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Author Topic: Am i ready for Liszt sonata in B minor  (Read 5860 times)
zheer
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« on: August 30, 2006, 02:25:09 PM »

  Well just had the real pleasure of sight reading through this sonata,and it seems fairly pozzible apart from a few  Shocked bits. If you have any first hand knowledge please do step forward and make yourself be known to the rest of uz.

  Your'z sincerly the Baj.  Grin
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piano sheet music of Sonata
dnephi
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« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2006, 02:33:45 PM »

I don't really know anything about your playing.  You haven't really mentioned much.

Daniel
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For us musicians, the music of Beethoven is the pillar of fire and cloud of mist which guided the Israelites through the desert.  (Roughly quoted, Franz Liszt.)
zheer
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« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2006, 02:38:46 PM »

I don't really know anything about your playing.  You haven't really mentioned much.

Daniel

  Not much to say reall, but i have always loved this sonata, like i remember having a CD of this french pianist playing this sonata 11 years ago, at the time it sounded like the most difficult piece on earth, but its not really so bad when you try it.
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dnephi
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2006, 02:40:31 PM »

I've seen the score, and it's not "sickening".  If you are a very good pianist and analyst you might be able to do it. 
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avetma
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2006, 06:02:01 PM »

If you:

1) are good in fast double octaves
2) have ability to create wonderful 30-minutes-music from few motifs
3) can play page no.13 Grin

then I would give it a try.
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mephisto
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2006, 06:15:18 PM »

If you have to ask then you are not ready. Seriously Embarrassed
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zheer
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2006, 06:33:26 PM »

If you:

1) are good in fast double octaves
2) have ability to create wonderful 30-minutes-music from few motifs
3) can play page no.13 Grin

then I would give it a try.

  The octave parts for me is the fun and easy part, never found octave difficult, now page 13 seems is difficult the RH, though not impossible. The part that gives me some trouble is the fast scale passage work, other than that in all honesty i can sight read through it and make fairly good music.
  The reason why i ask am i ready, well apparently its one of those pieces one should learn once they are old have gray hair, but i need something exciting.
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iumonito
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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2006, 06:49:59 PM »

Not at all.  Profound it is, no doubt, but this and the Chopets are basic foundational blocks any 18-year old should know.  In fact, because younger people learn so much easier, as a teacher I think this work should be introduced as soon as the mechanics of its performance can be tackled, likely between 14 and 17 years old.  Learning it from scratch as an adult would be much harder (not impossible, but older people learn in ways different than youngsters).

If you think you can manage the mechanics, go ahead and practice it.  It has many interpretive mysteries, but it is not mystery that you need to have the mechanics to play it before you can unlock its Faustian, Schumannesque, Autobiographical and Mystical aspects.

It is a life-changing work, even if you just try to learn it.

Good luck.
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zheer
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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2006, 07:04:48 PM »

It is a life-changing work, even if you just try to learn it.

Good luck.

 Ooooooooooooo, i like the way you think, and yes its such an amazing piece, even playing it badly is great fun. I think its one of those pieces you learn briefly and come back to  later to improve, but yeah no harm in trying.
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ramseytheii
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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2006, 12:02:49 AM »

You should definitely start it, and work on it, and then decide if you are ready to bring it to the stage, and to really tackle the numerous problems.  I say with these things, the sooner the better.  Personally since it is such a large work, I would spend a lot of time at the beginning figuring out where the music is going, how to make all the transitions. 

Then I start cataloguing things, ie, all the octave passages, all the "fast fingers" passages, all the transition passages, all the main theme passages, cantabile passages, polyphonic passages, super-soft passages, et cetera.  I would practice from the first page forward, and from the last page backward. 

The idea is, even if you can't solve every technical problem now, you will get so familiar with the piece you know it inside out.  Let's say you have trouble with octaves in general (hypothetical).  You study the piece, you know the whole structure, you know how to make the transitions, but you just can't get the ocatves right. 

Two years later, you've played Funerailles, you've played Chopin octave etude, you've played Scriabin op.8 no.12, and octaves are much easier.  You can go to the Liszt sonata, have all the knowledge that you had before, so all you have to add is a bit of practice on those passages.  If you really want to learn the piece, but know for sure certain things you can't master now, don't let that stop you from getting to know it as best you can.

Walter Ramsey
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mephisto
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« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2006, 12:20:38 PM »

The difficulties of this sonata has nothing to do with technic.
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dnephi
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« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2006, 01:22:26 PM »

The difficulties of this sonata has nothing to do with technic.
Precisely. 
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ramseytheii
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« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2006, 03:13:53 PM »

The difficulties of this sonata has nothing to do with technic.

Some of them do!

Walter Ramsey
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zheer
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« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2006, 04:55:40 PM »

The difficulties of this sonata has nothing to do with technic.

  It has a lot to do with the technic, this may sound funny but this sonata also sounds like an adult sonata, a lot of the Beethoven sonata Mozart and even chopin sonatas seem ok to be payd by a child, but the Liszt sonata, to me anyway will sound strange if playd by a 12 year old. I think the sonata demands some physical and emotional strength that comes with age.
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mephisto
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« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2006, 05:07:14 PM »

Some of them do!

Walter Ramsey


The reason many famous pianists considers this a difficult piece is not because it is technicly difficult.
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mephisto
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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2006, 05:13:50 PM »

  It has a lot to do with the technic...

This piece is of course technicly difficult to play. But if you are worried about technical issues than you are not ready for piece. It is first when you have mastered the technical problems of the piece that the real diffciulties begin.
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thalbergmad
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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2006, 05:35:20 PM »

I have never understood any of these "am i ready" threads.

Is it not impossible to answer on the internet??

There is only one way to find out, which amazingly enough is try it.

Thal

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zheer
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« Reply #17 on: August 31, 2006, 06:37:19 PM »

This piece is of course technicly difficult to play. But if you are worried about technical issues than you are not ready for piece.

  No am worried about its historic and political as well as its musical contenet, and Liszt psycological out-look on life when he wrote it, also on its harmonic musical and symphonic conitation along with its litral significance amongs the late 19th century and early 20th century writters, the tecknical part is the easy bit.
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m
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« Reply #18 on: August 31, 2006, 08:35:12 PM »

  No am worried about its historic and political as well as its musical contenet, and Liszt psycological out-look on life when he wrote it, also on its harmonic musical and symphonic conitation along with its litral significance amongs the late 19th century and early 20th century writters, the tecknical part is the easy bit.

Don't forget, it is deeply phylosophical work. First, read Dante, Doctor Faustus, and all the rest Liszt himself was interested in, then you will see if you are ready for it.

My dad, who is a concert pianist himself and a college piano professor started learning the Sonata when he was in his 50s. After a year of working he dropped it, desiding he is not mature enough. Now, when he is already 68, finally, he feels ready for it.
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practicingnow
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« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2006, 11:07:40 PM »

Do you have a sincere, personal vision of this piece?  A conception of this work, in detail, that is worth hearing and sharing?  Can you express this idea technically?  Then learn it - you are ready!
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ramseytheii
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« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2006, 11:51:16 PM »

This is an interesting quote from the musicologist, composer and pianist Tovey, writing about the late Beethoven sonatas; however the idea is applicable also in this case!

"...It is no use deferring the study of such music until you feel ripe for it... Those who recognise that they are unready for it must remember that experience cannot come except by experience; and therefore its foundations must be well and truly laid in youth.  No criticism is so mean and mischievous as that which discourages young players from playing great music accurately because 'correctness is not enough.'  Who supposes that?  But when your accuracy has become habitual you will be able to think of the music without thinking of yourself..."

There are many interesting points in there, for instance his idea that a fixation on technical barriers (the self) blocks the production of music.  Also that experience for a piece can come also from the piece itself, something we often forget.  Yes, Liszt travelled the world; he read Dante, Goethe, Shakespeare, Petrarch, he heard every contemporary composer and a good many ancient one; and yet music is music.  Should we then travel every place he went before he composed the Liszt Sonata, and listen to all the banal French and Italian opera of his day, to try and recreate his life experience to that point?

 Even if the Sonata is based on the Faust legend (which Friedheim said was "taken for granted" among Liszt pupils), what makes the Faust legend so important is its universal characters and emotions; I truly believe the Liszt sonata can be understood without making a lifelong study of Faust.  If one believes otherwise, then one must also believe that Messiaen was correct to say that only a Catholic person can understand his music.  I simply cannot believe that, though maybe many non-Catholics who do understand it are secretly Catholic in the depths of their heart (something I also doubt). 

And then also, what of the case of Chopin, and his "hidden programs" of the ballades?  We cannot read the sources that inspired him, and know beyond a doubt that those are the very stories that excited his musical thoughts.  Perhaps then, nobody will ever understand these ballades.

Of course reading for inspiration never hurt anybody, but I want to present the reverse side of the coin here: that music is in the end music, and can also be understood from its own point of view.

Walter Ramsey
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thierry13
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« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2006, 12:06:05 AM »

I think you can do it, with LOTZ and LOTZ of work Smiley Because it isn't a piece hard to sight read(i did it often), it's a hard piece to interpret, and play VERY cleanly. Best of lucks Smiley
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zheer
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« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2006, 06:30:57 AM »

it isn't a piece hard to sight read(i did it often), it's a hard piece to interpret, and play VERY cleanly. Best of lucks Smiley

  Yes thats spot on, the sonata has lots of diminished arppegios, lots and lots of chromatic scale both LH and RH, and fantastic octave passages and grand romantic chords. The rest of the sonata consists of slow variation on the theme which appears on the first page. As you know unlike other sonatas its not devided into separate MVT. AM glad we agree about the sight reading process. Cool
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brewtality
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« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2006, 09:40:11 AM »

I think you will give up before you have got it in your fingers.
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m
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« Reply #24 on: September 01, 2006, 06:25:16 PM »

This is an interesting quote from the musicologist, composer and pianist Tovey, writing about the late Beethoven sonatas; however the idea is applicable also in this case!

"...It is no use deferring the study of such music until you feel ripe for it... Those who recognise that they are unready for it must remember that experience cannot come except by experience; and therefore its foundations must be well and truly laid in youth.  No criticism is so mean and mischievous as that which discourages young players from playing great music accurately because 'correctness is not enough.'  Who supposes that?  But when your accuracy has become habitual you will be able to think of the music without thinking of yourself..."


I am not sure who is Tovey, but his opinion (as mine) is very personal and subjective.
I will disagree with his (hers?) passage (at least partially). My pick on it--there is nothing bad or wrong with learning or/and working on those pieces. There is big difference though between ready to play and ready to PERFORM. I myself learnt Liszt Sonata, along with Schubert B-Flat Major and HammerKlavier in my twenties and I could play them (I don't have any technical difficulties on piano, whatsoever). If you ask me if I am ready to PERFORM these pieces? No. Now, almost two decades later still not.

Quote
Of course reading for inspiration never hurt anybody, but I want to present the reverse side of the coin here: that music is in the end music, and can also be understood from its own point of view.

Yes, music is music. But.... Don't forget, for us performers it is only a media through which we express ourselves, i.e. our ideas, understanding of life, feelings, etc. Ultimately, it is the question not even of how talented or musical you are, but WHO YOU ARE. In this respect education (including reading, thinking, learning, travelling, experiencing new things, etc.) is one the most important part of the path for preparation for something like Liszt Sonata.
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mephisto
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« Reply #25 on: September 01, 2006, 06:30:53 PM »

Great posts.

I recomend everybody to read Alan Walker`s Liszt biography.

It may scare you away from learning this sonata  Tongue
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zheer
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« Reply #26 on: September 01, 2006, 08:00:17 PM »

 Yes i know what you mean by learning and performing marik, me too i will only play this sonata to myself.
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steinway43
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« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2006, 09:40:39 AM »

Great posts.

I recomend everybody to read Alan Walker`s Liszt biography.

It may scare you away from learning this sonata  Tongue

Uh....could you elaborate a bit here? I'm most curious. Smiley

As to the piece and learning it, see my comments here: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,21878.0.html

Generally speaking, I tend to think someone who is ready for this would not be asking. But if you are considering it, be honest with yourself about your ability to take an audience on an amazing musical journey. You're at the helm of something very big here and I've heard a lot of so-so recordings that, while technically quite good, leave me very bored because they don't really seem to understand the piece.

It's truly for people for whom technique isn't any issue at all. If you have to struggle with technique to play it then you'll never master it musicallly.




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mephisto
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« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2006, 03:17:36 PM »

Sorry, but I think you have to read the book. His englisg is soo much better than mine.

The difficulties discussed in the book are purely musical.
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cmg
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« Reply #29 on: November 22, 2006, 03:28:10 PM »

If you have the good taste to appreciate the profound implications of this piece and the intelligence to recognize its formidable technical/musical problems (which I think you do), then go for it!  You're a young man, yes?  You have the rest of your life to grow up with this masterpiece.  I'd start work on it today, if I were you.
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zheer
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« Reply #30 on: November 22, 2006, 06:00:12 PM »

.  I'd start work on it today, if I were you.

  Thanks cmg, well i have sight read through all the piano sonatas of Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin and learnt a number of them. Recently i decided to sight read through the Liszt sonata, i believe that this sonata along with the Hammerklavier by Beethoven and Choipn sonata in B minor are the most demanding.However suprisingly enough i dont think the Liszt sonata beyond the reach of any pianist, its a little like climbing a mountin, it takes time and courage, thats all. Cool
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franzliszt2
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« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2006, 08:41:25 PM »

The Liszt sonata is a massive massive piece. It requires a lot of hard work techncally, and musically. The big passages appear ok at first, but when you try to do it at speed, it all becomes a problem. It is a piece which you can learn a lot from, in fact after doing the Liszt sonata, I felt like I had learnt more about the piano than from doing anyother piece.

Learn it in sections, and make sure you know the piece inside out before starting it. I wpuld recomend taking a week away from the piano studying it, instead of diving straight in. Take a week to study score, develop some ideas etc.. Also when leaning it don't listen to recordings, as they will seriously dishearten you. Then aim to finish learning notes in about 4-5 weeks, and then the work really begins! It's a true warhorse of a piece. I've studied it and would not claim I can play it well, it's just so complex musically. The slow bits are just so hard to make interesting, it's easy to bore people to death with the slow bits. It's easy to be swallowed up in the pianistic side of the music, but I think that the piece is not meant to be pianistic at all. I mean all the big virtuosic sections are meant to be conflict or something. Nit pianistic showmanship.

Best of luck with it, just don't quit, I can guarantee you will want to at one point in it, but just stick at it, and keep pushing forwards and doing it slowly everyday,  Smiley
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zheer
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« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2006, 08:54:23 PM »

The Liszt sonata is a massive massive piece.

  Yes Franzliszt2 thats an accurate discription of this sonata. Like you said its easy to bore the listner, infact when Brahms heard it played by Liszt for the first, he said that he found it way too boring.All the best.
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2006, 04:00:38 AM »

The Liszt Sonata is one of my favorite pieces. The difficulty is in its length and variation of expression. It constantly changes throughout in musical character. The great difficulty I have found with it is controlling your expression, this peice is often played in competitions and I hear it played waaay over the top which sound bad and I also hear it played too meekly which is worse. You require a great deal of understanding and a refined taste as to what piano music should sound like to tackle this beast. I do not believe the notes are difficult at all, in fact I have seen a 12 year old manage to keep it under their hands, but the expression requires a matured musical mind.

Still I dislike talking about a piece in general, would be nice to focus on particular sections, our discussion could be a lot more useful then.
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