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Topic: Difficulty comparison  (Read 4746 times)

Offline tabris

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Difficulty comparison
on: August 01, 2005, 12:52:25 AM
Can someone rank these solo pieces from easiest to hardest overall.

Chopin Grand Polonaise Brilliante
Liszt B minor sonata
Liszt Mephisto Waltz
Liszt Dante Sonata
Brahms sonata no. 1
Brahms sonata no. 3
Barber sonata

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Offline Skeptopotamus

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Re: Difficulty comparison
Reply #1 on: August 01, 2005, 12:21:25 PM
Brahms sonata no. 3
Barber sonata
Liszt B minor sonata
Brahms sonata no. 1
Liszt Dante Sonata
Liszt Mephisto Waltz
Chopin Grand Polonaise Brilliante

Offline etudes

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Re: Difficulty comparison
Reply #2 on: August 01, 2005, 01:23:35 PM
hey skepto
your list is from easiest to hardest
btw i think technical speaking dante sonata is harder than b minor but b minor is more massive and longer
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Offline lisztwasgod

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Re: Difficulty comparison
Reply #3 on: August 18, 2005, 09:56:32 AM
This is a hard question...my PhD specialty in the field of liszt can help with the three masterworks, and the only one of those i havent played is the barber sonata, so instead of helping where i know nothing, i will only rank the other six...i apologize that my repertoire doesnt cover the wonderful barber piece!

Easiest to hardest (easiest at top to hardest bottom):

Chopin Grand Polonaise (the depth doesnt compare to the other three, though technically speaking it IS intense)
Brahms Sonata No 3 (doesnt quite compare to his ballades, which are INSANE)
Liszt Mehisto Waltz (speed is really the only issue here, but adjusting to the waltz tempo and playing the piece as a dance and not as the insanely difficult filigree of asymmetrical chords and blisteringly paced action that is also so apparent)
Brahms Sonata No 1 (Yep, this is one tough piece, but again, for difficulty with Brahms, i would try the ballades or his variations on the paganini theme ubiquitous throughout romantic piano literature)
Sorry skeptopotamus, but i can probably find a few guilliard professors to side with me on this one:
Dante Sonata (i played this WAAAAY back in early college years and forgot it note-for-note (im trying to relearn it by the way) and its a wonderful piece. Technically, this is a monster, but not nearly as complete in the technical sense as its b minor counterpart. difficulty of ten is easily a 9+...however, its difficulty when compared to the b minor is almost insignificant)
The b minor sonata was my graduate degree piece (that and the tannhauser transcription) and it hits home that you asked about this. The notes alone are unbelievably difficult to memorize and retain. The technical difficulties are staggering and playing this piece with a flow and smoothness throughout while still capturing all of the nuances of tone and subtleties of phrase...this piece is almost unconquerable. The piece was DESIGNED to be mysterious, to be ineffably difficult. And I promise, If we're talking just notes this piece alone is hardest...but the second one mentions polish and playing this piece to competition standards and professional circuit rigor, this piece may be included in the hardest of all piano literature.

If you were looking to play one piece from this set, I would recommend the b minor sonata...it is beautiful and evil, balanced and unending. This is a masterwork  in all of music...i would greatly encourage you to pick up the schirmer edition of this piece (or the Bolet memorial edition...he played it fabulously) and try the second movement first...it will amaze you how beautiful and lyrical this middle movement is. For show, the third movement is undeniably tense and fast, the first a wonderful creation of theme and counter-argument. This piece alone can introduce you to just how deep the piano can go in terms of sound quality and tonal sophistication.   
"Surely you must know I've played it faster" - Cziffra on his recording of Grand Galop Chrmoatique

Offline Waldszenen

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Re: Difficulty comparison
Reply #4 on: August 18, 2005, 12:40:39 PM
Can someone rank these solo pieces from easiest to hardest overall.

Chopin Grand Polonaise Brilliante
Liszt B minor sonata
Liszt Mephisto Waltz
Liszt Dante Sonata
Brahms sonata no. 1
Brahms sonata no. 3
Barber sonata

Thanks

- Liszt Mephisto Waltz
- Chopin GPB
- Brahms No. 1
- Liszt Bm
- Brahms No. 3

The ones I've omitted I've not the faintest clue.
Fortune favours the musical.

Offline hmoll53

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Re: Difficulty comparison
Reply #5 on: July 08, 2022, 01:03:49 AM
Let's go, a 17 year reply after the original post!
Barber is by far and away the most difficult out of the bunch if you're gonna play the whole sonata. It's far more difficult to memorize (unless you find some way to crack down tone rows) then the romantic works here and has some parts that are just as awkward as the B Minor Liszt (The Fugue comes to mind, some parts are quite unpianistic). Unlike all the other options here, Barber's Sonata is built largely on 4ths instead of the standard triads of conventional tonality.
Brahms 3 and Liszt comes after the Barber, both are extremely difficult as well and they are known for that.
Dante is a bit harder than Mephisto in stamina but I think the Mephisto has more difficult technique to master.
Chopin Polonaise Brilliante is a decent piece to learn compared to the other monsters here, though by no means easy.
Might be biased though since the Barber is the only one I learned. Though in the end, it's your personal pros and cons that decides the list
Some Current Repertoire:
Scriabin: Sonatas 2,4 and 5
Chopin: Ballade 1,4, Scherzo 1
Rachmaninoff: Concerto 3
Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit
Barber: Sonata
Beethoven: Appassionata
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