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Topic: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1  (Read 8754 times)

Offline rjm-uk

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Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
on: September 14, 2005, 05:15:22 PM
Has anyone learned to play this, if so, how difficult is it in comparison to say the harder chopin etudes. Is it a good first concerto to learn?

Offline da jake

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #1 on: September 14, 2005, 06:49:33 PM
I've played neither Chopin Etudes, nor the Rach Concerti, but I think if you can play the harder Chopin etudes, 10/4 etc., you can play the Rach-CON.

The caddy sounds quite difficult in the Rach.
"The best discourse upon music is silence" - Schumann

Offline pianodaria

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #2 on: September 14, 2005, 09:07:05 PM
Difficult comparison, depends on a person; if you love the piece, you learn it quicker than seemingly easier piece, but without motivation.
"What does an artist need for success? - Encouragement on top of encouragement..."
Sergei Rachmaninov

Offline thierry13

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #3 on: September 14, 2005, 11:03:07 PM
I've played neither Chopin Etudes, nor the Rach Concerti, but I think if you can play the harder Chopin etudes, 10/4 etc., you can play the Rach-CON.

The caddy sounds quite difficult in the Rach.

WOW! The 10/4 is FAR less difficult than any concerto. How hard may you find it, Rach concerto has other, and differrent, and harder, technical demands. Playing any of the chopin etudes, doesn't proove you can play any rach concerto. If you can allready play the 24 ones with a flawless technique, tough, I think you could be ready to tackle the concerto. Many people can play the Rach 1st, but can't play the 24 chopin studies. BUT, being able to play them doesn't mean you'll be able to tackle the concerto. It is harder than anything Chopin has ever written.

Offline pianodaria

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #4 on: September 14, 2005, 11:36:36 PM
It [Concerto] is harder than anything Chopin has ever written.

Disagree. You must be a real expert in Chopin  (which not many musicians would admit), if you consider "anything" by Chopin easier than a concerto. Even by comparing Rachmaninov 3 or Prokofiev 2 to any of the Chopin Etudes, you get into trouble: with all the difficulties playing with an orchestra has, with Chopin's solo works you are totally alone on stage, and so naked with all your musical problems.

"What does an artist need for success? - Encouragement on top of encouragement..."
Sergei Rachmaninov

Offline rob47

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #5 on: September 14, 2005, 11:41:10 PM
Learn Rachmaninoff 3rd in d minor instead.  You know you want to.   :)

"Phenomenon 1 is me"
-Alexis Weissenberg

Offline thierry13

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #6 on: September 15, 2005, 12:40:08 AM
Disagree. You must be a real expert in Chopin  (which not many musicians would admit), if you consider "anything" by Chopin easier than a concerto. Even by comparing Rachmaninov 3 or Prokofiev 2 to any of the Chopin Etudes, you get into trouble: with all the difficulties playing with an orchestra has, with Chopin's solo works you are totally alone on stage, and so naked with all your musical problems.



Concerto's have what's called SOLOS. So in concertos, you are often alone, naked with all your musical problems. Anyway, the concerto, with it's three movements, has more technical difficulties, and even musical difficulties, than any piece Chopin would have written.

Offline thierry13

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #7 on: September 15, 2005, 12:41:15 AM
Learn Rachmaninoff 3rd in d minor instead.† You know you want to.† †:)



It's indeed the greatest one. But, the first is a very good concerto. If he wants to learn it, I would leave him to his choice  ;)

Offline chromatickler

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #8 on: September 15, 2005, 04:01:25 AM
Concerto's have what's called SOLOS. So in concertos, you are often alone, naked with all your musical problems. Anyway, the concerto, with it's three movements, has more technical difficulties, and even musical difficulties, than any piece Chopin would have written.
with all due respect, do you have the slightest idea who you might be talking to?

Offline brewtality

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #9 on: September 15, 2005, 04:02:07 AM
It's indeed the greatest one.

I disagree. I feel that the first is the greatest.

Its difficult to compare a 25 minute concerto with a 1-5 minute Chopin etude; it's a completely different kettle of fish. Obviously, the degree of technical difficulty will be higher and more concentrated in the latter (though it depends on which etude) but it will also be limited to a particular technique (octaves, thirds, etc) whilst the concerto has many tricky elements to it.
I'm currently in the middle of learning the First myself, and I have found the main difficulty to be getting the piece in your fingers. It's difficult but not impossible difficult.
If you really love the piece than the effort will be worth it, however I wouldn't suggest learning it unless you're a reasonable advanced student.
The cadenza has some huge chords in the LH which I struggle to play (even though I can squeeze a 12th). Its the highlight of the piece and I consider it to be the greatest thing that Rachmaninoff ever wrote. The hardest part of it for me has been working out what all the notes are (I'm a lazy reader) but if big meaty chords are your thing, then you shouldn't have too many problems.
Also it helps interpretation wise to listen to the greats perform it, I'd suggest the Janis and Rachmaninoff recordings.

Offline mrchops10

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #10 on: September 15, 2005, 04:09:28 AM
Anyway, the concerto, with it's three movements, has more technical difficulties, and even musical difficulties, than any piece Chopin would have written.

I'm sorry, did you mean the concerto is more difficult BECAUSE it has three mov'ts? Because Chopin wrote quite a few large scale works, including, obviously, his concerti and sonata, and most importantly, the preludes (yes, it's one work). I would be highly suspicious of anyone who underplays whatsoever the musical difficulties of Chopin. To play the preludes effectively requires an amazing grasp of the unique formal, musical, and technical elements that make up each smaller work, as well as a powerful understanding of how each one contributes to the whole. His other large-scale works are nearly as formidable, because Chopin's sense of structure and sound is always totally unique and completely suited to the piece.

That said, Chopin is bound to be easier for SOME people than Rachmaninoff. It's just perhaps I find it more difficult because: A. I have huge hands which fit well into Rachmaninoff's particular idiom and B. I have Russian training and so a good sense sense of the huge gestures that Rachmaninoff's music requires. For someone who has a flawless tone, a perfect understanding of both Polish music, French music, Bellini, Mozart and Bach, and some insight into how Chopin played his own pieces (Rachmaninoff, of course, gives us invaluable insight through his recordings), Chopin would be a piece of cake. The truth is, it's far easier to gain insight into Rachmaninoff's more limited world than into the infinite aural, pianistic and musical possibilities of Chopin. Rachmaninoff's music works because of it's relative lack of nuance, the all-encompassing orgasmic power of each enormous gesture. Chopin--a little more difficult to generalize, and so, usually more difficult to play. Sorry I got so carried away.
"In the crystal of his harmony he gathered the tears of the Polish people strewn over the fields, and placed them as the diamond of beauty in the diadem of humanity." --The poet Norwid, on Chopin

Offline iumonito

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #11 on: September 15, 2005, 12:57:53 PM
Enough of the nonesense.

Rachmaninov first concerto is much more difficult, in all respects, than any single one of the Chopin etudes.

Rachmaninov 1 is not an ideal first concerto to learn.   Here are some alternatives

Any Mozart (most difficult likely No 24, very good first ones are 13, 17, 20, 21 and 23)
Beethoven 1 or 5 (2 is tricky in my opinion, and 3 and 4 are much more difficult)
Grieg
Schumann (a little harder than Grieg)
Mendelssohn g or d,
Saint-Saens 2 (sounds harder than it is, but then it is harder than one thinks)
Ravel in G major
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue or (harder) Concerto in F.

If you want to play Rachmaninov, I would recommend tackling a few preludes and Etudes-Tableaux first.  The first concerto is a very good entry point for the Rachmaninov concerti (for the most part, I think the Paganini Rhapsody is the best entry point), but at that level if you can play one you likely can play them all.

And by all means, work on your Chopin etudes all your life.  Along with Mozart sonatas I think they are the healthiest thing you can do to your technique.
Money does not make happiness, but it can buy you a piano.  :)

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #12 on: September 15, 2005, 02:29:56 PM
I would say - that if he wants to do a Rachmaninoff COncerto - Try No. 2 instead. Probably a little easier than the first Concerto.

Offline maxy

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #13 on: September 15, 2005, 09:24:30 PM
As a first concerto, Rach 1 seems a bit ambitious. But then again, if you do have the technique required, it's not a problem.  It is a fun piece to play.  Physically enjoyable.  To play the cadenza is almost an orgasmic experience.   8)

The previous poster says Rach 2 is a bit easier.  I mostly agree, but I would mention that Rach 2 can be nastier at parts.

Offline viking

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #14 on: September 16, 2005, 07:10:44 PM
Rach 2 is definately easier, and as a first concerto I would highly discourage learning Rach1.  You may have the ability to play it, but as a first concerto this is insane for most.  Quite an amazing concerto though, and much more difficult than all chopin etudes put together.
SAM

Offline burobbi

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #15 on: September 17, 2005, 02:41:54 PM
Enough of the nonesense.

Rachmaninov first concerto is much more difficult, in all respects, than any single one of the Chopin etudes.

Rachmaninov 1 is not an ideal first concerto to learn.   Here are some alternatives

Any Mozart (most difficult likely No 24, very good first ones are 13, 17, 20, 21 and 23)
Beethoven 1 or 5 (2 is tricky in my opinion, and 3 and 4 are much more difficult)
Grieg
Schumann (a little harder than Grieg)
Mendelssohn g or d,
Saint-Saens 2 (sounds harder than it is, but then it is harder than one thinks)
Ravel in G major
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue or (harder) Concerto in F.

If you want to play Rachmaninov, I would recommend tackling a few preludes and Etudes-Tableaux first.  The first concerto is a very good entry point for the Rachmaninov concerti (for the most part, I think the Paganini Rhapsody is the best entry point), but at that level if you can play one you likely can play them all.

And by all means, work on your Chopin etudes all your life.  Along with Mozart sonatas I think they are the healthiest thing you can do to your technique.


hi. im a big fan of rach concertos - my faves being 1 and 3. ive been trying to learn the 1st concerto also. but its really very difficult. trust me on that. i can pull off a number of chopin etudes but not a rach concerto. rachmaninov writes arguably one of the most challenging literature for piano solo and concerti. i have sort of finished the yellow river concerto (not that its really very very difficult) and -sort of- done tchaikovsky's 1st (but really the bare minimals- just learning the notes and everything. i havent done much to sound projection and all). but i still cannot seem to hammer through rach 1. its a very charming concerto indeed.

but anyway. it may not be the best concerto to learn if its your first. i personally dont discourage anyone from playing anything. go ahead and learn rach 1 if you really really like it. but for me, while i may learn it, i would of course try and learn something i can tackle. please only take your rach concerto seriously if you are sure of overcoming the technical dififculties. you need to have phenomenal aiming and fairly large hands (i recommend it only if you can reach C-E++ or C-F without pressing any other keys). you also need immaculate technique and a huge reservoir of power. rach concerti are very tiring. (1st and 3rd movement needs quite a lot of concentration).

otherwise. like iumonito, i would recommend other concerti.
1) yellow river piano concerto (YIN chengzong, CHU wanghua, SHENG lihong, LIU zhuang)- looks virtuosic but cadenzas are very playable. it is much easier than it sounds once you learn the concerto. it is quite a good one to start with.
2) tchaikovsky no. 1. rather overplayed. but it doesnt hurt to add to the statistics haha. certain parts are challenging but can be overcome with persistent practice. an enjoyable concerto. difficulty lies in playing quickly, evenly and softly. and to sustain interest. 1st movt is 20 minutes long and can get slightly dry if you dont interest your audience.
3) grieg. popular. not ridiculously difficult to get the notes. but it takes more to produce good sound and really play a good greig concerto. finger dexterity is also a challenge here.
4) mozart concerti. almost to the point of sightreadable. easy to get the notes but challenging to play everything evenly. the trick is not in getting the notes but really making it sound purely mozart- the slight hint of innocence. tricky but nice concerti.
5) saint-saens no. 2. needs good fingerwork and stamina. some parts require demi-insane control. but its a very very charming concerto. difficult for a first concerto but worth the try.

if you arent looking for concerti but piano-orchestral works.
1) rhapsody in blue. popular, catchy. not very difficult. just a bit of practise. rhythmically challenging in some parts. chromatic in nature so notes are not ridiculously hard to get. fun to play. i learnt it in a few weeks.

yup.

goodluck with ur concerto.

Offline musicsdarkangel

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #16 on: September 18, 2005, 03:21:44 AM
The cadenza in the first movement is pretty much as hard as piano gets.

Offline stevie

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #17 on: September 18, 2005, 03:55:48 AM


i frown upon that statement

Offline pita bread

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #18 on: September 18, 2005, 06:03:04 AM


i frown upon that statement

concurred.

How bad do the spans get in the Rachmaninoff #1?

Offline brewtality

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #19 on: September 18, 2005, 07:00:17 AM
concurred.

How bad do the spans get in the Rachmaninoff #1?

Some are bloody terrible especially in the LH; there's one that is G# D# F# B# in the Maestoso part of the cadenza (my favourite thing is all of music). I can reach this, but it's quite a squeeze. Curiously, in the orginal version (1891) it is marked as arpeggiated, but in the revised it is to be played as a straight chord (apparently).

Offline stevie

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #20 on: September 18, 2005, 07:03:27 AM
thats pretty easy by itself for me, does it have to be hit at speed?

Offline pita bread

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #21 on: September 18, 2005, 07:06:59 AM
Some are bloody terrible especially in the LH; there's one that is G# D# F# B# in the Maestoso part of the cadenza (my favourite thing is all of music). I can reach this, but it's quite a squeeze. Curiously, in the orginal version (1891) it is marked as arpeggiated, but in the revised it is to be played as a straight chord (apparently).

I'd roll it either way- can't reach more than 9ths. Are there any notable differences between the original and revised versions? Piano.ru's library is down so I can't compare scores, heh.

Offline brewtality

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #22 on: September 18, 2005, 07:11:52 AM
thats pretty easy by itself for me, does it have to be hit at speed?

depends on how you interpret it I guess, Janis plays this part slowly and powerfully (and arpeggiates the chords- but it sounds wikid) while Rach plays it quite fast. It's not that it's that big a stretch but its damn awkward (for me at least). There are a couple of others that worry me a bit.

@ pita bread: They are very different, especially in terms of textures. As far as themes are concerned, the revised cuts a lot of "useless" ones while keeping the important ones. The cadenza is mostly completely different until the maestoso part.

Offline pita bread

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #23 on: September 18, 2005, 07:16:35 AM
Which version does Janis play?

Offline brewtality

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #24 on: September 18, 2005, 07:23:27 AM
Which version does Janis play?

Janis plays the revised. As far as I know, almost everyone plays that version. The only exception is Alexander Ghindin who recorded the original version of both the first and fourth concerti conducted by Ashkenazy.

Offline pita bread

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #25 on: September 18, 2005, 07:51:02 AM
I thought Ashkenazy played the original.

Offline maxy

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #26 on: September 18, 2005, 04:57:34 PM
I thought Ashkenazy played the original.

I believe he did both versions.  The revised is pretty much aknowledged as "THE" version. 

BTW, I don't find the cadenza the hardest part in mvt 1.

Offline brewtality

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #27 on: September 19, 2005, 07:13:58 AM
I believe he did both versions.  The revised is pretty much aknowledged as "THE" version. 

BTW, I don't find the cadenza the hardest part in mvt 1.

That's strange, I read an interview where he said he was glad that Ghindin was the soloist not him as it saved him from having to learn the piece again. The version I have of him playing the Rach 1 is the revised, maybe he has since learned and recorded the original?

Offline espresso

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Re: Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.1
Reply #28 on: September 19, 2005, 01:56:51 PM
Rach 2 is definately easier, and as a first concerto I would highly discourage learning Rach1.  You may have the ability to play it, but as a first concerto this is insane for most.  Quite an amazing concerto though, and much more difficult than all chopin etudes put together.
SAM

I have to disagree about that part about Rach 1 being more difficult than all 27 chopin etudes put together.  Not that I have played all the etude, and I have only learnt the first movt of Rach 1.  But I would think it takes much more technique to perform all the etudes in one concert than the Rach 1...
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