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Originally Posted by ChristoVanRensburg
Personally if I have to talk about the great composers that you've mentioned I would like a program dedicated to any one of them including Rachmaninov, but for me the program would have include at least one major set of variations/sonata.

I tend to like extended forms over short pieces, although I like both. But I need the drama, structure, unity and whatever else comes with something like a Sonata. With Brahms for example a recital which includes either of the first two Sonatas (I'm not such a fan of the third) would be great with whatever other Brahms fillers, but a whole recital with for instance Op. 117, 118 and 119 would drive me mad.
Yes. I also don't like a recital with a long string of only shorter pieces and most pianists don't plan a program like that. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed but was not thrilled by the performance of all 24 Rach Preludes. The pianist was terrific but not quite as good/interesting as Pletnev.

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Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
Couperin, Haydn, Grieg, Webern
I think few would consider any of these, with the possible exception of Haydn, great composers for the piano. Excellent perhaps but IMO not great.

An all Haydn program might be OK as long as it was not composed only of sonatas. But since Haydn is considered somewhat easier than most other great composers I doubt any major pianist would program an entire recital of his works.

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Well, Grieg was a great miniaturist, which would be tiresome for long stretches of programming.

Late Haydn sonatas are wonderful, along with the Variations in F Minor and the Fantasy in C Major. Again, hard to consider a whole recital.

Really, I don't like the entire All-So&So programming gimmick. I'd rather hear more variety. The All-This-or-That album seems to sell, though. Like all the Chopin Etudes, all the Beethoven Sonatas, etc.


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For some composers, doing a piano trio or lieder on the same program as solo piano works would be nice, but marshaling such forces beyond certain festivals or concert series would be difficult, and there's the ego thing. grin


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Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
Really, I don't like the entire All-So&So programming gimmick. I'd rather hear more variety. The All-This-or-That album seems to sell, though. Like all the Chopin Etudes, all the Beethoven Sonatas, etc.
Actually, the "concept album" CD seems to be all the rage now (never knew of classical musicians flying into a rage, but there it is.......).

They contain a bit of this and a bit of that: often just a movement of a suite or sonata, followed by another movement from something else, followed by something else from 400 years later and so on. Ligeti rubbing shoulders with Couperin, Carreño with Kaprálová, Adés with Chopin, Piazzolla with Scarlatti, ending with a Bach/Busoni chorale prelude. Etc. Sometimes, there's a 'theme', but usually not. Like 20 composers on one CD, meant to be listened to from beginning to end without a break, and you wake up a better person. Or not.

In fact, the pianists even program exactly the same sequence in the concert hall as on their concept CD - check out Jeremy Denk, Vikíngur Ólafsson, among several others.

At least, if you find you don't like a piece - say, Webern's Op.27 wink - you only have to wait a few minutes to hear something you do like (like Aeolian Harp).........


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
Couperin, Haydn, Grieg, Webern
I think few would consider any of these, with the possible exception of Haydn, great composers for the piano. Excellent perhaps but IMO not great.

An all Haydn program might be OK as long as it was not composed only of sonatas. But since Haydn is considered somewhat easier than most other great composers I doubt any major pianist would program an entire recital of his works.

Of course Haydn is a great composer for the piano. He seems to have considerable popularity in London at the moment. I find an all-Haydn programme immensely attractive.

Earlier this year Sir Andras Schiff held a "Haydn Festival" at the Wigmore Hall. Six concerts on six successive evenings, Monday to Saturday. All Haydn - principally sonatas and piano trios, plus the F-minor variations, and some of the English Canzonettas. All on period instruments. This was one of my highlights of the musical year. The concerts were well attended.

Then on 9 July the pianist Roman Rabinovich will play three all-Haydn concerts, again at the Wigmore. Morning - a sonata, a quartet and a piano trio. Afternoon - English Canzonettas. Evening - recital with five sonatas. And two days previously he will play an all-Haydn recital at the Cobbe Collection.

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I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say again: All-Scarlatti recitals can work. I page-turned for Lee Luvisi a few years back when he did an all-Scarlatti recital. It was a bit on the short side, but recitals don’t need to be an hour and a half, especially when they’re free admission. It was a total of 14 sonatas.

I’ll need to go to the University of Louisville music library and see if I can dig up the specific program, because I don’t remember it, but he said he has done all-Scarlatti programs before, and the most common comment he’d get afterward was “I never expected to enjoy an all-Scarlatti recital, but that was incredible!”

As much as I am an Alkan fan, as I get older, I have a harder and harder time constructing an all-Alkan program that would be really effective.

Imagine an all-Felix Mendelssohn program… I don’t think I would enjoy that.

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Originally Posted by Orange Soda King
I’ve said it here before, and I’ll say again: All-Scarlatti recitals can work. I page-turned for Lee Luvisi a few years back when he did an all-Scarlatti recital. It was a bit on the short side, but recitals don’t need to be an hour and a half, especially when they’re free admission. It was a total of 14 sonatas.
I heard Maria Tipo play 12 Scarlatti Sonatas as the second half of a recital. The first half was the four Chopin Ballades(which I don't like grouped together). I don't know how long Luvisi's recital was but unless he played a lot of the slower sonatas, my guess is was around one hour. So for me that's more like a 3/4 recital. I do think I could love 14 Scarlatti Sonatas but I don't think I want to hear closer to 20 although I may have listened to some of the very long Scarlatti Youtube marathon recordings(not recitals) there like this one:


Here is the link to the Tipo recital. I can't believe this was 31 years ago. I see that the 12 Sonatas took around 50 minutes, so my earlier estimate of 24 sonatas seems too high as that would be around 100 minutes...much longer than most recitals these days.

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I was looking through my collection of recitals that I attended, and one of them was an entire concert of Soler sonatas played by Joaquin Nin-Culmell.

Of course, the big questions are: how long is the recital, and much did the composer write? I could definitely sit through a recital of the complete piano work of Alban Berg, for instance. (The recital where I did hear it also had Prokofiev and Hindemith, but that was a long time ago, and there may have been other music as well. I have attended a lot of recitals before and since.)


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Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
For some composers, doing a piano trio or lieder on the same program as solo piano works would be nice, but marshaling such forces beyond certain festivals or concert series would be difficult, and there's the ego thing. grin

You're talking my language. Although it's happened to a degree, I wish we could more often see a return to the 19 Century model of variety programs especially with a mix like you are suggesting.

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Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
For some composers, doing a piano trio or lieder on the same program as solo piano works would be nice...
Nice, but that would be different from an all solo piano recital that is the thread topic. But I do think that some composers that might not work so well in an all solo piano recital could work well by introducing other genres by the same composer.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
For some composers, doing a piano trio or lieder on the same program as solo piano works would be nice...
Nice, but that would be different from an all solo piano recital that is the thread topic. But I do think that some composers that might not work so well in an all solo piano recital could work well by introducing other genres by the same composer.
Mendelssohn works very well like this.

In fact, that's the most likely way one would hear a concert pianist play some of his Songs without Words, in the context of a Mendelssohn program including his chamber music (especially the wonderful Piano Trio No.1) and songs. And not a lot of people know that there's a beautiful lonesome Lied ohne Worte for cello & piano:



"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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