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You really ought to give Villa-Lobos a try. Try to find a copy of his Ciclo Brasileiros or Prole do Bébé Volume I. He throws all sorts of touches and rhythms at you, the full range of emotions and it's fun, fun, FUN!
PS -- my problem is that I never thoroughly *learn* any piece of music. There's so much great repertoire out there to try out...
I'll go with an oldie - comparatively speaking - Feux Follets. Especially in the 2nd version of the transcendental etudes. Rachmaninoff thought this to be the most difficult piece, too.
Agreed. I attempted the piece and managed to get 2 or 3 pages down without much trouble, but to get it up to par and at the required speed AS WELL AS playing with musicality and managing to keep a light touch is a feat indeed.
Noteworthy Completed Pieces: Chopin's Polonaise Op. 53, Fantaisie Impromptu, Etude Op. 10 Nos. 12&5 Rach's Prelude Op.23 No.5 Liszt's La Campanella (can't fit them all :/) Currently working on: Beethoven's Sonata No.7 Op.10 No.3 Chopin's Etude Op.10 No.4 Liszt's Mazeppa
Oh come on! Chopin Op. 25 No. 5. It is physically impossible not to play wrong notes in this etude. (Though, as Mark C has pointed out, for most of us all of Chopin's Op. 10 and 25 are "wrong note" etudes!)
The zombie thread that won’t die— created in 2001, but periodically raises its head again
"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin "I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Difficult to play all the notes without mistakes? Difficult to get the piece to a point where it's listenable? Difficult to interpret? Physically demanding?
Depending on which sense of difficult you go for, you'll end up with a very different list of pieces, and you can't really compare across them (though people often do).
And of course you can make any piece more difficult by simply playing it faster — every time you increase the speed of Chopin's Op. 10 No. 1 by 10% you increase the difficulty significantly, and a lot of headspinning virtuosity comes down to taking an already difficult piece and just doing it faster. But while it has its nuances, as something to be interpreted, Op. 10 No. 1 is less difficult than a Bach 2-part invention.
There are plenty of piano pieces that are essentially unplayable — as in, they are written for player piano or disklavier, etc. Still lovely pieces, but technically more difficult than anything Rachmaninov wrote. Not just for the sake of being difficult or just to torture pianists, but because at a beyond-human level of complexity, other patterns can emerge that are interesting to hear.