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Liszt - Ballade Ukraine


I discovered this Ballade half a year ago and really liked it (never heard someone to play it, I wanted something quiet easy and nice from Liszt), my teacher wasn't familiar with this, I learned it and played for him in lesson. He stopped me after 2 pages to say something about pedal and then said: "Don't play this anymore, this is terrible music, no wonder nobody plays it, I don't like that piece."

I was like "uhh, you didn't even heard the whole piece..."
It gave me several hours of work to learn and memorize it and make it sound good.

After few months this happened I listened this Ballade today and still like it. I think it is just matter of taste... there many nice comments on youtube..

What is your opinion? Do you like this?


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I actually think it's quite beautiful, and uses a lot of Liszt's classic techniques. If your teacher doesn't like it, there's not much you can do;, but you can always learn it on your own! Just don't practice it more than your other pieces smile


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Shaylee Offline OP
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Thanks, I already learned it, but after what my teacher said I didn't have desire to play it anymore. He said, I'm weird if I like this, so I wanted to know other opinions :-)


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Originally Posted by Shaylee
Thanks, I already learned it, but after what my teacher said I didn't have desire to play it anymore. He said, I'm weird if I like this, so I wanted to know other opinions :-)


It isn't one of my favorite Liszt pieces, but there's no reason why you can't play it for yourself if you like it, whatever your teacher (or anyone else) thinks.

I've always had my own opinions about what I like (otherwise I'd be listening to, and playing pop rather than classical music now....), and almost from the time I was able to sight-read reasonably well, I'd been learning pieces for my own personal pleasure, which I never told any of my teachers.

In fact, of the several pieces I've liked enough to commit to memory over the years and still play regularly now, only one of them had been taught to me by a teacher.


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One like blondes, other likes brunettes. This is all what I can say about your teacher. If you like it - play it. And his response was very unpleasant and ignorant for me.

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Hi Shaylee,

I've heard worse, and this has a few very nice moments. Hey if you like it, who cares what anybody else thinks?

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That's a terrible attitude from your teacher.

Learn the piece. This is YOUR journey on the piano - not your teacher's.


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I think it's very beautiful! It's a shame about what your teacher said. I bet if this piece had Chopin written on top of it instead of Liszt, everyone would hail it as genius... but that's just the way of the world, I suppose.

The thing with Liszt's music is that he was often writing with his own skills in mind; and of course his skills border on complete mastery of the instrument. What this means for everyone else, is that it often takes incredibly thoughtful playing for his music to shine through, and anything less will sound contrived and amateur-ish. This is probably the reason why nobody plays this music.


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No reason not to play it if you like it. It's definitely not one of his best pieces, but being Liszt it's bound to have some virtue to it. laugh


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Originally Posted by Jolteon
I bet if this piece had Chopin written on top of it instead of Liszt, everyone would hail it as genius...



No they wouldn't. Not everyone hails everything from Chopin's pen as genius... in fact, far from it.



"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

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For example, the first piano sonata :P

Of course, still way better than I could ever dream to compose, but it's definitely not in the leagues of the second or third sonata.

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Thanks for opinions smile I know, it's not masterpiece, but I just don't think it's that bad!


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Originally Posted by Shaylee

What is your opinion? Do you like this?


Yes. It isn't the sort of piece I would learn myself but it is the sort of piece that would be playing on my stereo while I was reading a book. Very relaxing and pretty, it is.

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I'm curious, why does your teacher not like this piece? "Terrible music" is pretty vague.

Having such a discussion with him/her about what good/terrible music mean for the two of you might actually be a very productive and thought provoking conversation.


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Originally Posted by Shaylee
Thanks for opinions smile I know, it's not masterpiece, but I just don't think it's that bad!

Of course it's not "that bad" - it's by Liszt. Your teacher's point was that Liszt wrote many better works.


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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Shaylee
Thanks for opinions smile I know, it's not masterpiece, but I just don't think it's that bad!
Of course it's not "that bad" - it's by Liszt. Your teacher's point was that Liszt wrote many better works.
That might be your point, but the teacher did say it was "terrible music".


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I find it an interesting example of Liszt's improvisatory skills. I can imagine it was a Ukrainian melody that Liszt heard, and just kept playing over and over, adding different riffs from his bag of tricks.


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Originally Posted by currawong
That might be your point, but the teacher did say it was "terrible music".

Oh dear. Perhaps not 'terrible music', but gawd awfully dull. What a shame Liszt used the word 'Ballade'; I was expecting something on the level of his B minor masterpiece, but no such luck.

It is well known here that Liszt is one of my TOP composers, and considering all the incredible music from Liszt's pen, I might politely ask why one would waste their valuable time with something which IMO comes off as so routine and stillborn.

Did Liszt even write this? Most likely -amongst the banalities there is the occasional and unmistakable Lisztian 'fingerprint'- but it is also possible that one of his students could have written it.

Whatever, go for it! cool (At least I have now heard the piece.)


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I have a couple musical guilty pleasures that may not be "great" works by any means, too. laugh

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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I have a couple musical guilty pleasures that may not be "great" works by any means, too. laugh

But 'guilty pleasures' become a secret part of our life, we do not apologize, and thank-you, I'll have another round of the Warsaw Concerto. laugh

But this Liszt piece is no guilty pleasure for me, it is as uninspired as that awful Hungarian Fantasy.

In my world, the Gods sometimes stumble. (But of course on Mt Olympus they have other priorities than worrying about ME!)

Isn't life fun? laugh



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