross piece of music so you're not missing out on much...

And concertos, my vote goes to the Busoni Piano Concerto. But all the others mentioned (apart from the Rachmaninoff) are definatly up there too.

#420015 - 09/23/05 01:13 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Oh my. That excerpt from the Sorabji piece just about made me faint. Think I'll skulk back over to the Adult Beginner's forum where I belong. laugh

By the way, can anybody tell me what you call those "sixthlet" things? (The run of notes that looks like a triplet but there's six of them and it has a little 6 underneath it.) "Sixthlet" is all I could come up with, but that's not a stuffy enough term so it can't possibly be correct.


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#420016 - 09/23/05 01:26 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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With the exception of of the term "triplet", I don't ever use terms to denote "irregular" groupings of notes. For instance, in Chopin when it's not uncommon to see 29 against 4, there's no point in coming up with a name for that - it's just "29 against 4".

A grouping of 6 against 4 is certainly common enough to merit a name - so I'd guess hextuplet?

Oh, and I think the Sorabji is enough to make even accomplished pianists faint, you're not alone... smile


What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.
#420017 - 09/23/05 01:46 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Herma

Eonta

both by Xenakis

I've actually seen the score for Eonta, and I haven't the faintest clue how anyone can play this. I have a recording by Yuji Takahashi, and after following along in the score for a few seconds I just put the score away; it was futile.


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#420018 - 09/23/05 04:17 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by kathyk:
Hmmm - anybody try anything of Nancarrow's?
Yes. In a Juilliard class I was assigned one of his player piano studies, transcribed for 4 hands.

A fine piece, but a pointless performance exercise. It's music for machines, and humans can't possibly play it as well as a machine can.

I know that Nancarrow wrote some pieces for sentient pianists, but I've never heard any of them.

#420019 - 09/23/05 10:24 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Derulux:
If you're speaking of Horowitz's "Legendary RCA Recordings" on which disc one has the Tchaikovsky and Rach 3 concertos, then track 9 of disc 2 would be Prokofiev's Toccata. I would have to disagree with you.

I think, quite simply, for each person, the 'hardest piece in the world' is the one they want to play but can't. wink
I mean when I first heard it, it sounded so chaotic and there is so much going on that I don't think I could comprehend even how to play it. Vladimir Horowitz is up to his usual best in his legendary recordings, and I'd think that only he could perform the hardest the best.


Asian Invasion
#420020 - 09/23/05 10:27 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Also, does anyone here agree with me that Liszt's "La Campanella" is extremely hard? I mean I've heard Yundi Li play it and he had his fair share of mistakes. I'd think that Lang Lang could also perform it pretty close to perfect (I mean he can do it if he could perform Liszt's transcription of Don Juan)


Asian Invasion
#420021 - 09/23/05 10:48 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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There is a DVD with Evgeny Kissin performing La Campanella as an encore piece. Very, very good performance. thumb


Sam
#420022 - 09/24/05 12:14 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Liszt's La Campanella and Don Juan Fantasy are both quite difficult pieces, but I don't think they'd qualify as the hardest piece ever. Tough as his music is, Liszt knew how to write for the piano and his stuff is very pianistic.


What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.
#420023 - 09/24/05 12:39 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
There is a DVD with Evgeny Kissin performing La Campanella as an encore piece. Very, very good performance. thumb
I'm dying to listen to Kissin. One of the few pianists I want to listen to, and whom I still haven't had the opportunity. (Oh, sure those little 50 second clips at amazon, et al, but we both know that doesn't cut it compared to a complete performance. wink )


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#420024 - 09/24/05 12:51 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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You've never heard a Kissin CD?

His DVD, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/6305785023/qid=1127537439/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-1480916-3884706?v=glance&s=dvd" target="new_window">the Gift of Music</a>, is great. It's a "documentary", but there's more performance on there than there is documentary.

He's one of my favorite pianists.


Sam
#420025 - 09/24/05 03:08 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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The search for the most difficult piece ever is quite useless. It doesn't say anything about the quality of the piece. I could write down the most difficult piece right now, if I wanted to. But it would sound like garbage.


Best regards,

David Ramezani
#420026 - 09/24/05 03:14 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Kissin. He's one of my favorite pianists.
Yup. Same here.


JOHN
#420027 - 09/24/05 03:19 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Lemon Pledge:
Yes. In a Juilliard class I was assigned one of his player piano studies, transcribed for 4 hands.

A fine piece, but a pointless performance exercise. It's music for machines, and humans can't possibly play it as well as a machine can.

I know that Nancarrow wrote some pieces for sentient pianists, but I've never heard any of them.
The Bugallo-Williams duo would like to have a word with you.

#420028 - 09/24/05 11:43 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Brendan:
The Bugallo-Williams duo would like to have a word with you.
I had to Google that one. Clearly they're an accomplished and dedicated pair who have found an interesting professional niche. More power to them for having attracted an audience.

I couldn't find any audio clips. But I have heard others attempt transcriptions of Nancarrow's studies, and I can't imagine how these fascinating examples of concrete music could benefit from human interpretation. I'd be happy to have my attitude about that changed, of course.

#420029 - 09/24/05 09:20 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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I wouldn't say that this is the most difficult piece ever, but it's sure up there in the top tier:

Buson's transcription of the Bach Chaconne.

John


Nothing.
#420030 - 09/24/05 09:37 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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TS Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
Here's a measure from Sorabji:

[Linked Image]
For lack of a better phrase: Holy F! eek

#420031 - 09/24/05 11:29 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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As hard as Sorabji's O.C. is, I think it sucks as far as musicality is performed. Way too long and bad sounding (sorry for my bad articulation).


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#420032 - 09/25/05 12:01 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by TS:
Quote
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
[b] Here's a measure from Sorabji:

[Linked Image]
For lack of a better phrase: Holy F! eek [/b]
To borrow from Monty Python, "I've had worse."
"No, you haven't. Your arm's off."
"It's just a flesh wound." :p wink


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#420033 - 09/25/05 10:06 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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I think that this Sorabij example suffers from exceptionally poor engraving more than from anything else.

Besides, I recently heard the Boulez sonata no. 2 in concert and have to agree that it's extremely difficult. I'd also nominate the Ives Concord Sonata as one of the hardest pieces out there.


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#420034 - 09/25/05 10:58 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Derulux:
Quote
Originally posted by TS:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
[b] Here's a measure from Sorabji:

[Linked Image]
For lack of a better phrase: Holy F! eek [/b]
To borrow from Monty Python, "I've had worse."
"No, you haven't. Your arm's off."
"It's just a flesh wound." :p wink [/b]
"Thats a dead horse."

#420035 - 09/25/05 01:32 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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I might have to rethink this after looking at the Sorabji excerpt, but my top three in the hardest piece swepstakes have always been Stravinsky's "Three Movements from Petrouchka," Ravel's "Scarbo" and Brahms "Paganini Variations" (either book).


Phil Bjorlo
#420036 - 09/27/05 03:57 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Scary, really scary. What piece is that, so I could remember to never try playing it.....

It's weird how some things just LOOK difficult from the very beginning.

Hi from South Africa


lallie
#420037 - 09/27/05 06:53 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by John Citron:
I wouldn't say that this is the most difficult piece ever, but it's sure up there in the top tier:

Buson's transcription of the Bach Chaconne.

John
I wouldn't put it in the same league as Scarbo or the HammerKlavier.


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
#420038 - 09/27/05 06:54 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Ronel Augustyn:
Scary, really scary. What piece is that, so I could remember to never try playing it.....
Its from one of his Sonatas - i don't recall which.


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
#420039 - 09/27/05 07:29 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Don't know about the hardest, but Finnissy's music seems quite tricky: Here\'s a page. Continued here.

What those sound like.


"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley
#420040 - 09/27/05 07:43 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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koji


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#420041 - 09/27/05 09:16 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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oops, Ignore this smile I replied to the wrong thread

#420042 - 09/27/05 12:40 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
[Linked Image]

koji
I think I just lowered my IQ by 30 points trying to figure that out. OUCH.

#420043 - 09/27/05 12:53 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Yeah, and that's the easy page. :rolleyes:

koji


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#420044 - 09/27/05 01:01 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by jazzyd:
Don't know about the hardest, but Finnissy's music seems quite tricky: Here\'s a page. Continued here.

What those sound like.
I just listened to the excerpt of the Finnissy piece. I would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than listen to the whole thing. :rolleyes:


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#420045 - 09/27/05 01:04 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Some compositions are best notated straight in MIDI.

#420046 - 09/27/05 01:28 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
Quote
Originally posted by John Citron:
[b] I wouldn't say that this is the most difficult piece ever, but it's sure up there in the top tier:

Busoni's transcription of the Bach Chaconne.

John
I wouldn't put it in the same league as Scarbo or the HammerKlavier. [/b]
Jon,

I wouldn't either. wink

John


Nothing.
#420047 - 09/27/05 02:02 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Max W:
I think I just lowered my IQ by 30 points trying to figure that out. OUCH.
ICK!!! So quite a metric puzzle Nancarrow has presented us with, but how does it sound?

This is the sort of thing that made me a$$ itch in musical school. Composers just creating little self proclaimed 'ingenius' novelties and puzzles and calling them compositions. (disclaimer: I have not heard this work, nor any work by nancarrow. For all I know he's a genius, and I would love this piece if i heard it)

Is the mismatched meter really necessary? Could the desired "musical" effect he's hearing in his head NOT be achieved with conventional metric notation? It strikes me as nothing more than game playing and ego gratification. Where's the music? Seems to me its not about music at all, with this sort of thing. Its about invention and brain teasers.

Again, my apologies if I've mischaracterized this particular piece, but there are countless others that fit the description.

Another thing that would put me off playing piano works younger than myself is that how do I know there's any real music here to be played? Just because some guy with a PhD and a faculty position wrote it? Playing classical allows us to approach a work with the given that there is music there to be discovered. Current works do not guarantee any such thing. And so many of them are so intentionally demanding on the pianist, that the amount of work to prepare them is enormous, and for what? How does one play an inspired performance of a not-necessarily-inspired composition?

Ok there's my rant for the day. I do understand there is some great contemporary piano literature, but I also find there to be droves of crap flooding the field as well. (To be fair, I have no idea where nancarrow fits in that continuum).


I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?
#420048 - 09/27/05 02:10 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
Quote
Originally posted by Max W:
[b] I think I just lowered my IQ by 30 points trying to figure that out. OUCH.
ICK!!! So quite a metric puzzle Nancarrow has presented us with, but how does it sound?

This is the sort of thing that made me a$$ itch in musical school. Composers just creating little self proclaimed 'ingenius' novelties and puzzles and calling them compositions. (disclaimer: I have not heard this work, nor any work by nancarrow. For all I know he's a genius, and I would love this piece if i heard it)

Is the mismatched meter really necessary? Could the desired "musical" effect he's hearing in his head NOT be achieved with conventional metric notation? It strikes me as nothing more than game playing and ego gratification. Where's the music? Seems to me its not about music at all, with this sort of thing. Its about invention and brain teasers.

Again, my apologies if I've mischaracterized this particular piece, but there are countless others that fit the description.

Another thing that would put me off playing piano works younger than myself is that how do I know there's any real music here to be played? Just because some guy with a PhD and a faculty position wrote it? Playing classical allows us to approach a work with the given that there is music there to be discovered. Current works do not guarantee any such thing. And so many of them are so intentionally demanding on the pianist, that the amount of work to prepare them is enormous, and for what? How does one play an inspired performance of a not-necessarily-inspired composition?

Ok there's my rant for the day. I do understand there is some great contemporary piano literature, but I also find there to be droves of crap flooding the field as well. (To be fair, I have no idea where nancarrow fits in that continuum). [/b]
I agree. After quick read through without the piano (I don't have a piano at work), it seems typical of the the plink-plunk squeak stuff we here a lot of today. Rhythmically it's just a game because none of the beats really intertwine enough to do anything spectacular.

Just my opinion that usually doesn't seem to count these days.

John


Nothing.
#420049 - 09/27/05 02:33 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Actually, it's quite a cool sounding piece, imo (once you figure it out).

koji


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#420050 - 09/27/05 02:39 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
Actually, it's quite a cool sounding piece, imo (once you figure it out).

koji
Any recordings of it you can post?


I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?
#420051 - 09/27/05 02:46 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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It's my only one; I apologize for the horrible sound quality (and if you think it's hard to play normally, try playing it when it's been choreographed and you're following a dancer) help


http://s46.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=314TQTL86Y2HA1F557SNR4OUHU

koji


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#420052 - 09/27/05 02:53 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Nacarrow has some interesting stuff. I heard EHpianist and her partner play a four-hand transcription of one of the player piano pieces a few months ago. It was fantastic.


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#420053 - 09/27/05 03:08 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
It's my only one; I apologize for the horrible sound quality (and if you think it's hard to play normally, try playing it when it's been choreographed and you're following a dancer) help


http://s46.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=314TQTL86Y2HA1F557SNR4OUHU

koji
Thanks! hmmm.. well, ok, i only listened to it once, which is not enough for accessing ANY piece of music.

I guess it did sound more "interesting" than I would have expected. I do maintain that the mismatched meters werent necessary, and could have been scored conventionally. Seems scoring that way made it more difficult for the pianist, but since you were the pianist, you tell me, did the way he notated it actually end up being EASIER to read, or more difficult as I suspect?

Also, was this written expressly to be a dance work with choreography? That puts it in an entirely different context (part of a larger work). Some dance music can stand alone without the footwork, some cant. Also, I may be biased here, as I also studied dance seriously.

Well, I dont like the piece on first hearing. But thats just my subjective impression. My earlier remarks may or may not apply to this work, but certainly to others.

You do have my admiration, and my sympathy, for having accomodated this piece. Thanks so much for sharing.

But let me ask you, since you know it intimately: Do YOU enjoy the piece? Do you find it an inspired composition? Would you recommend it as a work for a pianist to learn, so as to be enriched by it?


I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?
#420054 - 09/27/05 03:19 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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It wasn't expressly written to be a dance work, but the fact that it was able to be choreographed so wonderfully the way it was, lends a great deal of credibility to the work, for me.
Would have I learned it were it not required for the concerts? no. Did I enjoy practicing it? no. Did I enjoy performing it with an amazing artist by my side? Absolutely.

koji


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#420055 - 09/27/05 03:28 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Siddhartha:

And so many of them are so intentionally demanding on the pianist, that the amount of work to prepare them is enormous, and for what? How does one play an inspired performance of a not-necessarily-inspired composition?
Like I said, some compositions should just directly be written in MIDI and save every one else the pain. wink

#420056 - 09/27/05 03:44 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Was Baryshnikov the artist to whom you refer? Yes, I imagine that would have been a spectacular experience.

It had been awhile since I read your bio. I forgot you were the pianist for that dance ensemble. Ugh! to be handed a work like that with no choice. That sure identifies the true professionals. Kudos.


I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?
#420057 - 09/27/05 03:50 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Yeah, it was Misha. I knew I was in trouble with that piece when Mei-ting told me it took him about 3 weeks practicing just that for 5 hours a day to learn it.

koji


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#420058 - 09/27/05 11:53 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
Quote
Originally posted by jazzyd:
[b] Don't know about the hardest, but Finnissy's music seems quite tricky: Here\'s a page. Continued here.

What those sound like.
I just listened to the excerpt of the Finnissy piece. I would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than listen to the whole thing. :rolleyes: [/b]
That was the piece? And here I was thinking somebody recorded six kids running up to a piano in a hotel lobby and just banging on it. wink


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#420059 - 09/28/05 12:19 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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What a horrible composition. Who on earth would take the time to learn and record that trash.


- Zack -
#420060 - 09/28/05 12:26 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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the Presto Adagio.


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#420061 - 09/28/05 12:27 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
Yeah, it was Misha. I knew I was in trouble with that piece when Mei-ting told me it took him about 3 weeks practicing just that for 5 hours a day to learn it.

koji
I don't even know how you would go about putting the hands together...


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#420062 - 09/28/05 07:27 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by C.V. Alkan:
What a horrible composition. Who on earth would take the time to learn and record that trash.
It's fine if you say that you don't like it, but I don't think anyone has the right to say that the music is bad.


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#420063 - 09/28/05 01:01 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Piana Justice:
the Presto Adagio.
Which presto? Which adagio?

confused


Sam
#420064 - 09/28/05 01:50 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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I think I'm going to write a very difficult piece.
Shouldn't be too difficult. laugh

I don't claim it's the most difficult but here's something that's quite challenging (mainly due to the tempo) but very musical (IMO).

Alkan's 'comme le vent'. His metronome mark is 'quaver = 160' and the dominant note values are triplet demisemiquavers so you have to fit 6 of them into each tick for about 4 minutes.

Very impetuous tempo, but it really does sound 'like the wind' at that speed. It's a pretty funny piece too (you almost want to laugh when listening to it)

#420065 - 09/29/05 12:59 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
Quote
Originally posted by Piana Justice:
[b] the Presto Adagio.
Which presto? Which adagio?

confused [/b]
the Fantasia one in C# Minor, by Beethoven, which is really fast, that i may try to learn next year, when i'm a more advanced.


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#420066 - 09/29/05 10:36 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Piana Justice:
Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by Piana Justice:
[b] the Presto Adagio.
Which presto? Which adagio?

confused [/b]
the Fantasia one in C# Minor, by Beethoven, which is really fast, that i may try to learn next year, when i'm a more advanced. [/b]
Are you referring to the last movement (Presto agitato) of the Moonlight Sonata? If so, great piece - but hardly the most difficult ever.


What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.
#420067 - 09/29/05 11:02 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Allazart:
I think I'm going to write a very difficult piece.
Shouldn't be too difficult. laugh

I don't claim it's the most difficult but here's something that's quite challenging (mainly due to the tempo) but very musical (IMO).

Alkan's 'comme le vent'. His metronome mark is 'quaver = 160' and the dominant note values are triplet demisemiquavers so you have to fit 6 of them into each tick for about 4 minutes.

Very impetuous tempo, but it really does sound 'like the wind' at that speed. It's a pretty funny piece too (you almost want to laugh when listening to it)
Yeah, I can't even imagine how people can play it, plus theres the huge task of actually reading all the notes wink

#420068 - 09/29/05 08:28 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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I think i'm writing some significantly difficult pieces right now, i should have some PDFs up in a few weeks since now i'm back in the good ol composition classes again.

my vote for hardest piece would definitely have to be The Faeries's Aire and Death Waltz by John Stump.

(To whoever knows the piece i'm talking about)...Who wants to dare me to try and score it into Finale/Scorch and see what it sounds like!? wink

#420069 - 09/29/05 08:30 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Oy, kcoul, that piece is a monster!


Sam
#420070 - 09/29/05 09:01 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by 8ude:
Another notable mention would be Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum.
Yeah, the O.C. is really ridiculous, but it's actually not his longest or hardest work. The Symphonic Variations for solo piano supposedly takes 540 minutes and is even more consistently difficult, but I don't think anybody has ever played it.

#420071 - 09/30/05 01:22 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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no, i'm not referring to the last movement of the Moolight sonata. it's really fast. if you go to http://www.musicnotes.com/ , then you'll know what i'm talking about.


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#420072 - 09/30/05 01:35 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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what are you referring to then? musicnotes helps me not.


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#420073 - 09/30/05 10:56 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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me either - a little more help...


What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.
#420074 - 09/30/05 03:17 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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My guess is you are referring to the third movement of the Moonlight Sonata. It's the only thing that makes sense. I think you just misunderstand the term movement.

#420075 - 09/30/05 03:58 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Piana Justice, I searched that website, and found four pieces called "Adagio and Presto", by four different composers. Are you referring to one of these?


That website doesn't list any piece by Beethoven called "Presto adagio"


"Presto" and "adagio" are simply tempo markings, and they are used in many, many, many compositions. They generally aren't the title of the piece, so a number of us on this forum are a little confused about which piece you are referring to!

confused


Sam
#420076 - 09/30/05 04:01 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Piana Justice:
no, i'm not referring to the last movement of the Moolight sonata. it's really fast.
The last movement of the Moonlight Sonata (Sonata quasi fantasia in C-sharp minor) by Beethoven is very fast. And it's marked "Presto agitato".


Sam
#420077 - 10/01/05 02:52 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Since the question is "what is the most difficult", not "what is the most difficult but still quality?", i will have to say Sorabji. As far as technical difficulty goes, it's nigh impossible, but i personally think his music is crap quality-wise. To me, the BEST difficult piece is the Hammerklavier. It's musically awesome, not just technically grueling.

#420078 - 10/01/05 09:31 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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[Linked Image] just went and found this. IMPOSSIBLE!!! some of that stuff is just him making pretty patterns with notes on pages (surely?!?). NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! it can't be!!! I REFUSE to believe it (or something). Anyway, point is I'm not going to be playing THAT piece. Would love to hear it though...


laugh Geqo
#420079 - 10/01/05 09:35 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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oh dear... that didn't work out... how do i get the pic to display properly?!? but in any case... go search google for "The Faeries's Aire and Death Waltz by John Stump sheet music." take the first link you find with a .jpg extension. NOOOOOOOOOO... KCOUL058... i def dare u to test it with finale. it'll crash!! sorry for all the lines of babbling, but i am completely dumbstruck!!


laugh Geqo
#420080 - 10/01/05 09:37 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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there!! that naaaaaaasty piece of music! (i hope)


laugh Geqo
#420081 - 10/01/05 12:22 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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"Remove cattle from stage"

"Water pedal"

"Release the penguins"

"Insert peanuts"

"Balance your chair on two legs"

"Moon walk"

"Spam"

...

laugh


Sam
#420082 - 10/01/05 12:29 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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That was simply wonderful. I liked the "arranged by accident" part. Even my 9 year old got a kick out of reading all the instructions. But, pianojerome, you left out my favorite: "begin turning flame higher and higher".


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#420083 - 10/01/05 12:29 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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I have no idea how you would go about plating that, geqo.


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#420084 - 10/01/05 01:26 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
But, pianojerome, you left out my favorite: "begin turning flame higher and higher".
I think only "light explosives now ... and ... now" can top that.


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#420085 - 10/01/05 02:00 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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umm....riiiight.....

what the heck does it sound like? in the second measure youre laying your arms down across the kayboard to play it :p


Asian Invasion
#420086 - 10/01/05 02:54 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by C.V. Alkan:
I have no idea how you would go about plating that, geqo.
you wouldnt. Its a joke piece. At least I certainly hope nobody would take that seriously and attempt a performance in earnest.

There are stories of parties where VIPs like Cowell, Cage, Partsch, etc would gather and collaborate on works where each one would write a few bars, and pass the staff paper to the left, whereas the next composer adds a few bars, etc. In music school we did the same thing at a few parties (very 'dead poet society'), only we'd include more typical college party indulgences as well. smile The resulting scores looked very similar to this one above. Its novelty, and a lot of fun, but thats all.

I'm no prude, and all for experimentation and pushing the envelope, but when this sort of "composition" (while fun) is mistaken for a legitamate gesture, I think that contributes to a VERY bad name for contemporary music.

now back to the fun..... laugh

(Edit: I remember in that party piece we wrote, two performance indications that I added were "Bleed Profusely" and "Expose the most intimate part of your body you dare")


I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?
#420087 - 10/01/05 03:15 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Quote
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
Quote
Originally posted by C.V. Alkan:
[b] I have no idea how you would go about plating that, geqo.
you wouldnt. Its a joke piece. [/b]
LOL. Yes, I gathered that much. I think it was after reading the instructions to "release the penguins" and "moon walk" that I figured that one out. My comment was also intended to be sarcastic. I guess that is one of the disadvantages of communicating through a computer - it can't express voice inflection.


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#420088 - 10/01/05 03:23 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
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Posts: 1,244
Cleveland, Ohio
Quote
Originally posted by C.V. Alkan:
Quote
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
[b]
Quote
Originally posted by C.V. Alkan:
[b] I have no idea how you would go about plating that, geqo.
you wouldnt. Its a joke piece. [/b]
LOL. Yes, I gathered that much. My comment was also intended to be sarcastic. I guess that is one of the disadvantages of communicating through a computer - it can't express voice inflection. [/b]
Oh, I know, but there ARE people who DO take that seriously eek . In fact one of the music students in on our party piece totally took that seriously, and tried to stage a performance of it and everything. That same guy got totally into the Cage chance music thing, and wrote loads of pieces by rolling dice for notes, or holding blank staff paper up to the light and putting a note anywhere he saw an imperfection in the paper stock. Ridiculous. But he was serious, and thought he was writing brilliant music, and would force feed us recordings of it at parties, etc.

I think he was heinously misguided, but one must ask himself, what separates that misguided music student from John Cage's own chance music? (well, ignoring all of Cage's legitamate compositions for the purpose of the exercise :p )


I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?
#420089 - 10/02/05 04:44 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 59
geqo Offline
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geqo  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 59
Bloemfontein
must say I actually didn't look that closely at the directions. If I had, I think I might have realised that it was a joke. wow! glad that's sorted. Still... I think one day when I'm a billionaire (WHEN, not if!! laugh ), I'll create an award for anyone who plays that piece exactly according to the directions indicated. Hmmmm... penguins... "Smile and wave boys, just smile and wave"

You guys will just have to remind me 15 years from now (or so) about this idea...


laugh Geqo
#420090 - 10/02/05 12:37 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 9,868
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member
pianojerome  Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 9,868
You can keep your money, geqo. How would someone play the 24-note chord at the end of the first line?

laugh


Sam
#420091 - 10/02/05 12:44 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,337
mrenaud Offline
1000 Post Club Member
mrenaud  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,337
Switzerland
Quote
Originally posted by pianojerome:
You can keep your money, geqo. How would someone play the 24-note chord at the end of the first line?
Behold... the wonders of genetic engineering.


I have an ice cream. I cannot mail it, for it will melt.
#420092 - 10/02/05 01:41 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 309
pianomad Offline
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pianomad  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 309
USA
I've seen orchestral reductions that looked like that. A composer asked me to make a recording of his own reduction of his new work so the soloist who was to premiere it could play along. The problem was, it wasn't a reduction. It looked like every note the orchestra plays was crammed onto the page.


www.elclandestinomusic.com

"Moralists have no place in an art gallery" ---Han Suyin

"Paint's not really a great thing to bring into a museum" ---Adam Sorenson, The Shape of Things
#420093 - 10/03/05 06:45 AM Re: most difficult piece ever  
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 59
geqo Offline
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geqo  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 59
Bloemfontein
I have an alternative for mrenaud's suggestion of how to play the 24-not chord at the end of the first line. It comes from a well known children's song...

&#9834;Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes...&#9834; (and fingers i suppose)... laugh


laugh Geqo
#420094 - 10/03/05 08:00 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 13
musette Offline
Junior Member
musette  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 13
I can't believe nobody's mentioned the Allegro Largo!!!??? confused eek

#420095 - 10/03/05 11:26 PM Re: most difficult piece ever  
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 299
Piana Justice Offline
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Piana Justice  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 299
Greenville, NC
what in the WORLD has turned loose here? it looks as if someone threw up all over that thing and did a half-handed job of cleaning it up. it also looks like some wild animals running around up there or some optical illusion. *heh heh*


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