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Posted By: CyberGene The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 01:34 PM
While working from home, I've been listening to my new favorite Chopin Preludes set: that of Eric Lu, released on Warner just a few months ago (contending that of Marta Argerich for the first place in my heart already). And the Em prelude started, I looked at my wife and said "Isn't that the single greatest piano piece ever written!". She replied "absolutely, and so simple at the same time."

What do you think? Which one do you consider worthy for the crown? Can you take just one? Or that would be silly? smile
Posted By: Ubu Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 02:22 PM
Beethoven WoO 59.

No, just trolling.

For me it's impossible to pick any one as the greatest.

Maybe a selection wich includes the most commonly accepted greatest works. But just one piece, impossible to choose.
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 03:23 PM
Kreisler's Easy Piece is the greatest in terms of its simple beauty.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 03:32 PM
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Kreisler's Easy Piece is the greatest in terms of its simple beauty.

Hmm, is this a tongue in cheek or you're being serious? smile I did a search, couldn't find anything. Wasn't he a violin composer?
Posted By: AZNpiano Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 03:35 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Kreisler's Easy Piece is the greatest in terms of its simple beauty.

Hmm, is this a tongue in cheek or you're being serious? smile I did a search, couldn't find anything. Wasn't he a violin composer?
It's an old joke on PW. It consists of a single note.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 04:11 PM
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Kreisler's Easy Piece is the greatest in terms of its simple beauty.

Hmm, is this a tongue in cheek or you're being serious? smile I did a search, couldn't find anything. Wasn't he a violin composer?
It's an old joke on PW. It consists of a single note.
I see, thanks 🤣
Posted By: BruceD Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 04:54 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
[...] Or that would be silly? smile

Yes.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 05:03 PM
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by CyberGene
[...] Or that would be silly? smile

Yes.
Is it sillier than composer ranking threads?
Posted By: BruceD Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 05:10 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by CyberGene
[...] Or that would be silly? smile

Yes.
Is it sillier than composer ranking threads?

No, not sillier; just as silly. That said, perhaps "silly" isn't the word I might use, but it will do.

Regards,
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 05:15 PM
OK, how about this. You’re hired by NASA to make the music selection for the next Voyager Golden Record. There will be a few like yourself, so you’re responsible for choosing only piano music. And you need to select 10 pieces and order them because it’s a record after all and will play in sequence. Write your list and I’ll only check the first track you put wink
Posted By: BruceD Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 05:18 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
OK, how about this. You’re hired by NASA to make the music selection for the next Voyager Golden Record. There will be a few like yourself, so you’re responsible for choosing only piano music. And you need to select 10 pieces and order them because it’s a record after all and will play in sequence. Write your list and I’ll only check the first track you put wink

I pass as being unqualified to meet NASA's hiring requirements! smile

Cheers!
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 05:22 PM
Well, the earth is dying from Covid-21 and you’re the only survivor that knows something about piano music, so NASA hires you wink
Posted By: BruceD Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 05:29 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Well, the earth is dying from Covid-21 and you’re the only survivor that knows something about piano music, so NASA hires you wink

I didn't think that barrel-scraping was NASA's modus operandi! When is lift-off? How much time do I have? smile
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 05:42 PM
COVID-21 has devastating psychological effects on people which is why NASA take desperate measures. Lift-off is in a few hours, as we all know 😁

(Thanks for at least bumping the thread 🤣)
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 05:43 PM
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Kreisler's Easy Piece is the greatest in terms of its simple beauty.

Hmm, is this a tongue in cheek or you're being serious? smile I did a search, couldn't find anything. Wasn't he a violin composer?
It's an old joke on PW. It consists of a single note.
I see, thanks 🤣
Kreisler the name used by PW member and bonafide terrific composer Jason Sifford. Unfortunately, I can't find a link to the score of this of clever little joke piece. The cleverness is related to the extensive markings the piece.
Posted By: chopinetto Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 06:44 PM
Chopsticks.
Posted By: Bosendorff Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 06:44 PM
It depends what's the goal. Stephen Hawking was terrified at the idea that the 1977 record could be found by an extraterrestrial civilization, since obviously if they could then visit us they would be so advanced technologically that they could easily annihilate humans and colonize Earth. So I would actually choose a very scary piece from Prokofiev or Ligeti so that they never dare come here.
Posted By: petebfrance Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 06:48 PM
I find that it occasionally happens that a piece of music strikes me as the 'perfect (insert piano, violin, pop-music) piece' and the feeling at the time is genuine enough; but it does usually pass. At one time I thought a Scriabin prelude was, another a simple piece by Alkan (not many simple pieces by him I'd imagine) and of course Chopin, Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven have been in there too (as has Blondie, btw) - oh, and the César Franck symphony, some Delius and so on. I mention the Franck symphony because it's often short works that evoke that feeling - perfect within themselves, they say what they want to say succinctly and yet manage to give that feeling or perfection, but the Franck symphony (which I haven't listened to for ages) appealed in that way at that time, as have other longer pieces ( a dose of Sibelius works wonders!).
Interesting that both you and your wife thought so all the same time, though.
Posted By: bennevis Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 07:24 PM
Originally Posted by Bosendorff
It depends what's the goal. Stephen Hawking was terrified at the idea that the 1977 record could be found by an extraterrestrial civilization, since obviously if they could then visit us they would be so advanced technologically that they could easily annihilate humans and colonize Earth. So I would actually choose a very scary piece from Prokofiev or Ligeti so that they never dare come here.
I don't think that will be a problem, because humans are far more capable of self-annihilation (and will self-annihilate) than any alien invasion, long before they invade us. But the nearest planet outside the Solar System is over four light years away, so unless those aliens have discovered Star Trek's warp speed, we're safe from their invasion for now. (But they don't have access to Star Trek's technology anyway. yippie)

By the time the green aliens with four eyes and three noses and two suckers (- they only ingest slimy food) arrive on Earth, we'll be back in the era of primeval slime and legless insects. And, of course, coronaviruses. (I say "we", but of course Homo sapiens will long have extincted itself).

Oh, I forgot: those green aliens will find, buried beneath ten feet of slime, a pristine copy of Opus Clavicembalisticum, the only survivor of human's musical history. A fitting survivor, because it's the greatest piano work known to man or beast thumb.

And the copy will be pristine, because nobody could play the beast, so it had remained in its non-biodegradable plastic wrapper, waiting for its eventual discovery by green aliens.........
Posted By: dogperson Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 07:58 PM
Bennevis
Jonathon Powell has performed the opus at least three times and I believe just issued a recording of it.
Posted By: bennevis Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 08:15 PM
Originally Posted by dogperson
Bennevis
Jonathon Powell has performed the opus at least three times and I believe just issued a recording of it.
Yes, but he's not a normal pianist like us (who buy volumes of magnum opuses to admire on our shelves, waiting for the magical day - which never arrives - when we'll actually be able to play them..... cry).

I have the marvellous CD recording by the late, great John Ogdon, which is as tiring to listen to as it is to attempt to read through the score........
Posted By: johnstaf Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 08:32 PM
I think the Diabelli Variations is my favourite work, although the Fughetta by itself is a contender.



Also Variation 20.



They make more sense in context.
Posted By: hawgdriver Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 09:39 PM
My preference would be D960, but I like OP's choice. smile
Posted By: Steve.L Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 09:39 PM
Impossible to choose, but if you put a gun to my head, I'd probably say the Bach-Busoni Chaconne transcription.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 09:51 PM
Originally Posted by Steve.L
Impossible to choose, but if you put a gun to my head, I'd probably say the Bach-Busoni Chaconne transcription.
Yeah, that’s also a good contender to me.
Posted By: Orange Soda King Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 10:57 PM
Hey if I do the NASA thing, I’ll go with each of Gould’s Bach Goldberg Variations recordings.
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/27/20 11:06 PM
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Hey if I do the NASA thing, I’ll go with each of Gould’s Bach Goldberg Variations recordings.
I am reading the Gould bio called Wondrous Strange and have just gotten to the point where Gould first recorded that piece.
Posted By: johnstaf Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 08:57 AM
Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
Hey if I do the NASA thing, I’ll go with each of Gould’s Bach Goldberg Variations recordings.

In their consultations before the music for the gold Voyager disc was made, one of the contributors suggested sending JS Bach would be boasting.
Posted By: Ubu Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 11:59 AM
It says a lot about JS Bach genius that talking about greatest piano piece ever so many people picks some of his works, althoug he didn't write them for piano, nor even the piano existed until he was a grown man, and even then it was still at the early stages of its development.
Posted By: scriabinfanatic Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 12:08 PM
For me, the "greatest piano piece ever" is the Griffes Sonata. And it has the added bonus of satisfying Bosendorff's "scary" criterion, to keep the aliens at bay!

BTW: Chinese sci-fi author Cixin Liu wrote an excellent trilogy ("The Three-Body Problem") that plays on that idea where a civilization should NOT reveal itself to outsiders, because of the danger of being seen as a potential future rival -- resulting in a preemptive annihilation by the superior beings.
Posted By: KlinkKlonk Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 12:27 PM
Would Aliens perceive music the same way we do? Overtone series is universal I guess.

Best piece: Ravel G Concerto
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 12:41 PM
Originally Posted by KlinkKlonk
Would Aliens perceive music the same way we do? Overtone series is universal I guess.

Best piece: Ravel G Concerto

Yes, the middle part might also be among my top contenders, next to the Chopin's Em prelude, Bach's Cmaj prelude from WTC1 and the Bach-Busoni Chaconne. I'm tempted to also consider the Gm Ballade by Chopin. However these are all different types of compositions. The preludes are very concise, self-contained (and can I say non-contextual?) pieces, whereas the ballade, the concert and the chaconne are a bit more context-loaded pieces.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 01:29 PM
Originally Posted by scriabinfanatic
For me, the "greatest piano piece ever" is the Griffes Sonata. And it has the added bonus of satisfying Bosendorff's "scary" criterion, to keep the aliens at bay!
Never heard Griffes before. Listened to the sonata. Hmm, well, OK, whatever wink
Posted By: johnstaf Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 02:35 PM
The slow movement of Beethoven's 5th piano concerto.
Posted By: BeeZee4 Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 02:36 PM
And what would be the criteria for "the greatest piano piece ever"? Judging from your selection of the e minor prelude, would it be simplicity, brevity, ease of playing, satisfied listening or just one's emotional response? Chopin's a minor Mazurka, op. 17 #4 would elicit the same response in me. Gladly I would care not to categorize any piano piece in that fashion, as one's mood can fluctuate at a given time. Such is the beauty of diversity.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 02:59 PM
Originally Posted by BeeZee4
And what would be the criteria for "the greatest piano piece ever"? Judging from your selection of the e minor prelude, would it be simplicity, brevity, ease of playing, satisfied listening or just one's emotional response? Chopin's a minor Mazurka, op. 17 #4 would elicit the same response in me. Gladly I would care not to categorize any piano piece in that fashion, as one's mood can fluctuate at a given time. Such is the beauty of diversity.

Actually I wanted spontaneous responses smile This thread is apparently not asking a serious question. As already discussed, seeking for "best", for "ranking order" isn't anything else but just an emotional time-out exercise for classical piano lovers. Which is why I just wanted to hear rather knee-jerk responses, without any particular rules or explanations, anyone is free to interpret the question of what is great in any way he deems appropriate. I will probably say the Em prelude today, tomorrow I might say a Chopin's Ballade, next week it could be a Bach's Fugue or who knows what, so even I realize it's so inconsistent... Anyway, didn't exactly work but the thread is still alive it seems smile

So, basically I agree with your reply and that of another person above about how one can answer differently to the same question every day. I'd be glad if people respond every day with a different answer wink

And BTW, I LOVE the a-minor Mazurka, yes! I will certainly consider it the "single greatest piano piece" some other day. Cheers!
Posted By: Bosendorff Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 03:50 PM
Originally Posted by scriabinfanatic
For me, the "greatest piano piece ever" is the Griffes Sonata. And it has the added bonus of satisfying Bosendorff's "scary" criterion, to keep the aliens at bay!
Never heard that piece before, I found it interesting. Oh and I'm thinking also, to scare the aliens, someone could compose a piece based on a drastic modification of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind famous 5-note melody, let's say using tritones and minor seconds instead of the lovely major tones. Or even better, Aimard playing this Ligeti piece : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoLam2O3gtY.
Posted By: CyberGene Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/28/20 03:58 PM
Originally Posted by johnstaf
The slow movement of Beethoven's 5th piano concerto.
Yeah, it's indeed a majestic movement! I can also add the slow movement of Mozart's 23rd concerto.
Posted By: Wry Guy Re: The greatest piano piece ever? - 05/31/20 04:04 PM
If we try to take this question objectively, the answer will be something like Beethoven's "Fur Elise," perhaps the most widely played and widely recognized piano piece ever written.

However, piano snobs will scoff at such a reasonable suggestion, so I'm going to go with a slightly different angle: I nominate "Mr. Frog Is Full Of Hops" by John W. Schaum. That little ditty is unforgettable, am I wrong? It has brought countless thousands of youngsters into the fold over the last 80 years, and by all indications it will continue to do so indefinitely.
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