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Topic: Technically Challenged  (Read 3699 times)

Offline ludwig

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Technically Challenged
on: May 19, 2002, 05:31:42 AM


 Just wondering what is or are some of the most difficult pieces technically, that you've played. What was the difficulty, and how did you concur?
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."▄▄▄

Offline rmc7777

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #1 on: May 20, 2002, 10:13:40 PM
Well, I've been working on the Prokofieff Toccatta Op. 11 for some time and find it technically challenging.  It is Toccatta form so is practically non-stop 16th notes through the entire piece.  At Allegro tempo this gets really demanding.  There are many places where the fifth fingers in both hands must hold notes while the remaining fingers play rapid, ascending or descending major thirds.  Some of the thirds are an octave or more distant from the fifth finger.  This can be tough to play.  Also, there are passages where you use the full register of the keyboard - left hand near the lowest A and right hand near the highest C.  It's a brilliant piece to play, a lot of fun, but it takes many, many hours of slow play to get down the accuracy.

Regards,
Richard

Offline Diabolos

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #2 on: May 26, 2002, 01:06:44 PM
The only really difficult piece I played yet was Ravel's Le tombeau de Couperin, especially it's toccata. Just as the Prokofieff toccata, it needs to be practised very slowly for quite a while until you feel at least a little secure of hitting the right keys. But performing it in real tempo is worst - if you don't focus on a group of keys you're lost because your hands have to move so fast that they're barely visible, even to you. The technical difficulties are basically the same in any toccata, so just remember what Richard wrote.

I'm working on the first movement Prokofieff's 3rd piano concerto right now, and this piece really got me. As far as I got it's the hardest piece I ever tried, but it's fun - you should try playing it. Fast runs, confusing rhythms, partwise written like for an organ (I don't remember the word for the lines the notes are written in *emberassing* but there are mostly three of them) - it's very easy to get lost which happened to me quite often.

I guess Liszt's Paganini etudes are very difficult, too - I only saw performances of them, but they can certainly give any good pianist sincere headaches  ;)

Offline ludwig

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #3 on: May 27, 2002, 04:11:37 PM
Yeah, toccatas are evil.. but they are good..I think prokofiev is a bit difficult to play in general, its so rhythmically challenging and the notes... I honestly don't know sometimes when I'm playing the right ones.. And the energy levels! phew, hard to keep up... I've played some Liszt that is really difficult technically, probably some Beethoven as well, I'm tackling a little Rach now, there's so much music out there.. ;D
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."▄▄▄

Offline Gertrud

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #4 on: June 02, 2002, 10:44:30 PM
Hello,

If you want to play something special play the Scarbo by Ravel. I think that one is the Challange, and the 2nd Concerto by Chopin, too.......

Gertrud

Offline ClassicalPiano2002

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #5 on: June 03, 2002, 10:17:44 PM
i definatly think hot croossed buns was a tough one...


j/k...I'm 15 and I played a toccata by an unknown author, and you all probably know when you are young you get frustrated easily.  It took over 3 months to learn properly. But it all turned out well....it was hard though..between runs in both directions and the very odd fingerings... it was tough.

Offline rrweber

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #6 on: June 29, 2002, 06:08:44 AM
 generally speaking, etudes by chopin and Liszt are among the most difficult.  And of course, that's what they were composed to do - challenge the performer technically (and mentally!!!!).
  Nevertheless, even the most difficult passsages become possible with the right approach.  Remember, composers spend months, if not years polishing a single piece.  As performers, we can not then be hasty with our work.  A well-crafted work deserves a well-crafted interpretation.  
   Alsp, the proper fingering can absolve many problems.  Not only that, but a careful anaylsis can shead light on a difficult piece (especially those by Prokofiev and others).  How can we expect ourselves to play what we can't understand??  Moreover, try not to get overwhelmed with the velocity factor.  Fast playing should be, after all, slow playing faster.  That is, the clarity and cleanliness of slow playing must always be maintained- no matter what tempo.  Too many performers treat speed as a monster and pieces then become different entities at faster speeds.
   Finally, we need to think (I feel) of technique not only in terms of arm weight and rotation, but in terms of composer.  Every composer demands different aspects from performers.  The "Suite Bergamesque" may not be the most physically challenging piece, but few players present the work with the appropriate touch and soul.

Offline ted

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #7 on: June 30, 2002, 10:32:25 AM
I think it's the same old story of achieving the right balance. You must work continuously on your technique but it must never become an end in itself. If it does that you might as well be playing a typewriter or a silent practice clavier.

I like Matthay's comment that we should always sit down at the piano with the sole purpose of making music.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

mahavishnu

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #8 on: September 05, 2002, 07:10:25 AM
If you are ever up for a challenge try playing the Gaspard de la nuit by Maurice Ravel.  Scarbo (3rd mvt) is considered one of the most difficult pieces in piano repertory.  Or you could try Balakirev's Islamey!  ;)

Offline SteveK

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #9 on: September 05, 2002, 06:26:41 PM
The two most technically challenging pieces for me are: Liszt's Campanella and Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2! :)
"And you probably thought I'd play badly?" - Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Offline ludwig

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #10 on: September 10, 2002, 11:42:50 AM
yeah, when I played the liszt etude la campanella I thought it was pretty difficult, and difficult to find a recording that had a good tempo and technical excellence. The rhapsody was okay I thought though. I want to try the others of the etudes, but I'm currently looking at the Chopin etudes and preludes too.... just starting with a couple :p i'm not crazy enough to tackle it all yet :) I'd say some of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky ain't easy either.
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."▄▄▄

Offline MikeThePianist

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #11 on: September 29, 2002, 08:16:42 AM
I have played neither of these two pieces, but have known people who have.  They are supposed to be some of the hardest in the repertoire.

Islamey - Balakirev
Trois mouvements de Petrouchka - Stravinsky
Variations on a Theme of Handel - Brahms
Michael Fauver is pursuing his bachelors degree in piano performance at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Offline ludwig

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #12 on: September 30, 2002, 10:49:35 AM
trois mouvements de Petrouchka I'm starting to look at now, but don't have much time on... looks pretty exciting though. Is it?
"Classical music snobs are some of the snobbiest snobs of all. Often their snobbery masquerades as helpfulnes... unaware that they are making you feel small in order to make themselves feel big..."▄▄▄

Offline robert_henry

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #13 on: September 30, 2002, 09:31:10 PM
No question:  Chopin-Godowsky etudes.  Everything is easy in comparison, and I'm not kidding.  Once you learn a few of these all other "difficult" music will seem like a joke.  The most difficult page I know is the first page of the Godowsky transcription of Op. 25 No1, the second version.  The original Chopin etudes are still quite difficult as well.

Islamey is difficult, but it is not the monster everyone thinks it is.  It wouldn't even make my top ten.  Try it, you'll see.

Prokofiev 2nd concerto is pretty rough.

Robert Henry

Offline ilovechopin

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #14 on: October 03, 2002, 06:41:53 AM
Chopin-Godowsky!  I just love those.  Yes, they are quite difficult!   Fun to listen to, though.
"Music alone speaks to the imagination, the mind, the heart and the senses..."  Hector Berlioz

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #15 on: October 05, 2002, 06:50:33 AM
Well, I bought Prokofiev's Toccatta today.  Busy, for sure.  Haven't sight read it yet. You guys talked it up so much I just had to see it for myself!  I'll letcha know if I can handle it.

:o
So much music, so little time........

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #16 on: October 05, 2002, 07:42:31 AM
Oh, and by the way, what metronome markings are you guys aiming for on that bugger? - the Prokofiev Toccatta?  There are no markings on the music I bought.
So much music, so little time........

Offline trunks

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #17 on: April 08, 2004, 12:46:34 AM
Talking about Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, I think Ondine is harder than Scarbo. I'm still amazed at how people out there do the quivering RH figures!
Peter (Hong Kong)
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amateur classical concert pianist

Offline liszmaninopin

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #18 on: April 08, 2004, 03:26:12 AM
I'm suprised that the Rachmaninoff Etudes haven't been mentioned so far.  Some of them are very tough.  I'd say that op. 39 #1 is among the hardest, the #6 can also be tricky.  Actually, none of Rach's etudes are exactly easy.

Offline Clare

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #19 on: April 08, 2004, 05:35:47 AM
rrweber - funny you should mention Suite Bergamasque. I was going to say I am learning the Passepied and am finding it a hell of a lot more tricky than things that seem at first way harder. I've also listened to quite a few recordings of it and have never been happy with the way the pianist plays it.

Offline anda

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #20 on: April 08, 2004, 01:38:04 PM
Quote
I'm working on the first movement Prokofieff's 3rd piano concerto right now, and this piece really got me. As far as I got it's the hardest piece I ever tried, but it's fun - you should try playing it. Fast runs, confusing rhythms, partwise written like for an organ (I don't remember the word for the lines the notes are written in *emberassing* but there are mostly three of them) - it's very easy to get lost which happened to me quite often.


wait till you get to 2nd and especially 3rd part - the coda at the 3rd part was definitely one of the most difficult (technically) things i have ever played (i'll tell you, i don't think i've ever yelled so much at myself :) ). but the whole concert is soooo wonderful, it's worth!

Offline Radix7621

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #21 on: July 20, 2004, 03:07:42 AM
I just started Balakirev's Islamey the other day.  While it's probably the most technically challenging thing I've played, I definitely think that it's doable.  I'm starting college as a music major this fall, and I'm wondering if this piece is above the average seventeen year old pianist.  I don't want to waste my time on it, because I know it's going to take awhile to get under my belt.

Offline pseudopianist

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #22 on: July 20, 2004, 04:38:09 PM
Quote


áJust wondering what is or are some of the most difficult pieces technically, that you've played.


Chopin - Nocturne in F minor Op55  ;D
I'm a pianon00b... sue me. :(
Whisky and Messiaen

Offline dinosaurtales

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #23 on: July 20, 2004, 06:01:16 PM
Quote


Chopin - Nocturne in F minor Op55 á;D
I'm a pianon00b... sue me. :(



Don't laugh!  Those nocturnes are VERY challenging musically, and I don't think any of them are *easy*.  in order to make the music singing and lovely, requires considerable technique.  
So much music, so little time........

Offline Motrax

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #24 on: July 20, 2004, 09:52:35 PM
I've always dreamt of learning nothing harder (technically speaking) than Chopin's Nocturnes and recording them all, and making a living out of that.  :)
"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.

Offline maxy

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #25 on: July 23, 2004, 04:32:39 AM
The Prokofiev toccata seems quite respected...
I find the Schumann Toccata much harder!  Even Suggestion Diabolique is harder (Prokofiev op.4#4) and very fun by the way!

Islamey is not monstruous.  It is hard, but well written for piano. It does become quite confortable with work.  I found 3 mvt de Petroushka much harder.

Godowsky is just horrible.  VERY hard.  I barely read some studies, and it feels quite hard.  I'll probably try some Ligetti before seriously attempting the Godowsky.

Offline DarkWind

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #26 on: July 23, 2004, 07:49:51 AM
Pity humans, you have never heard of Sorabji! As you might have heard me say before, EVERYTHING, and I mean, EVERYTHING, looks like it came from a Bastien book compared to his pieces. Godowsky etudes got nothing on Sorabji in terms of difficulty. Let's start off with the basics. He never uses less than 3 staves for his music. Sometimes he goes up to 7, maybe more. Opus Clavicembalisticum is 3-4 hours long, and 254 pages long (I have pdf if anyone wants it), the most difficult piece ever written. Only one person on earth can play Sorabji's Sonata. Need I say more?

Offline donjuan

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #27 on: July 23, 2004, 07:56:06 AM
Quote
Pity humans, you have never heard of Sorabji! As you might have heard me say before, EVERYTHING, and I mean, EVERYTHING, looks like it came from a Bastien book compared to his pieces. Godowsky etudes got nothing on Sorabji in terms of difficulty. Let's start off with the basics. He never uses less than 3 staves for his music. Sometimes he goes up to 7, maybe more. Opus Clavicembalisticum is 3-4 hours long, and 254 pages long (I have pdf if anyone wants it), the most difficult piece ever written. Only one person on earth can play Sorabji's Sonata. Need I say more?

can you send me the pdfs, Dark wind please?  (I want to see what Super Fun happy Man had against this stuff..)
thanks,
donjuan

Offline DarkWind

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #28 on: July 23, 2004, 08:13:44 AM
Sure, what's your e-mail?

Offline trunks

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #29 on: July 23, 2004, 08:27:16 AM
The difficulty is justified only if the the music is worth it. For every Sorabji piece I can produce something arbitrarily harder than it - add more notes, add more bars, add more staves, randomly throw notes on the score . . . but then where's the music?

So what's the point at all carrying on with this argument? Let's face it - good music needs not be difficult, and difficult music is not necessarily good.
Peter (Hong Kong)
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amateur classical concert pianist

Offline DarkWind

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #30 on: July 23, 2004, 08:34:32 AM
Quote
The difficulty is justified only if the the music is worth it. For every Sorabji piece I can produce something arbitrarily harder than it - add more notes, add more bars, add more staves, randomly throw notes on the score . . . but then where's the music?

So what's the point at all carrying on with this argument? Let's face it - good music needs not be difficult, and difficult music is not necessarily good.


Not all of his music is terrible. Personally I like it. It is atonal, but has more innovative rythms than other atonal things. Sorabji's music is interesting, it has a wierd view. Many don't like it. I don't like Xenakis, Boulez, etc. But I like Sorabji. Someone said that one of his transcendental etudes made him cry, in that thread "Composers and works that make you cry." It's not all bad. I personally like how sinister and strange it sounds. You need to listen to a good recording. Few pianists understand Sorabji, so he has few fans due to lack of performance. Michael Habbermann, I think that's his name, made excellent Sorabji recordings. Listen to them, your perspective might change. Even if you don't like Sorabji at the end, I really don't care, because I do and that is what matters to me. Besides, who are we to call what is music? Music can be anything nowadays. Look at rap. Though I like to refer to it as "noise." Also, donjuan, I hope you have 19 mb of free space in your e-mail storage.

Offline donjuan

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #31 on: July 23, 2004, 04:28:14 PM
19 MB, huh? well I dont have that kind of room in my hotmail, but I just created a yahoo.ca account.
Please email it to orienlee87@yahoo.ca

thanks,
donjuan

Offline enophxesther

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #32 on: July 24, 2004, 11:07:21 AM
Quote


 Just wondering what is or are some of the most difficult pieces technically, that you've played. What was the difficulty, and how did you concur?


DEFINETELY Bach's Praeludiums and Fugues (but I'm just biased). The dissonance and the "demented" fingerings have got the best of me. My teacher says that these pieces are supposed to improve your technical skills, particularly on how consistent you are. I guess pieces that are polyphonic-based are harder than one should expect.

Nevertheless, other technically challenging pieces I have managed to get along with are:

- Alborada del Gracioso by Ravel.
- Rhapsody in Blue (the complete version) by Gerhswin.
- Revolutionary Etude by Chopin. (Darn it, I could play this piece so well when I was 14, now, I forgot everything)
- Prelude in G Minor by Rachmaninov.

Other technically challenging pieces that I will NEVER get along with:

- Tocatta from Le Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel.
- Jeux d'Eau by Debussy.
- Any of Liszt's pieces, probably because my hands are not large enough to play those "extra-hard" octave leaps.
- Any 20th century pieces that involve hand-leaping, key-crashing, finger-cracking elements.
(HaziM:ascii:=)Ö

Offline donjuan

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #33 on: July 24, 2004, 08:15:32 PM
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Other technically challenging pieces that I will NEVER get along with:

- Any of Liszt's pieces, probably because my hands are not large enough to play those "extra-hard" octave leaps.

Dont say "any of Liszt's pieces", There are only a few that require big leaps.  If you can reach an octave, you can play over 85% of Liszt's work.  

Offline larse

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Re: Technically Challenged
Reply #34 on: July 24, 2004, 10:03:47 PM
Technical Challenges? Well....

Hmm...when I was 14, the Polonaise in Ab by Chopin was a little bothering. My hands seemed to small. Oh, and the Gm Prelude as well.
When I was 15 I began the Revolutionary etude. Though, I put it away as my left hand was hopeless.

Chopins Etude No 5, Op. 10 was a challenge.
And Liszt Rhapsody No 14 had parts which demanded a lot of attention.
Now, the Gm ballad of Chopin seems to bother me. But it's a nearly begun project, so it should'nt be a problem actually.

Yes! Mondschein Sonata's 3rd mvt was a great challenge when I played it. (14/15 don't remember).
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