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Piano Concerto Grand Ranking

Posted By: achoo42

Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 12:27 AM

Factors taken into account include technical difficulty, staminal difficulty, interpretative difficulty, difficulty of synchronization with ensemble, and it is vaguely sorted by difficulty within their classes from top to bottom.

I don’t have real playing experience with a large amount of the pieces here so I would really appreciate feedback on placement. Even if you don't like lists like these I hope you can explore some new repertoire since I've tried to include many lesser-known concertos smile

Extraordinarily Difficult
Sorabji Concerto per suonare da me solo
Sorabji Concertos
Busoni Concerto
Messiaen Des Canyons aux Étoiles
Barber Concerto
Alkan Solo Concerto
Carter Concerto
Ives Emerson Concerto
Ginastera Concerto No.1
Rautavaara Concerto No.1
Lutoslawski Concerto
Ligeti Concerto
Rautavaara Concerto No.2
Corigliano Concerto
Cage Concert for Piano and Orchestra

Ridiculously Difficult:
Vine Piano Concerto
Ginastera Concerto No.2
Bartok Concerto No. 2
Prokofiev Concerto No.2
Xenakis Palimpsest
Babbitt Concerto
Bartok Concerto No.1
Messiaen Oiseaux Exotiques
Bortkiewicz Concerto No.2
Strauss Burlesque
Rachmaninov Concerto No.3
Busoni Indian Fantasy
Tveitt Aurora Borealis
Scriabin Prometheus or the Poem of Fire
Perle Piano Concerto No. 1
Korngold Left Hand Concerto
Perle Piano Concerto No. 2
Rozycki Concerto No.1
Kapustin Concerto No.6
Ravel Left Hand Concerto

Extremely Difficult:
Tchaikovsky Concerto No.1
Marx Concerto
Atterberg Concerto
Ireland Concerto
Kapustin Concerto No.5
Brahms Concerto No.2
Rachmaninov Concerto No.1
Lyapunov Concerto No.1
Rubinstein Piano Concertos
Penderecki Concerto
Lyapunov Concerto No.2
Medtner Concerto No.1
Medtner Concerto No.3
Bortkiewicz Concerto No.3
Medtner Concerto No.2
Bliss Piano Concerto
Brahms Concerto No.1
Rachmaninov Concerto No. 4
Schoenberg Concerto
Liebermann Concerto No.2
Liebermann Piano Concerto No.1
Vaughan-Williams Concerto
Liszt Totentanz
Bortkiewicz Concerto No.1
Moszkowski Piano Concerto No.2
Coff Concerto No.3

Very Difficult
Tchaikovsky Concerto No.2
Rimsky-Korsakov Concerto
Ravel Concerto in G
Tchaikovsky Concerto No.3
Prokofiev Concerto No.3
Chen Er Huang
Macdowell Piano Concerto No.1
Macdowell Piano Concerto No.2
Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini
Kapustin Concerto No.4
Schnittke Piano Concerto
Jaëll Concerto No.1
Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Winds
Liszt Concerto No.2
Debussy Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra
Rautavaara Concerto No.3
Prokofiev Concerto No. 4
Scriabin Concerto
Xinghai Yellow River Concerto
Rachmaninov Concerto No.2
Stenhammar Piano Concerto
Franck Variations
Liszt Concerto No.1
Chopin Concerto No.2
Bronsart Concerto
Chopin Concerto No.1
Kapustin Concerto No.3
Reinecke Concerto No.1
Moszkowski Piano Concerto No.1
Britten Diversions for Piano Left Hand and Orchestra
Reinecke Concerto No.2
Prokofiev Concerto No. 5
Khachaturian Piano Concerto
Bartok Concerto No.3
Alkan 3 Concerti da Camera
Balakirev Piano Concerto
Schumann Concerto in A Minor

Difficult:
Saint-Saens Concerto No.3
Beethoven Concerto No.4
Hummel Concerto No.2
Kapustin Concerto No.2
Adams Century Rolls
Beethoven Concerto No.5
Poulenc Concerto
Saint-Saens Concerto No. 2
Mendelssohn Concerto No.2
Moscheles Concertos
Saint-Saens Concerto No.5
Massanet Concerto
Dvorak Piano Concerto
Saint-Saens Concerto No.4
Beethoven Concerto No.3
Mozart Concerto No.20
Mendelssohn Piano Concerto
Weber Konzertstück for Piano and Orchestra
Arensky Concerto
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Prokofiev Concerto No.1
Chopin Andante Spinato et Grande Polonaise Brillante
Gershwin Concerto in F
Grieg Concerto
Mozart Concerto No.27
Mozart Concerto No.15
Mozart Concerto No.17
Busoni Early Concerto
Mozart Concerto No.22
Mozart Concerto No.25
Janacek Concertino
Yoshimatsu Memo Flora
George Gershwin Variations on the theme of "I Got Rhythm"
Shostakovich Concerto No.1

Less Difficult:
Shostakovich Concerto No.2
Ustvolskaya Concerto
Nyman "The Piano Concerto"
Scott Early One Morning
Mozart Concerto No.21
Mozart Concerto No.23
Mozart Concerto No.16
Mozart Concerto No.26
Mozart Concerto No.19
Haydn Concerto No.11
Beethoven Concerto No. 2
Kabalevsky Piano Concerto No.2
Emerson Piano Concerto No.1
Kabalevsky Piano Concerto No.1
Beethoven Concerto No. 1
Kabalevsky Piano Concerto No.3
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 01:26 AM

I have to ask: What's the point?

Regards,
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 02:09 AM

To be honest, I find it difficult to believe that the OP has listened to all these over 125 concerti, no less tried them out on a piano or become familiar enough with them to evaluate their interpretive difficulty.
Posted By: PianoYos

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 02:23 AM

Rankings aside, I think if anything it's a nice list to discover more new music. Some of these composers I didn't know ever wrote a piano concerto, others I've never even heard of.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 02:50 AM

Originally Posted by pianoloverus
To be honest, I find it difficult to believe that the OP has listened to all these over 125 concerti, no less tried them out on a piano or become familiar enough with them to evaluate their interpretive difficulty.

Make no mistake, I have listened to all of these pieces thoroughly, but I've only played perhaps a quarter of them all the way through, and even less in concert. I don't claim to have such a vast repertoire as to be able to make a completely accurate appraisal of these pieces. That's why I included at the beginning: "I don’t have real playing experience with a large amount of the pieces here so I would really appreciate feedback on placement. Even if you don't like lists like these I hope you can explore some new repertoire since I've tried to include many lesser-known concertos." I'm hoping that people can work together to make the list more accurate and comprehensive.

Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 02:55 AM

Originally Posted by BruceD
I have to ask: What's the point?

Regards,


I'm sure many people would appreciate being exposed to new music or gauging what kind of music can be in their repertoire without having to play through all of it.

For example, if one is currently able to play Rachmaninov's Second and they want to aim for another work at a similar level, they can use the list as a reference point to pick a piece to listen/read through in order to find out if it fits for them. If a piece that they've chosen doesn't, then they have a myriad of options to try reading next. When picking a new piece, it is much more difficult to blindly pick and choose and perhaps waste time on a piece that is not anywhere in the same level as the player.

Also, that is why it is important that this list be as accurate as possible. I don't claim to be any sort of expert so I would definitely appreciate feedback on what could be a better placement for works in this list (especially the more obscure ones).
Posted By: pianoloverus

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 10:45 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
To be honest, I find it difficult to believe that the OP has listened to all these over 125 concerti...
Make no mistake, I have listened to all of these pieces thoroughly...
Wow!
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 11:25 AM

Why is Prokofiev 3 in a lower difficulty ranking than Liszt's Totentanz? The Prokofiev has bits in it that are widely regarded as unplayable. Almost nobody plays the last movement as written.
Posted By: Hakki

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 01:54 PM

Thank you achoo42 !
Posted By: argerichfan

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 09:35 PM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
Why is Prokofiev 3 in a lower difficulty ranking than Liszt's Totentanz? The Prokofiev has bits in it that are widely regarded as unplayable. Almost nobody plays the last movement as written.

I know which part you mean, and one of my piano teachers had some deliciously vulgar comments about it.

One hesitates to criticize Prokofiev's piano writing, but considering the effect he was going for, the same thing can be accomplished with a simple (and safer) re-write, for example Argerich's many videos wherein you can see exactly what she is doing, and not doing.

Prokofiev recorded his concerto 11 years after its premiere and I do wonder if he still played that passage the same way.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 09:57 PM

Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Why is Prokofiev 3 in a lower difficulty ranking than Liszt's Totentanz? The Prokofiev has bits in it that are widely regarded as unplayable. Almost nobody plays the last movement as written.

I know which part you mean, and one of my piano teachers had some deliciously vulgar comments about it.

One hesitates to criticize Prokofiev's piano writing, but considering the effect he was going for, the same thing can be accomplished with a simple (and safer) re-write, for example Argerich's many videos wherein you can see exactly what she is doing, and not doing.

Prokofiev recorded his concerto 11 years after its premiere and I do wonder if he still played that passage the same way.

I've played the Prokofiev concerti and I'm assuming that you guys are referring to the runs towards the end that pretty much everyone plays as quasi-glissandi? I suppose it would be very difficult to play it as written but most pianists get close enough with a much easier technique (as argerichfan mentions) and thus I don't really consider it as a very difficult section.

Also, I've changed the list significantly since it's inception but there's no edit button on original posts? Brahms 2nd should be one level higher and the Ravel concertos one level lower.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/25/19 09:58 PM

Originally Posted by argerichfan

I know which part you mean, and one of my piano teachers had some deliciously vulgar comments about it.

One hesitates to criticize Prokofiev's piano writing, but considering the effect he was going for, the same thing can be accomplished with a simple (and safer) re-write, for example Argerich's many videos wherein you can see exactly what she is doing, and not doing.

Prokofiev recorded his concerto 11 years after its premiere and I do wonder if he still played that passage the same way.


Natalia Trull did it as written in the 1986 Tchaikovsky final. Maybe it's from knowing the passage and how hard it is, but it looks very impressive!

I heard Argerich play it in Berlin a couple of months ago. After all my years as a fan of hers, I was gobsmacked. I didn't actually know how good she was.
Posted By: Hatchestron

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/26/19 09:28 AM

The fact that you have the Dvorak concerto listed in the second from last category demonstrates you really haven't a clue!
Posted By: Hatchestron

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/26/19 06:18 PM

You have also omitted Mozart K491 which has a good claim to be the finest piano concerto written by anybody (I would probably vote for Beethoven 4 for that distinction, but only by a tiny margin ahead of K491!) Also, K467 is extremely hard and well ahead of K488 for technical difficulty...
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/26/19 06:26 PM

For any classification like this one to be discussed , you would need to have a detailed list of criteria used to determine any of the factor. Like what makes a piece more or less difficult. How do you weight the different criteria; if a piece is less difficult technically but more difficult from an interpretative standpoint than another piece, what's the outcome, are they in the same category, lower, higher ? By the way how do you measure interpretative difficulty or staminal difficulty ? In short without some kind of formalized ranking methodology this looks like a personal biased ranking which is worth any other one. In any case for this type of ranking to be usefull to anybody you would need to come up with a detailed description and assessment of the various difficulties so that like you say potential future players could use it to make decisions. Without that, a raw list like this one has limited usage.

Also I think players do not make decisions based on the difficulty of the piece, but based on the style and content of the piece, so a more logical way would be to rank them within certain stylistic criteria. By the way for most of the pieces in your first category I gave up listening after a few minutes, bu then I am not a great fan of modern pseudo-classic music.
Posted By: BruceD

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/26/19 07:19 PM

I wonder - and I'm asking, rather than stating - if one criterion of whether or not one might attempt one of the more obscure works might be the availability and the cost of the score. What chance, for an advanced professional, is there to perform some of these works with orchestra if the scores are hard to come by or extremely expensive even to rent? If the chances are limited to slim, might that not remove some works from a potential performer's list? What public interest in the more obscure works would encourage or discourage one from working on one of these concerti?

That doesn't diminish the academic interest to some of such a list.

Regards,
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/26/19 11:06 PM

Originally Posted by Hatchestron
The fact that you have the Dvorak concerto listed in the second from last category demonstrates you really haven't a clue!


I might not have a clue about some of the more obscure works on here, but I've personally played the original version of the Dvorak concerto and it's Beethoven difficulty, nothing more.

Have you played it yourself? Or are you just riding off the words of (admittedly legendary) pianist Leslie Howard when he says it's difficult than all the Liszt he's played? You ought to read through the Dvorak concerto yourself and you too will discover that it is nothing in comparison to Feux Follets, Beethoven Transcriptions, Don Juan, etc. I'm thoroughly impressed at Howard's rendition of so many fantastically difficult pieces and I'm stumped as to how he came to the conclusion that Dvorak even approaches the high-end of Liszt on a technical level.

Others have noted that it's a concerto written "for two right hands", a statement that I have found largely to be untrue except for the fact that many areas in the piece have both the right hand and left hand playing identical notes, making it actually easier to read.

Also, I apologize for leaving out many concerti (such as the Mozart you have mentioned and a number of Haydn's). It's by no means a comprehensive list and since its inception I have added many other works to it (I just can't seem to add them to the Pianoworld list since there's a limit on time for editing). I sometimes will have to rely on user input like yourself to make the list larger and better.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/26/19 11:12 PM

Originally Posted by Sidokar
For any classification like this one to be discussed , you would need to have a detailed list of criteria used to determine any of the factor. Like what makes a piece more or less difficult. How do you weight the different criteria; if a piece is less difficult technically but more difficult from an interpretative standpoint than another piece, what's the outcome, are they in the same category, lower, higher ? By the way how do you measure interpretative difficulty or staminal difficulty ? In short without some kind of formalized ranking methodology this looks like a personal biased ranking which is worth any other one. In any case for this type of ranking to be usefull to anybody you would need to come up with a detailed description and assessment of the various difficulties so that like you say potential future players could use it to make decisions. Without that, a raw list like this one has limited usage.

Also I think players do not make decisions based on the difficulty of the piece, but based on the style and content of the piece, so a more logical way would be to rank them within certain stylistic criteria. By the way for most of the pieces in your first category I gave up listening after a few minutes, bu then I am not a great fan of modern pseudo-classic music.


Good question. I have the way I measure difficulty outlined here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1W1JU3ZptwH6FVbJ3pCztEW4B4cVmTsuiavU6n1fiZ78/edit?usp=sharing
However, I don't think that it is possible to measure difficulty in a formalized, objective way because it is different for everybody. I am certain that there are bits of personal bias in the ranking but I am also striving to categorize the works in a way that each entire category is attainable for somebody who has mastered/learned at least one piece in said category.

Also, it's fine for players to choose by style but none of that matters if it's too difficult for them. Thus, I put the concerti in categories so that the player can choose a piece that is right for them within a smaller margin of choices, instead of wasting time reading through works that may be far too difficult or too easy.

The pieces in the top category are definitely not for everybody, although out of these I'd say the Alkan and Busoni are the most accessible for a "normal" audience although being extremely lengthy (about 70 minutes each). For pieces that are easier to grasp onto I suggest that you try the Moszkowski, Kapustin, Bortkiewicz, and Scriabin concerti.
Posted By: BDB

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/26/19 11:26 PM

Hinson has a more comprehensive book.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/26/19 11:32 PM

Originally Posted by BruceD
I wonder - and I'm asking, rather than stating - if one criterion of whether or not one might attempt one of the more obscure works might be the availability and the cost of the score. What chance, for an advanced professional, is there to perform some of these works with orchestra if the scores are hard to come by or extremely expensive even to rent? If the chances are limited to slim, might that not remove some works from a potential performer's list? What public interest in the more obscure works would encourage or discourage one from working on one of these concerti?

That doesn't diminish the academic interest to some of such a list.

Regards,


All of the obscure works on this list are available for free on IMSLP save for the ones not yet in the public domain (generally works written after 1922 if I'm not mistaken). In that case, scores have to be purchased and if cost is an issue, it should definitely be taken into account.

However, I can't see it being much of a problem, since the only pianists and orchestras that are technically capable of properly executing some of the less-available pieces on this list are the ones that already have significant prowess and standing. Xenakis' music, for example, takes a dedicated and extremely experienced conductor as well as a technical giant on the piano. A performer who is capable of performing the works on the top list (most of which is probably not in the public domain) should already be well-known in music circles or in high demand by orchestras (people like Garrick Ohlssohn, Marc Andre-Hamelin, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, etc.) Anyone at this level who cannot access the resources to pull off a performance of these works must have been living like a recluse.

Otherwise, a performer will have no choice but to stick to older music, which can't be such a bad thing after all.

Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/26/19 11:35 PM

Originally Posted by BDB
Hinson has a more comprehensive book.

Can't disagree, but it can't be constantly updated. I think I'll have to take a look at it though, never heard of it until now.
Posted By: kbrod1

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/27/19 12:01 AM

Hmmmm, I've always thought the Tschaikovsky 2 more difficult than number 1.
Posted By: Hatchestron

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/27/19 06:35 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42


Have you played it yourself? Or are you just riding off the words of (admittedly legendary) pianist Leslie Howard when he says it's difficult than all the Liszt he's played? You ought to read through the Dvorak concerto yourself and you too will discover that it is nothing in comparison to Feux Follets, Beethoven Transcriptions, Don Juan, etc. I'm thoroughly impressed at Howard's rendition of so many fantastically difficult pieces and I'm stumped as to how he came to the conclusion that Dvorak even approaches the high-end of Liszt on a technical level.



I once recorded a radio interview with Leslie Howard in person, at a keyboard, with the score, and he made a pretty convincing case!! Also, Richter said it took him two years to learn to play it to his satisfaction.

Liszt, for all its superficial difficulty, nearly always falls very nicely under the hand. The challenge is making it work as music. The Dvorak does not fall under the hand which you seem not to have noticed. Or perhaps you have a genius pair of hands.
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/27/19 10:00 AM

[quote=achoo42
Good question. I have the way I measure difficulty outlined here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1W1JU3ZptwH6FVbJ3pCztEW4B4cVmTsuiavU6n1fiZ78/edit?usp=sharing
However, I don't think that it is possible to measure difficulty in a formalized, objective way because it is different for everybody. I am certain that there are bits of personal bias in the ranking but I am also striving to categorize the works in a way that each entire category is attainable for somebody who has mastered/learned at least one piece in said category.

Also, it's fine for players to choose by style but none of that matters if it's too difficult for them. Thus, I put the concerti in categories so that the player can choose a piece that is right for them within a smaller margin of choices, instead of wasting time reading through works that may be far too difficult or too easy.

The pieces in the top category are definitely not for everybody, although out of these I'd say the Alkan and Busoni are the most accessible for a "normal" audience although being extremely lengthy (about 70 minutes each). For pieces that are easier to grasp onto I suggest that you try the Moszkowski, Kapustin, Bortkiewicz, and Scriabin concerti. [/quote]

I have read your pages but it does not give an explanation as to how you evaluate the difficulty of a piece. What makes a piece more difficult to interpret than another one or why does it require more stamina ? On what basis and criteria did you classify ? Seems like pretty obscure.

You do measure difficulty in a absolute way since you have chosen to rank pieces which implies you consider this level of difficulty is applicable to all players. I do not disagree with the fact that some pieces are more difficult than others within a certain limit of precision, but my point is that your classification does not explain what are the criteria you use for doing so and since you have chosen to include different types of difficulty, how did you weight them ? For me I would argue that Mozart Concerto are more difficult to interpret than Messiaen or Sorabji ones even if technically they are somehow easier. So using my set of criteria I would come up with a completely different ranking. That issue also apply to most ranking system which do not explain why pieces are ranked as they are. The whole value in this process is the rationalization part. I understand that it would be a huge work to do that but in the absence of it your list is a value add compilation of pieces but the ranking part of it is purely personal and indicative.

Now when it comes to choosing a piece to play, obviously a player would choose one that he/she can play but will not look at everything that exists from 1700 till 2019; He will first narrow it down to a specific style or period and within that will start looking at which ones are accessible.

As far as pieces that are" accessible " to a "normal" audience, I hear that type of argument since 40 years; I understand that there are people who believe that their pieces are so sophisticated and complex that only a few selected chosen connaisseurs can appreciate them at their faire value and the rest of the audience have not yet reached that level of maturity. I have no issue if people enjoy listening Sorabji or Messiaen (or Boulez, Ligeti, ...) but saddly even though some of these which may be thoroughly thought through, and technically well composed the end result is they are boring and unlistenable after 5 or 10mn; and it is not a question of being easier to grasp, because music is not a scientific activity; either it speaks to your emotions or it does not. That's one reason why the overwhelming majority of concert of classic music include a marginal number of modern compositions and keep playing Mozart and Beethoven.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/28/19 08:37 PM

Originally Posted by Hatchestron
Originally Posted by achoo42


Have you played it yourself? Or are you just riding off the words of (admittedly legendary) pianist Leslie Howard when he says it's difficult than all the Liszt he's played? You ought to read through the Dvorak concerto yourself and you too will discover that it is nothing in comparison to Feux Follets, Beethoven Transcriptions, Don Juan, etc. I'm thoroughly impressed at Howard's rendition of so many fantastically difficult pieces and I'm stumped as to how he came to the conclusion that Dvorak even approaches the high-end of Liszt on a technical level.



I once recorded a radio interview with Leslie Howard in person, at a keyboard, with the score, and he made a pretty convincing case!! Also, Richter said it took him two years to learn to play it to his satisfaction.

Liszt, for all its superficial difficulty, nearly always falls very nicely under the hand. The challenge is making it work as music. The Dvorak does not fall under the hand which you seem not to have noticed. Or perhaps you have a genius pair of hands.


I assure you that I don't, but everybody's hands are different. Howard is a genius when it comes to Liszt but the Dvorak is indeed very different. Dvorak is difficult in the way that Beethoven is difficult; I can't play Feux Follets but I did not find the Dvorak particularly awkward (only a couple spots were troublesome, most of it was very playable).

Leslie Howard's word means a lot to me but hands-on experience will always be number one.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/28/19 08:56 PM

Originally Posted by Sidokar

Good question. I have the way I measure difficulty outlined here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1W1JU3ZptwH6FVbJ3pCztEW4B4cVmTsuiavU6n1fiZ78/edit?usp=sharing
However, I don't think that it is possible to measure difficulty in a formalized, objective way because it is different for everybody. I am certain that there are bits of personal bias in the ranking but I am also striving to categorize the works in a way that each entire category is attainable for somebody who has mastered/learned at least one piece in said category.

Also, it's fine for players to choose by style but none of that matters if it's too difficult for them. Thus, I put the concerti in categories so that the player can choose a piece that is right for them within a smaller margin of choices, instead of wasting time reading through works that may be far too difficult or too easy.

The pieces in the top category are definitely not for everybody, although out of these I'd say the Alkan and Busoni are the most accessible for a "normal" audience although being extremely lengthy (about 70 minutes each). For pieces that are easier to grasp onto I suggest that you try the Moszkowski, Kapustin, Bortkiewicz, and Scriabin concerti.

I have read your pages but it does not give an explanation as to how you evaluate the difficulty of a piece. What makes a piece more difficult to interpret than another one or why does it require more stamina ? On what basis and criteria did you classify ? Seems like pretty obscure.

You do measure difficulty in a absolute way since you have chosen to rank pieces which implies you consider this level of difficulty is applicable to all players. I do not disagree with the fact that some pieces are more difficult than others within a certain limit of precision, but my point is that your classification does not explain what are the criteria you use for doing so and since you have chosen to include different types of difficulty, how did you weight them ? For me I would argue that Mozart Concerto are more difficult to interpret than Messiaen or Sorabji ones even if technically they are somehow easier. So using my set of criteria I would come up with a completely different ranking. That issue also apply to most ranking system which do not explain why pieces are ranked as they are. The whole value in this process is the rationalization part. I understand that it would be a huge work to do that but in the absence of it your list is a value add compilation of pieces but the ranking part of it is purely personal and indicative.

Now when it comes to choosing a piece to play, obviously a player would choose one that he/she can play but will not look at everything that exists from 1700 till 2019; He will first narrow it down to a specific style or period and within that will start looking at which ones are accessible.

As far as pieces that are" accessible " to a "normal" audience, I hear that type of argument since 40 years; I understand that there are people who believe that their pieces are so sophisticated and complex that only a few selected chosen connaisseurs can appreciate them at their faire value and the rest of the audience have not yet reached that level of maturity. I have no issue if people enjoy listening Sorabji or Messiaen (or Boulez, Ligeti, ...) but saddly even though some of these which may be thoroughly thought through, and technically well composed the end result is they are boring and unlistenable after 5 or 10mn; and it is not a question of being easier to grasp, because music is not a scientific activity; either it speaks to your emotions or it does not. That's one reason why the overwhelming majority of concert of classic music include a marginal number of modern compositions and keep playing Mozart and Beethoven.



About Mozart, what percentage of pianists can possibly understand and learn a Mozart concerto compared to those who can do so with Sorabji? The reason why most Mozart concerti is ranked relatively low is that any halfway decent pianist has the technique to perform them. Whether they can perform them convincingly is another matter, but the fact is that so many people can try to learn it and see if it's right for them. When a pianist choses a piece they will read through the music that fits their style but they are wasting their time unless they find pieces that are within their range of technique. That is one such reason why the list exists for this purpose. The fact remains that Mozart is technically accessible for many more people regardless of their ability to play it well. If you ranked Mozart as difficult as Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, etc. because it's more difficult to interpret, you are scaring away people who could potentially play Mozart very well but have no hope of playing Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, etc.

I don't think anyone can really apply an objective ranking to the difficulty of music. I try to be objective as possible by including the opinions of as many people as possible, but at the end of the day there is no such thing as completely defined difficulty.

Also, I don't think that your conclusion in the bottom paragraph holds water when you look at the past. It was less than a century ago that the music of Prokofiev and Stravinsky was considered unlistenable and disgusting to a normal audience, but today, their music is in the standard repertoire and frankly overplayed.

Tastes change over time. Before Stravinsky, it was Wagner who was hated by many for his "music of the future", and even before it was Berlioz and even Beethoven. Some composers who used to be reviled by the public/music critics end up shaping the entire course of musical language and become immortal. Don't be so quick to assume that just because someone's music is marginalized now, they will be forgotten later. I'm not sure which modern composers will stand the test of time but I assure you that there will be some who will.


Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/29/19 04:15 PM

Originally Posted by achoo42


About Mozart, what percentage of pianists can possibly understand and learn a Mozart concerto compared to those who can do so with Sorabji? The reason why most Mozart concerti is ranked relatively low is that any halfway decent pianist has the technique to perform them. Whether they can perform them convincingly is another matter, but the fact is that so many people can try to learn it and see if it's right for them. When a pianist choses a piece they will read through the music that fits their style but they are wasting their time unless they find pieces that are within their range of technique. That is one such reason why the list exists for this purpose. The fact remains that Mozart is technically accessible for many more people regardless of their ability to play it well. If you ranked Mozart as difficult as Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, etc. because it's more difficult to interpret, you are scaring away people who could potentially play Mozart very well but have no hope of playing Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, etc.

I don't think anyone can really apply an objective ranking to the difficulty of music. I try to be objective as possible by including the opinions of as many people as possible, but at the end of the day there is no such thing as completely defined difficulty.

Also, I don't think that your conclusion in the bottom paragraph holds water when you look at the past. It was less than a century ago that the music of Prokofiev and Stravinsky was considered unlistenable and disgusting to a normal audience, but today, their music is in the standard repertoire and frankly overplayed.

Tastes change over time. Before Stravinsky, it was Wagner who was hated by many for his "music of the future", and even before it was Berlioz and even Beethoven. Some composers who used to be reviled by the public/music critics end up shaping the entire course of musical language and become immortal. Don't be so quick to assume that just because someone's music is marginalized now, they will be forgotten later. I'm not sure which modern composers will stand the test of time but I assure you that there will be some who will.




I do not see your point. The technical difficulty of Sorabji concerto does not make it any better because it is difficult. I think you whole focus is to rank and evaluate pieces of music based on their technical difficulty and so most of your top ranked are in the modern category of music. Playing a piece of music is not just being able to push the keys, it is to interpret convincingly and to create emotions. If any halfway decent pianist was able to do, we would not need top virtuoso. But obviously the reality is that it takes a lot of skills and musicianship to play Mozart. Like a great perfomer said, it is the most simple pieces that are the most difficult to play well.

Then A ranking system is not designed to scary or please anybody; it is a measurement based on specific criteria. Otherwise you start to introduce various considerations which have nothing to do with the subject. And Yes Mozart is extremely difficult to interpret properly in spite of the fact that it is technically less demanding than some others and I have listened many interpretations by top skilled pro pianists which are less than convincing.

Regarding musical language, your point can not be less true. Beethoven was considered and recognized like the greatest composer during his lifetime. Before that in the XVIIIth century people were eager to listen to new music and were rejecting old style. That’s one reason why Bach was not so popular as the new bourgeoisie preferred the new gallant style.

Wagner received acclaimed success with his very first composition and was able to create his own Theatre during his lifetime. List and chopin were admired as well, so was Brahms; Cesar Franck, Faure all had great academic carreers.

Debussy and Ravel creating a new musical language were recognized composers during their life. Stravinsky became a star before he was 30 and so was Prokofief and both received considerable success and audience. Prokofief was considered a national hero in Russia. Interesting that for Stravinsky his pieces written after 1950 are almost never played when he turned to serialism. Most of his compositions which areplayed today are from his early years or his neo-classic period.

Probably Berlioz is one of the few that did not received as much recognition though he was still able to create all his compositions and was recognized like the best orchestrator of his time. You can read his memoirs, which are quite interesting.

So all in all the so called conservatism which would prevent composers to be recognized during their life is a myth. The XIXth century was clearly more academic than the XVIII and I am not saying there was not a lot of heated debates around new creations - some critics and academics considering it like garbage - but it did not prevent great composers to play their music and encounter justified success and recognition.In our modern times people are even less academic and eager to discover new music and innovation.

So again this is another excuse for people that have no audience to justify their poor success. The reality is that a piece of music needs to be played and have an audience to make it to the posterity. The music of people like Xenakis, Cage, Ligetti, Boulez, Sorabji are not listened because they are emotionless and they are essentially technical intellectual creations or research material for a minuscule circle of initiated experts. In fact composers like Ludovico Einaudi or Nobuo Oematsu (or the Beattles certainly) have a much better chance to be remembered (not that I particularly like their music though). To be recognized you need first to be played and to have some audience, you need nowadays to use the new communication vehicle and write music which people want to listen.
Posted By: bennevis

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/29/19 04:28 PM

This is a recent piano concerto that's well worth hearing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2B4KOGyTTk

His most recent piano concerto has already been performed in several countries too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGw6QS5-tZg

This has to be my favorite contemporary concerto (for any instrument):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bNFfYTXlY4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_IylwFf0GQ

.......in nine (!) movements, lasting nearly an hour. Not a minute too long, and very eclectic (incorporating klezmer, jazz, tango....)
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/29/19 04:29 PM

Originally Posted by Sidokar
The reality is that a piece of music needs to be played and have an audience to make it to the posterity. The music of people like Xenakis, Cage, Ligetti, Boulez, Sorabji are not listened because they are emotionless and they are essentially technical intellectual creations or research material for a minuscule circle of initiated experts.


I love many modern composers, especially Xenakis and Ligeti. Their music is frequently performed.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/29/19 04:32 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
This is a recent piano concerto that's well worth hearing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2B4KOGyTTk

His most recent piano concerto has already been performed in several countries too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGw6QS5-tZg


I think Thomas Ades is one of the greatest composers of the last 100 years. He did a series of concerts here a couple of years ago, but I couldn't attend because of family stuff. I suppose that's an excuse to go and see him in the UK...
Posted By: BeeZee4

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 06/29/19 11:55 PM

https://youtu.be/WjrtnX22d_s

Esa Pekka Salonen's piano concerto, wonderfully played by LA Phil and resident artist Yefim Bronfman is worth a listen.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/01/19 11:28 PM

Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by achoo42


About Mozart, what percentage of pianists can possibly understand and learn a Mozart concerto compared to those who can do so with Sorabji? The reason why most Mozart concerti is ranked relatively low is that any halfway decent pianist has the technique to perform them. Whether they can perform them convincingly is another matter, but the fact is that so many people can try to learn it and see if it's right for them. When a pianist choses a piece they will read through the music that fits their style but they are wasting their time unless they find pieces that are within their range of technique. That is one such reason why the list exists for this purpose. The fact remains that Mozart is technically accessible for many more people regardless of their ability to play it well. If you ranked Mozart as difficult as Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, etc. because it's more difficult to interpret, you are scaring away people who could potentially play Mozart very well but have no hope of playing Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, etc.

I don't think anyone can really apply an objective ranking to the difficulty of music. I try to be objective as possible by including the opinions of as many people as possible, but at the end of the day there is no such thing as completely defined difficulty.

Also, I don't think that your conclusion in the bottom paragraph holds water when you look at the past. It was less than a century ago that the music of Prokofiev and Stravinsky was considered unlistenable and disgusting to a normal audience, but today, their music is in the standard repertoire and frankly overplayed.

Tastes change over time. Before Stravinsky, it was Wagner who was hated by many for his "music of the future", and even before it was Berlioz and even Beethoven. Some composers who used to be reviled by the public/music critics end up shaping the entire course of musical language and become immortal. Don't be so quick to assume that just because someone's music is marginalized now, they will be forgotten later. I'm not sure which modern composers will stand the test of time but I assure you that there will be some who will.




I do not see your point. The technical difficulty of Sorabji concerto does not make it any better because it is difficult. I think you whole focus is to rank and evaluate pieces of music based on their technical difficulty and so most of your top ranked are in the modern category of music. Playing a piece of music is not just being able to push the keys, it is to interpret convincingly and to create emotions. If any halfway decent pianist was able to do, we would not need top virtuoso. But obviously the reality is that it takes a lot of skills and musicianship to play Mozart. Like a great perfomer said, it is the most simple pieces that are the most difficult to play well.

Then A ranking system is not designed to scary or please anybody; it is a measurement based on specific criteria. Otherwise you start to introduce various considerations which have nothing to do with the subject. And Yes Mozart is extremely difficult to interpret properly in spite of the fact that it is technically less demanding than some others and I have listened many interpretations by top skilled pro pianists which are less than convincing.

Regarding musical language, your point can not be less true. Beethoven was considered and recognized like the greatest composer during his lifetime. Before that in the XVIIIth century people were eager to listen to new music and were rejecting old style. That’s one reason why Bach was not so popular as the new bourgeoisie preferred the new gallant style.

Wagner received acclaimed success with his very first composition and was able to create his own Theatre during his lifetime. List and chopin were admired as well, so was Brahms; Cesar Franck, Faure all had great academic carreers.

Debussy and Ravel creating a new musical language were recognized composers during their life. Stravinsky became a star before he was 30 and so was Prokofief and both received considerable success and audience. Prokofief was considered a national hero in Russia. Interesting that for Stravinsky his pieces written after 1950 are almost never played when he turned to serialism. Most of his compositions which areplayed today are from his early years or his neo-classic period.

Probably Berlioz is one of the few that did not received as much recognition though he was still able to create all his compositions and was recognized like the best orchestrator of his time. You can read his memoirs, which are quite interesting.

So all in all the so called conservatism which would prevent composers to be recognized during their life is a myth. The XIXth century was clearly more academic than the XVIII and I am not saying there was not a lot of heated debates around new creations - some critics and academics considering it like garbage - but it did not prevent great composers to play their music and encounter justified success and recognition.In our modern times people are even less academic and eager to discover new music and innovation.

So again this is another excuse for people that have no audience to justify their poor success. The reality is that a piece of music needs to be played and have an audience to make it to the posterity. The music of people like Xenakis, Cage, Ligetti, Boulez, Sorabji are not listened because they are emotionless and they are essentially technical intellectual creations or research material for a minuscule circle of initiated experts. In fact composers like Ludovico Einaudi or Nobuo Oematsu (or the Beattles certainly) have a much better chance to be remembered (not that I particularly like their music though). To be recognized you need first to be played and to have some audience, you need nowadays to use the new communication vehicle and write music which people want to listen.



I never said Sorabji was better. I said it was more difficult. A pianist does not have to have great technique in order to play Mozart well, certainly not the technique required for Prokofiev. That is why Mozart is ranked lower. Musicianship/emotion and technical skill do not always go hand in hand. What about that do you not understand? Would Schumann's Traumerei also be ranked with Sorabji because it is difficult to interpret? Also keep in mind how difficult it is to coordinate concertos like Bartok and Prokofiev with the orchestra, coordinating Mozart and Beethoven is infinitely easier.


Originally Posted by Sidokar

"The music of people like Xenakis, Cage, Ligetti, Boulez, Sorabji are not listened because they are emotionless and they are essentially technical intellectual creations or research material for a minuscule circle of initiated experts"


So by listing many of the major modern atonal composers, you're pretty much saying that music has to be tonal in order to have emotion? You're not going to get far with that one...

And your concept is incorrect, anyhow. Lots of people enjoy Ligeti, Xenakis, etc., many of their videos have millions of views on Youtube. Stanley Kubrick certainly enjoyed Ligeti enough to put it one of the most famous science fiction films of all time.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/01/19 11:31 PM

Originally Posted by BeeZee4
https://youtu.be/WjrtnX22d_s

Esa Pekka Salonen's piano concerto, wonderfully played by LA Phil and resident artist Yefim Bronfman is worth a listen.


I went to the Houston premiere of Salonen's Violin Concerto, easily one of the best 21st century pieces composed in recent memory. I will be sure to listen to his Piano Concerto.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/01/19 11:33 PM

Originally Posted by bennevis
This is a recent piano concerto that's well worth hearing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2B4KOGyTTk

His most recent piano concerto has already been performed in several countries too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGw6QS5-tZg

This has to be my favorite contemporary concerto (for any instrument):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bNFfYTXlY4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_IylwFf0GQ

.......in nine (!) movements, lasting nearly an hour. Not a minute too long, and very eclectic (incorporating klezmer, jazz, tango....)


I do like Adès a lot.
Posted By: Sidokar

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/03/19 12:08 PM

[quote=achoo42
I never said Sorabji was better. I said it was more difficult. A pianist does not have to have great technique in order to play Mozart well, certainly not the technique required for Prokofiev. That is why Mozart is ranked lower. Musicianship/emotion and technical skill do not always go hand in hand. What about that do you not understand? Would Schumann's Traumerei also be ranked with Sorabji because it is difficult to interpret? Also keep in mind how difficult it is to coordinate concertos like Bartok and Prokofiev with the orchestra, coordinating Mozart and Beethoven is infinitely easier.

So by listing many of the major modern atonal composers, you're pretty much saying that music has to be tonal in order to have emotion? You're not going to get far with that one...

And your concept is incorrect, anyhow. Lots of people enjoy Ligeti, Xenakis, etc., many of their videos have millions of views on Youtube. Stanley Kubrick certainly enjoyed Ligeti enough to put it one of the most famous science fiction films of all time.
[/quote]

There is no question that there are people who like composers like Ligetti and Xenakis. The point is that it is a small number vs what I would call the mainstream classical music. On You Tube, the fact that you listen to a video does not mean you like it; I am listening to many videos including those of modern composers, sometimes even several times and it does not mean I liked them; Then again it is a question of number; what would be the ratio of numbers of views vs the number of views of other composers ? Then it is easy on YT to go and click and then quickly zap. It is another thing to decide to spend 3 hours of time and 50 dollars or more on a ticket to go and listen to a concert. How many large classic concerts halls in a large city like NY, London, Paris, Berlin, .... have programmed full concerts dedicated to Xenakis or Ligeti vs the concerts with a more standard program ?

I think you are just eluding the point that all in all, the area of the modern classic-like but experimental type music has a marginal audience.

For Stanley Kubrick, it is not a question of liking but I guess of suitability. He also used music of Ligetti, Bartok and Penderecki in his other scary movie The Shining. When I initially listened to all these pieces of which the famous String, Percussion and Celesta of Bartok, I did not associate them at all with the content of the movie. Interestingly for the piece of Ligetti, called Lentano, Ligeti himself describe the piece in completely different terms than how SK used it in his movie. Then for a movie or a video game, the situation is different as the images provide a framework of understanding which helps to put the music in perspective. But outside the context of the movie, I would not interpret this music the same way and in fact for me it conveys a fairly undefined vagueness with some burst of light and darkness that does not generate any particular emotion. On the other hand the opposite example of a well-known movie which is Out of Africa where the main theme is composed by John Barry in a fairly conventional style is perfectly self-explanatory and stands by itself. There is no doubt that the music conveys a sense of intense lyrical and romantic nature.

Regarding the Atonal music, the subject is complex. There are many different definitions of what an atonal music is. In a very broad and generic sense, one definition is that there is no central key or tone around which a piece is organized. With that definition, all the music composed till the 17th century could be qualified as non tonal or non directionally tonal and yet it does convey intense expression and emotion. Closer to us, there are many pieces that use polytonality or pieces that starts in one key and finishes in another and they are also very expressive, like works of Charles Koechlin, Hugo Wolf, Debussy and others. Even Schubert already uses large segments in his works where the music oscillates between 2 tonalities.

Another good example are the nocturnes of Gabriel Faure which can be said to be atonal, in particular the last ones. But Faure keeps using some elements of the tonal framework while adding new components that are not part of conventional Tonal Harmony like non functional dominants, secondary dominants outside the circle of fifths; large parts of his pieces are sometimes modal or simply non directionally tonal. But the end results is a beautiful and moving music.

There are plenty of modern music, like Wayne Shorter jazz, and other compositions which are well written and expressive while being atonal.

Now on the other hand, if we take Dodecaphonism and in particular the serialism of Schoënberg or indeed the Stochastic music of Xenakis or many works of Ligeti using micropolyphony, we are facing music that is the result of an abstract mathematical process. For serialism it is using series for notes and other musical components; for Xenakis the principle is that music should reflect the natural state of chaos of nature and therefore be subject to the statistical law. So in effect Xenakis is using probabilistic algorithms to generate his music which becomes globally predictable (like a probabilistic law) and locally random. Ligeti was also using abstract components like combining together high treble and low bass notes as an effect. So you are right, for me this type of work would not even qualify as music but as research material leading to what I would qualify as organized noise. But like any product, some people may perfectly like and enjoy the end result or employed as a product in certain context like movies or games it can be of good usage.

So atonal music does not equate with emotionless, it just depends on the underlying compositional theory being used or the talent of the composer. But it does also covers many pieces which are also total failures as a musical product. There are musicians who write music, applying pragmatic musical concepts, sometimes with good success and sometimes with less, and there are also people which I would not call musicians but more sound experimentalists or organizers who fabricate sound products with various scientific theories or even algorithm. I will stop here as I think I have clarified my viewpoint long enough.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/03/19 12:21 PM

I never understood what emotion has to do with music. Maybe that's why I like Xenakis...
Posted By: Carey

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/03/19 05:06 PM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
I never understood what emotion has to do with music. Maybe that's why I like Xenakis...
So you've never been moved to tears when listening to the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony or "Nimrod" from Elgar's Enigma Variations?
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/03/19 05:29 PM

Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by johnstaf
I never understood what emotion has to do with music. Maybe that's why I like Xenakis...
So you've never been moved to tears when listening to the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony or "Nimrod" from Elgar's Enigma Variations?


Afraid not, much as I love the Enigma Variations.
Posted By: Sweelinck

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/04/19 07:48 PM

Quote

The music of people like Xenakis, Cage, Ligetti, Boulez, Sorabji are not listened because they are emotionless and they are essentially technical intellectual creations or research material for a minuscule circle...

I can’t find the reference, but I’ve read of a recital performance wherein the performer played the last piece of the program, an atonal piece, a second time as an encore to prove that the correct notes were played the first time through.
Posted By: argerichfan

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/05/19 01:43 AM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by johnstaf
I never understood what emotion has to do with music. Maybe that's why I like Xenakis...
So you've never been moved to tears when listening to the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony or "Nimrod" from Elgar's Enigma Variations?


Afraid not, much as I love the Enigma Variations.

Yeah, not everything works. Call me crazy but I don't much care for Celine Dion singing 'My Heart Will Go On'.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/05/19 03:23 PM

Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by johnstaf
I never understood what emotion has to do with music. Maybe that's why I like Xenakis...
So you've never been moved to tears when listening to the Adagietto from Mahler's 5th Symphony or "Nimrod" from Elgar's Enigma Variations?


Afraid not, much as I love the Enigma Variations.

Yeah, not everything works. Call me crazy but I don't much care for Celine Dion singing 'My Heart Will Go On'.


That gives me an emotional equivalent of nausea. I think it's one of the most annoying things I've ever heard.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/05/19 05:24 PM

Of course if I hadn't heard this over, and over, and over again in shopping centres, I probably wouldn't have any opinion one way or the other about it.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/06/19 07:43 AM

I'd bet Sviatoslav Richter probably performed maybe 3/4 of the total list laugh

I really don't care too much for rankings of difficulty, though obviously I was interested enough to read this thread. I think more in terms of sound and thematic development. Beethoven's Op. 106 is very difficult, but I don't think it's difficulty just *for the sake of being difficult*. You can hear how themes are being developed throughout, and the final movement (to me) is a joy to hear. Maybe it's my "conservatism", but I'd still rather listen to Schumann's concerto Brahms's Second than the concertos of either Prokofiev or Bartók, regardless of relative difficulty.
Posted By: argerichfan

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/07/19 02:07 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen

Beethoven's Op. 106 is very difficult [...] you can hear how themes are being developed throughout, and the final movement (to me) is a joy to hear.


Funny thing about the 'consensus' of difficulties in Beethoven. The opus 106 is always trotted out as some kind of unattainable Parnassus, but Charles Rosen -surely nobody's fool- writes that the opus 57 is at least that hard.

Some years ago I asked a professor of piano at a major university -no names- if he agreed with Rosen. It was interesting. He thought for a moment, then said "you could make a case for that".
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/07/19 02:43 AM

I said it was very difficult. I think that's incontrovertible.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/07/19 02:36 PM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
I said it was very difficult. I think that's incontrovertible.


As far as difficulty goes, I think the Hammerklavier is on a different planet from anything else Beethoven wrote.
Posted By: Auntie Lynn

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 07/08/19 12:53 AM

I think they're all difficult if you're doing 'em right...
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/07/19 01:43 PM

Originally Posted by argerichfan
Originally Posted by rmns2bseen

Beethoven's Op. 106 is very difficult [...] you can hear how themes are being developed throughout, and the final movement (to me) is a joy to hear.


Funny thing about the 'consensus' of difficulties in Beethoven. The opus 106 is always trotted out as some kind of unattainable Parnassus, but Charles Rosen -surely nobody's fool- writes that the opus 57 is at least that hard.

Some years ago I asked a professor of piano at a major university -no names- if he agreed with Rosen. It was interesting. He thought for a moment, then said "you could make a case for that".


Musically, you could make a case for pretty much any mid-to-late Beethoven sonata being as difficult as the Hammerklavier.

Now, I'm a fan of Rosen and I own much of his writing but his assertion that Op.57 is as difficult as Op.106 surely disregards the sheer discrepancies in mechanical difficulty.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/08/19 01:06 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42

Musically, you could make a case for pretty much any mid-to-late Beethoven sonata being as difficult as the Hammerklavier.

Now, I'm a fan of Rosen and I own much of his writing but his assertion that Op.57 is as difficult as Op.106 surely disregards the sheer discrepancies in mechanical difficulty.


Indeed. On purely musical grounds, I think many might make a case for the Diabelli Variations, although there are considerable technical challenges as well.

However, there are parts of the Hammerklavier, such as the infamous jumping trills, that verge on the unplayable as written. Still, difficulty is personal. A particular interpretive choice can make a difficult work a formidable beast.

I think this is why so many fear Op.111. While there is nothing even remotely like an easy way to play this sonata, breathing delicate life into the closing pages with an effortless lightness of touch is something that only the best of the best can manage.
Posted By: argerichfan

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/08/19 05:07 AM

Originally Posted by johnstaf

I think this is why so many fear Op.111. While there is nothing even remotely like an easy way to play this sonata, breathing delicate life into the closing pages with an effortless lightness of touch is something that only the best of the best can manage.

True that. I think the cruelly exposed trills are what kills it for many. I've heard several live performances (not in this case by front line pianists) which were ruined by uneven or inaccurate trills at the end... a glorious journey through the Elysian fields suddenly ship wrecked on the rocks.

Some years ago I read a review of a recording of the 111 by a well recorded pianist, and the reviewer was rather incensed: why did they record this sonata if they didn't have the requisite trills? Fair enough.
Posted By: BDB

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/08/19 05:20 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
https://youtu.be/WjrtnX22d_s

Esa Pekka Salonen's piano concerto, wonderfully played by LA Phil and resident artist Yefim Bronfman is worth a listen.


I went to the Houston premiere of Salonen's Violin Concerto, easily one of the best 21st century pieces composed in recent memory. I will be sure to listen to his Piano Concerto.


Which 21st century pieces were not composed in recent memory? smile
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/08/19 01:25 PM

Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by achoo42
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
https://youtu.be/WjrtnX22d_s

Esa Pekka Salonen's piano concerto, wonderfully played by LA Phil and resident artist Yefim Bronfman is worth a listen.


I went to the Houston premiere of Salonen's Violin Concerto, easily one of the best 21st century pieces composed in recent memory. I will be sure to listen to his Piano Concerto.


Which 21st century pieces were not composed in recent memory? smile


Considering that I was born in 2001, anything from about 2001-2010 wink
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/08/19 01:39 PM

Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by achoo42

Musically, you could make a case for pretty much any mid-to-late Beethoven sonata being as difficult as the Hammerklavier.

Now, I'm a fan of Rosen and I own much of his writing but his assertion that Op.57 is as difficult as Op.106 surely disregards the sheer discrepancies in mechanical difficulty.


Indeed. On purely musical grounds, I think many might make a case for the Diabelli Variations, although there are considerable technical challenges as well.

However, there are parts of the Hammerklavier, such as the infamous jumping trills, that verge on the unplayable as written. Still, difficulty is personal. A particular interpretive choice can make a difficult work a formidable beast.

I think this is why so many fear Op.111. While there is nothing even remotely like an easy way to play this sonata, breathing delicate life into the closing pages with an effortless lightness of touch is something that only the best of the best can manage.



To make Rosen's case worse, we need only to look at the 3rd movement, which is arguably one of the most musically difficult 17 minutes in the entire Classical/Romantic era. One must have a superhuman sense of touch, phrasing, and that extra little "something" in order to not bore the audience and yourself.

Op.106 is, frankly speaking, a completely different species of difficulty compared to Op.57. Musically, and mechanically. I just don't see how anybody could think otherwise.

Op.111 is just a different species, period. It's such a strange sonata that many don't know what to do with it, and of course, it's also bloody difficult. Still doesn't hold a candle to Op.106, in my opinion.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/11/19 07:11 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42

...

Op.111 is just a different species, period. It's such a strange sonata that many don't know what to do with it, and of course, it's also bloody difficult. Still doesn't hold a candle to Op.106, in my opinion.

I disagree. I think Opp. 109, 110 and 111 are Beethoven's three "greatest" sonatas, and of the three Op. 111 is the most transcendent. With Op. 106 I sometimes get the feeling that Beethoven is being difficult for the sake of being difficult. Op. 106 is still a great, awe-inspiring work though. I'd rather listen to a virtuoso play it than to try it myself. It's a workout.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/11/19 07:23 AM

Originally Posted by argerichfan


Some years ago I read a review of a recording of the 111 by a well recorded pianist, and the reviewer was rather incensed: why did they record this sonata if they didn't have the requisite trills? Fair enough.


I've often thought something similar about Gould's recording of Op.57. If you hate a piece, why go through the trouble of recording it? Even as a bit of satire it's a waste of time, energy and money. And frankly that's what it sounds like.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/11/19 07:07 PM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42

...

Op.111 is just a different species, period. It's such a strange sonata that many don't know what to do with it, and of course, it's also bloody difficult. Still doesn't hold a candle to Op.106, in my opinion.

I disagree. I think Opp. 109, 110 and 111 are Beethoven's three "greatest" sonatas, and of the three Op. 111 is the most transcendent. With Op. 106 I sometimes get the feeling that Beethoven is being difficult for the sake of being difficult. Op. 106 is still a great, awe-inspiring work though. I'd rather listen to a virtuoso play it than to try it myself. It's a workout.


Ah, when I said "hold a candle" I did mean difficulty only. Of course there are sonatas that are on equal terms with the Op.106 when we talk musical value.

And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.

Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/12/19 12:00 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42


And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.


Well then that's Op. 106's weakness. The totality of the work, like Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, is imposing and mighty...and kind of hard to love.
Posted By: NobleHouse

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/12/19 12:36 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.


Well then that's Op. 106's weakness. The totality of the work, like Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, is imposing and mighty...and kind of hard to love.



I easily "love" them - both Op. 106 and Liszt's Transcendental Etudes.
Posted By: johnstaf

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/12/19 01:07 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.


Well then that's Op. 106's weakness. The totality of the work, like Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, is imposing and mighty...and kind of hard to love.


I certainly love it.
Posted By: argerichfan

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/12/19 03:21 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42

To make Rosen's case worse, we need only to look at the 3rd movement, which is arguably one of the most musically difficult 17 minutes in the entire Classical/Romantic era. One must have a superhuman sense of touch, phrasing, and that extra little "something" in order to not bore the audience and yourself.

So just to clarify the parameters, you presumably know that Rosen recorded the last five Beethoven sonatas and that they were subsequently reissued on CD? You would probably admit that he clearly knows the music.

Rosen is an odd fellow. Sometimes one wonders if he is just having fun, there are numerous points in his writing wherein I get the impression he is merely toying with our preset sensibilities. His book 'The Romantic Generation' is a very provocative read, though his (deliberately) outrageous opinions can be scathing, reference Mendelssohn. But I don't believe HE believes that. The prose is eye twinkling, very clever Charles!

So yes, it seems quite obvious to us that the intellectual difficulties of Beethoven come to a head in the later sonatas, and maybe he was just joking about the Op 57. But then again, he has played them.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/12/19 09:10 AM

Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.


Well then that's Op. 106's weakness. The totality of the work, like Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, is imposing and mighty...and kind of hard to love.



I easily "love" them - both Op. 106 and Liszt's Transcendental Etudes.

I wonder how many outside the piano world do.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/13/19 11:57 PM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


And Beethoven did indeed write the Hammerklavier to see how far he could stretch the limits of the keyboard.


Well then that's Op. 106's weakness. The totality of the work, like Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, is imposing and mighty...and kind of hard to love.



I easily "love" them - both Op. 106 and Liszt's Transcendental Etudes.

I wonder how many outside the piano world do.


As if that is relevant- how many outside of the piano world love established masterpieces like Bach's Art of Fugue, Schumann's piano suites (Davidsbündlertänze, Kriesleriana, etc.) or Brahm's Handel Variations?

In fact, outside of the "piano world" there is little loved other than the tritest of Chopin, Liszt, and Beethoven.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/14/19 12:15 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42


As if that is relevant- how many outside of the piano world love established masterpieces like Bach's Art of Fugue, Schumann's piano suites (Davidsbündlertänze, Kriesleriana, etc.) or Brahm's Handel Variations?

In fact, outside of the "piano world" there is little loved other than the tritest of Chopin, Liszt, and Beethoven.

Are you kidding? Do you know how many instrumentalists and ensembles are constantly trying to adapt The Art of Fugue and the Well Tempered Clavier? I think the difference between pieces that are somewhat "niche" and those that are not is quite relevant.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/14/19 01:53 PM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


As if that is relevant- how many outside of the piano world love established masterpieces like Bach's Art of Fugue, Schumann's piano suites (Davidsbündlertänze, Kriesleriana, etc.) or Brahm's Handel Variations?

In fact, outside of the "piano world" there is little loved other than the tritest of Chopin, Liszt, and Beethoven.

Are you kidding? Do you know how many instrumentalists and ensembles are constantly trying to adapt The Art of Fugue and the Well Tempered Clavier? I think the difference between pieces that are somewhat "niche" and those that are not is quite relevant.


Lol, so you meant the "musical world outside of piano"? And you base "loved" on how much they are adapted? This discussion has devolved into a complete mess. How can you have such certainty that the same people who adapt Bach do not have a love for music like the Hammerklavier and the Transcendental etudes? Absolutely no base in your assertions, sheesh. It's a very close-minded way of looking at people's tastes when you assume that only people who play piano or EXCLUSIVELY listen to piano music can enjoy piano music that was written to be difficult.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/14/19 08:08 PM

Originally Posted by achoo42
Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


As if that is relevant- how many outside of the piano world love established masterpieces like Bach's Art of Fugue, Schumann's piano suites (Davidsbündlertänze, Kriesleriana, etc.) or Brahm's Handel Variations?

In fact, outside of the "piano world" there is little loved other than the tritest of Chopin, Liszt, and Beethoven.

Are you kidding? Do you know how many instrumentalists and ensembles are constantly trying to adapt The Art of Fugue and the Well Tempered Clavier? I think the difference between pieces that are somewhat "niche" and those that are not is quite relevant.


Lol, so you meant the "musical world outside of piano"? And you base "loved" on how much they are adapted? This discussion has devolved into a complete mess. How can you have such certainty that the same people who adapt Bach do not have a love for music like the Hammerklavier and the Transcendental etudes? Absolutely no base in your assertions, sheesh. It's a very close-minded way of looking at people's tastes when you assume that only people who play piano or EXCLUSIVELY listen to piano music can enjoy piano music that was written to be difficult.
Lol. What I stated was fairly obvious.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/15/19 01:16 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42
Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


As if that is relevant- how many outside of the piano world love established masterpieces like Bach's Art of Fugue, Schumann's piano suites (Davidsbündlertänze, Kriesleriana, etc.) or Brahm's Handel Variations?

In fact, outside of the "piano world" there is little loved other than the tritest of Chopin, Liszt, and Beethoven.

Are you kidding? Do you know how many instrumentalists and ensembles are constantly trying to adapt The Art of Fugue and the Well Tempered Clavier? I think the difference between pieces that are somewhat "niche" and those that are not is quite relevant.


Lol, so you meant the "musical world outside of piano"? And you base "loved" on how much they are adapted? This discussion has devolved into a complete mess. How can you have such certainty that the same people who adapt Bach do not have a love for music like the Hammerklavier and the Transcendental etudes? Absolutely no base in your assertions, sheesh. It's a very close-minded way of looking at people's tastes when you assume that only people who play piano or EXCLUSIVELY listen to piano music can enjoy piano music that was written to be difficult.
Lol. What I stated was fairly obvious.


It would've been obvious had it not been so far-fetched. Have you done a survey of non-piano musicians on whether or not they enjoy the pieces in question? Because that's the kind of evidence you would require to bring credulity to your assumptions. People's tastes vary, you can't just apply a blanket assertion on the tastes of non-piano musicians just because you think difficult music is too piano-exclusive.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/15/19 11:09 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42

...
It would've been obvious had it not been so far-fetched. Have you done a survey of non-piano musicians on whether or not they enjoy the pieces in question? Because that's the kind of evidence you would require to bring credulity to your assumptions. People's tastes vary, you can't just apply a blanket assertion on the tastes of non-piano musicians just because you think difficult music is too piano-exclusive.

I didn't say anything about difficulty = "unloved". Even so I don't idolize difficulty for its own sake or brand something that might be somewhat "simpler" as "trite". You started this thread with about 6 different subjective blanket assumptions.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/16/19 12:47 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42

...
It would've been obvious had it not been so far-fetched. Have you done a survey of non-piano musicians on whether or not they enjoy the pieces in question? Because that's the kind of evidence you would require to bring credulity to your assumptions. People's tastes vary, you can't just apply a blanket assertion on the tastes of non-piano musicians just because you think difficult music is too piano-exclusive.

I didn't say anything about difficulty = "unloved". Even so I don't idolize difficulty for its own sake or brand something that might be somewhat "simpler" as "trite". You started this thread with about 6 different subjective blanket assumptions.


All of that is a bit irrelevant. The fact remains that your conclusion about the Hammerklavier and Transcendental Etudes is based on flimsy reasoning and completely unfounded. My "subjective blanket assumptions", as you so inaptly put them, are made for the sake of helping students and teachers—they aren't opinions for the sake of opinion or disparagement, as yours were.

For the record, I didn't label "simpler" music as "trite" because they were "simple". I labeled them "trite" because they were trite. As in, overperformed. Notwithstanding how simple or complicated they may be.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/16/19 10:09 PM

Originally Posted by achoo42


All of that is a bit irrelevant. The fact remains that your conclusion about the Hammerklavier and Transcendental Etudes is based on flimsy reasoning and completely unfounded. My "subjective blanket assumptions", as you so inaptly put them, are made for the sake of helping students and teachers—they aren't opinions for the sake of opinion or disparagement, as yours were.

For the record, I didn't label "simpler" music as "trite" because they were "simple". I labeled them "trite" because they were trite. As in, overperformed. Notwithstanding how simple or complicated they may be.

Oh, come on. Your rankings are absolutely subjective and reflect opinion. As for "difficulty", the precision required to play one of the 12 or so later Mozart concertos may be more difficult to achieve than the technique required to play the more "difficult" works in your list...just as in many ways it's more difficult to perform the Goldberg Variations with the requisite "purity" than the Hammerklavier. The problem is such lists are musically shallow.
Posted By: dogperson

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/16/19 10:29 PM

Come on, guys! Aren’t all rankings of difficulty subjective??? You will even find differences in assessments between professionals. Take any such list as being intended for discussion and not ‘gospel ’ your opinion may be very different......,, And move on.!!!!
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/18/19 06:13 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


All of that is a bit irrelevant. The fact remains that your conclusion about the Hammerklavier and Transcendental Etudes is based on flimsy reasoning and completely unfounded. My "subjective blanket assumptions", as you so inaptly put them, are made for the sake of helping students and teachers—they aren't opinions for the sake of opinion or disparagement, as yours were.

For the record, I didn't label "simpler" music as "trite" because they were "simple". I labeled them "trite" because they were trite. As in, overperformed. Notwithstanding how simple or complicated they may be.

Oh, come on. Your rankings are absolutely subjective and reflect opinion. As for "difficulty", the precision required to play one of the 12 or so later Mozart concertos may be more difficult to achieve than the technique required to play the more "difficult" works in your list...just as in many ways it's more difficult to perform the Goldberg Variations with the requisite "purity" than the Hammerklavier. The problem is such lists are musically shallow.


Shallow, I agree, but useful. Musicality is beside the point.

You surely agree that the number of students who have the POTENTIAL to play a good Mozart concerto are way more numerous than the students who can play the Tchaikovsky. This is not to say that it is easier to interpret the Mozart well, it's just that it requires less mechanical ability to play the right notes.

What is the point of ranking the Mozart concerti high because they are hard to interpret? To tell people, "Oh, you have the mechanical ability to play it, but you probably shouldn't because musically it's too difficult"? That's nonsense. Rank them lower because they are mechanically easier, so people are more encouraged to try it and if they find out they do indeed have the touch for Mozart, then good for them. If it's ranked high then why would anybody bother in the first place?

So in this way, these lists are subjective but more applicable than you think. I do have an understanding of the technique that go into these concerti. There may be slight disagreements but they don't hurt the list's overall integrity.

Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/18/19 06:18 AM

Furthermore, Mozart also doesn't get to be more "difficult" just because hitting the right notes all the time is more important than, say, in a Liszt concerto. Every piece is meant to be played perfectly, it's just that a convincing Liszt performance can do with a few wrong notes here and there because they are often masked with pedal or large chords (not common in Mozart). Learning Mozart still requires less technical ability. The majority of technique required in Mozart (smooth scales, clean phrasing, consistent tone quality, etc.) are the basic backbone of what every good pianist should possess.

It is true that many technically gifted artists cannot play Mozart well (Hamelin, Lang Lang, et al.), but that has nothing to do with the difficulty of the piece itself because it's clear that these aforementioned artists have the POTENTIAL to play Mozart well—yet they don't. At least, not to the liking of critics. That's completely a problem with the artist and not a technical problem with the piece. I'm not a fan of Glen Gould's Appassionata, does that mean the Appassionata is too hard for him? Of course not, yet that is the logic you are applying here. With that same logic you could also unironically agree with Horowitz's little joke that Schumann's Träumerei is the most difficult piece ever written.

Also, you do realize that the technique required for the 4th movement of the Hammerklavier is akin to Bach on steroids, right? The Hammerklavier is the last piece you want to use when comparing the difficulty of getting a "pure" sound, which is absolutely a must in the work's 4th movement. Use something like Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies or something (although one could make a case that the Goldberg is mechanically more difficult than some of the HR) and I won't argue.

Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/18/19 06:32 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42

...
It is true that many technically gifted artists cannot play Mozart well (Hamelin, Lang Lang, et al.), but that has nothing to do with the difficulty of the piece itself because it's clear that these aforementioned artists have the POTENTIAL to play Mozart well—yet they don't. At least, not to the liking of critics. ...
Distinction without a difference. If you can toss off cascading octaves or even tenths and fly with those chromatic scales but still can't find it in you to give a good, clean performance of Bach or Mozart, then I'd say there's a void or blind spot in the technique. Anyone with two healthy hands has the POTENTIAL.

Originally Posted by achoo42
Also, you do realize that the technique required for the 4th movement of the Hammerklavier is akin to Bach on steroids, right?
*sigh* It's nothing of the kind.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/18/19 10:43 PM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42

...
It is true that many technically gifted artists cannot play Mozart well (Hamelin, Lang Lang, et al.), but that has nothing to do with the difficulty of the piece itself because it's clear that these aforementioned artists have the POTENTIAL to play Mozart well—yet they don't. At least, not to the liking of critics. ...
Distinction without a difference. If you can toss off cascading octaves or even tenths and fly with those chromatic scales but still can't find it in you to give a good, clean performance of Bach or Mozart, then I'd say there's a void or blind spot in the technique. Anyone with two healthy hands has the POTENTIAL.

Originally Posted by achoo42
Also, you do realize that the technique required for the 4th movement of the Hammerklavier is akin to Bach on steroids, right?
*sigh* It's nothing of the kind.


I fail to see your logic here. A void in technique means that the person doesn't have the potential to play it...yet. What is a person doing playing Tchaikovsky concerti when they don't have the basics down? That's a problem with the artist, not with my list. Any serious pianist should perfect the basics before moving on to virtuosic technique.

And of course you twist the meaning of the word "potential" when you know exactly what I mean. Do you want me to use the word "ability", or "technique"? Please don't argue semantics here.

Furthermore, your implication that playing Bach counterpoint requires an entirely different set of skills than Beethoven counterpoint is completely baffling. Beethoven's counterpoint here is entirely derived from Bach, and even if they don't sound similar, what makes the Beethoven so difficult is that a lot of Bach must be applied into the touch and control of the sound. I've played the Goldberg, Italian Concerto, etc. and the similarities to me seem far more than differences.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/18/19 10:56 PM

Originally Posted by achoo42


I fail to see your logic here. A void in technique means that you don't have the potential to play it...yet. Of course you twist my meaning of the word "potential" when you know exactly what I mean. Do you want me to use the word "ability", or "technique"? Please don't argue semantics here.
A "void in technique" doesn't mean you don't have the *capability* to do such and such. It means you haven't nailed that facet down. As I said, anyone with two healthy hands has the capability.

Originally Posted by achoo42
And your implication that playing Bach counterpoint requires an entirely different set of skills than Beethoven counterpoint is completely baffling. Beethoven's counterpoint here is entirely derived from Bach, ...
No. If the counterpoint here were entirely derived from Bach, the last movement would be a three-voice fugue. It isn't, in its entirety. It is a "free form" fugue that is entirely Beethoven but with something of a Bachian (and Handelian) inspiration.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/19/19 12:24 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


I fail to see your logic here. A void in technique means that you don't have the potential to play it...yet. Of course you twist my meaning of the word "potential" when you know exactly what I mean. Do you want me to use the word "ability", or "technique"? Please don't argue semantics here.
A "void in technique" doesn't mean you don't have the *capability* to do such and such. It means you haven't nailed that facet down. As I said, anyone with two healthy hands has the capability.

Originally Posted by achoo42
And your implication that playing Bach counterpoint requires an entirely different set of skills than Beethoven counterpoint is completely baffling. Beethoven's counterpoint here is entirely derived from Bach, ...
No. If the counterpoint here were entirely derived from Bach, the last movement would be a three-voice fugue. It isn't, in its entirety. It is a "free form" fugue that is entirely Beethoven but with something of a Bachian (and Handelian) inspiration.


I am completely aware of that. I don't see why it makes the skillset "completely different", in your words. Have you played both?

Quasi-fugues or fughettas as seen in Liszt, Alkan, Schumann etc. are indeed very differently played but Beethoven...not so much. I suppose you could have a different ideal as to the sound of the Beethoven.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/19/19 12:37 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42


I am completely aware of that. I don't see why it makes the skillset "completely different", in your words. Have you played both?

Quasi-fugues or fughettas as seen in Liszt, Alkan, Schumann etc. are indeed very differently played but Beethoven...not so much. I suppose you could have a different ideal as to the sound of the Beethoven.

Well I would hope you are completely aware of it. And yes there are passages in other works that are quite reminiscent of Bach, particularly in the last movement of LvB's Op. 101. And yes I've played both. The big difference between them is there is absolutely NO hiding in Bach. None. The demands for precision I think are unparalleled. And with that I'm done with the topic. Best wishes.
Posted By: achoo42

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/19/19 03:23 AM

Originally Posted by rmns2bseen
Originally Posted by achoo42


I am completely aware of that. I don't see why it makes the skillset "completely different", in your words. Have you played both?

Quasi-fugues or fughettas as seen in Liszt, Alkan, Schumann etc. are indeed very differently played but Beethoven...not so much. I suppose you could have a different ideal as to the sound of the Beethoven.

Well I would hope you are completely aware of it. And yes there are passages in other works that are quite reminiscent of Bach, particularly in the last movement of LvB's Op. 101. And yes I've played both. The big difference between them is there is absolutely NO hiding in Bach. None. The demands for precision I think are unparalleled. And with that I'm done with the topic. Best wishes.


Fair enough. There's no hiding in Mozart or Bach but that doesn't make them easier to play, just easier to perform...I think we can both agree that every composer meant to have their pieces played with all the notes intact.
Posted By: rmns2bseen

Re: Piano Concerto Grand Ranking - 08/19/19 04:05 AM

Originally Posted by achoo42


Fair enough. There's no hiding in Mozart or Bach but that doesn't make them easier to play, just easier to perform...I think we can both agree that every composer meant to have their pieces played with all the notes intact.
Of course they probably "meant to" - although I don't think Beethoven or even Liszt were quite as hung up on competition-pianist "perfection" as we are. The point is that in later music a flub can be more effectively hidden behind the sustain pedal or a lot of other noise going on. In Bach or Mozart that same kind of flub is a destroyer. And now I really am done. Take care.
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