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Visiting Chopin in Valldemossa
Summer means vacation time and for many also traveling places. There are countless opportunities to enjoy wonderful music during summer festivals or embark on thrilling visits to historical venues that our esteemed composers and musicians once frequented. While on vacation in Mallorca, Piano Street’s Patrick Jovell took a quick visit to Frédéric Chopin’s Valldemossa. Read more >>

Topic: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?  (Read 4818 times)

Offline chopin2256

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Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
on: June 02, 2004, 11:53:54 PM
What defines a hard piano piece anyway?  Just by listening to the piece, it seems very hard and complicated...his score looks very complicated at a first glance as well, but if you break it down, its not as bad as it looks.  Its just long.  Dont get me wrong, its very scary looking and difficult...but still, the hardest?  By browsing through his score, I can see that he doesn't really follow too many of the traditional rules, and he uses alot of 16th, 32, and maybe some 64th notes.  Also, there are alot of irregular note groups....However the left hand for the most part is in sync with right hand, despite his irregular patterns.  (the right hand notes divided by the left hand notes = a whole number)  So even his irregular note patterns arent THAT hard to play.  I am pretty sure there are alot of very hard piano pieces out there, that may be just as hard, and be very regular compared to his concerto composition.  In my opinion, I think the readability, and the way he scored his notes make people think his concerto is the hardest.
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Offline thierry13

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #1 on: June 03, 2004, 01:46:29 AM
Rach is not THE hardest,but one of the hardest... the people who say it's the hardest have not only looked on the score...but have played it...sometimes in public...so they know what they're talking about. In more of be physically hard, he is emotionally hard,and you must have certain years of piano experience to play this piece. And the longer the piece is,the longer it is to learn it:p

JK

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #2 on: June 03, 2004, 02:17:22 AM
I think, having started recently looking at the odd part of this concerto (although I'm not going to learn it for a while, I must add!), that technically it is hard, ofcourse it's Rachmaninoff after all, but all the difficulties can be managed with practice. I think what makes this piece very hard indeed is the psychological aspect of it, the idea of being at a concert performance and having going through your mind; "oh my goodness, I'm about to play Rach3!".

My teacher is an amazing pianist and he has played this piece twice, recently he said to me that he is never going to play it again. This is due to the physical strength needed and the pschological strength required to keep calm under pressure and actually produce a succesful performance. Having said all of this I really think that you don't have to be able to play rach3 in order to be a successful pianist, there are many concert pianists who have not even played a Rach concerto who are very successful. Even Rachmaninoff himself once said that he wished he hadn't made it so hard!! :D

Spatula

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #3 on: June 03, 2004, 06:14:06 AM
Yeah, the Rach 3 is good, but way too overated, ( I still like it, but I like stuff which has more of a lighter feel to it, like Chopin 1) :)

Offline Motrax

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #4 on: June 03, 2004, 03:11:23 PM
I dunno... the chords at the end of the first movement looked rather difficult to me. I don't have the score (my friend does, so I've seen it a couple times, but I'm not toooo familiar with it), but there's that one section where there are 16th-note chords which skip up and down octaves in both hands.
"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 donjuan

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #5 on: June 04, 2004, 08:26:55 AM
Rach3 is the hardest Concerto for sure...right next to some of the Bach Concertos, which are the ultimate tests of endurance.

Offline Dave_2004_G

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #6 on: June 04, 2004, 12:48:24 PM
I'll admit I haven't played any of the Bach concerti, but I find it hard to believe that they'd be up there with the likes of Tchaikovsky/Brahms/other Rach concerti in terms of difficulty...certainly seems a little odd!

Dave

Offline anda

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #7 on: June 04, 2004, 03:00:14 PM
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Rach3 is the hardest Concerto for sure...right next to some of the Bach Concertos, which are the ultimate tests of endurance.


bach concerti aren't difficult at all - you either have what it takes to play a bach concerto, and then it's easy, or you don't, and then it's impossible. (for me, it's impossible - hey, at least i'm honest and i stay away from them, even though i love them...)

and (imho) rach 3rd isn't "the hardest" - it's very difficult, especially as learning. for me, most difficult concerts as maturity, nervous and psychological resistence are brahms 1st and 2nd; and most difficult concerts technically and as physical endurance are prokofiev 2nd and 3rd and khatchaturian.

Offline sharonlovespiano

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #8 on: June 05, 2004, 08:59:24 PM
What about the first concerto of Liszt?
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Offline donjuan

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #9 on: June 06, 2004, 12:31:06 AM
The first is much easier than the Totentanz concerto or the second concerto.

f0bul0us

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #10 on: June 06, 2004, 04:07:28 AM

What defines a hard piano piece anyway?

Well, you certainly said what I was thinking!  ;D

I think what makes this piece very hard indeed is the psychological aspect of it, the idea of being at a concert performance and having going through your mind; "oh my goodness, I'm about to play Rach3!".
Just ask Martha Argerich why she doesn't play it anymore  ;). Actually, I think she's only played it three times, and that was over 10 years ago.


Rach3 is the hardest Concerto for sure

Actually, the true difficulty of this concerto comes with being able to stay in time with the orchestra. While the piano itself is still very difficult, playing it and playing it well with a full orchestra is what gives this piece its abysmally reveared reputation.


I'll admit I haven't played any of the Bach concerti, but I find it hard to believe that they'd be up there with the likes of Tchaikovsky/Brahms/other Rach concerti in terms of difficulty...certainly seems a little odd!
You're going to put Tchaikovski in the same league as Bach? ::)


most difficult concerts technically and as physical endurance are prokofiev 2nd and 3rd

Yup!

Offline goansongo

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #11 on: June 11, 2004, 02:32:15 PM
I think some of the hardest songs are from the Godowski - Chopin Etudes.  Hmm... Actually, anything transcribed by Godowski.

Offline Evgeny_Kissin

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #12 on: June 11, 2004, 03:11:44 PM
well my teacher had to learn both the rach 3 and prokofiev 3rd in one year along with 2 hours of solo works. He said the Rach 3 is extremely hard and the hardest romantic concerto

Offline DarkWind

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #13 on: June 12, 2004, 04:44:39 AM
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I think some of the hardest songs are from the Godowski - Chopin Etudes.  Hmm... Actually, anything transcribed by Godowski.


Pieces, not songs! Songs are sung! :P. Anyways, It always seemed to me that the Ravel Concerto has been largely overlooked, and it's really beautiful. It sounds hard, but I'm not sure. Anyways, the hardest pieces of course are by Sorabji, No doubt about it. Flying chords jumping up and down everywhere, insane passages, nothing beats the difficulty of Sorabji. He makes everything else look like it came from a Bastien book for beginners.

Offline ahmedito

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #14 on: June 12, 2004, 05:09:01 AM
If you mean technical dificulties, you should really look at the Liszt Paganini etudes BEFORE his Weimar revision. They´re not THAT hard, but the version of those etudes that he wrote when h was young (he very first one) is almost techically imposible.

I believe Gaspard de la nuit is EXTREMELY dificult.... bu musically, the hardest are Scarlatti sonatas!
For a good laugh, check out my posts in the audition room, and tell me exactly how terrible they are :)

Offline DarkWind

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #15 on: June 13, 2004, 12:36:46 AM
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If you mean technical dificulties, you should really look at the Liszt Paganini etudes BEFORE his Weimar revision. They´re not THAT hard, but the version of those etudes that he wrote when h was young (he very first one) is almost techically imposible.

I believe Gaspard de la nuit is EXTREMELY dificult.... bu musically, the hardest are Scarlatti sonatas!


Look at my above post. I used to think Gaspard de La Nuit was diificult. Sorabji makes this great piece seem like Bastien difficulty. If any of you have at least the Sibelius plugin for your browser, Scorch, then drop me a PM and I'll send you a copy of his Sonata which none of you will be playing any century soon. The arrangement was made by some person who needed it for a school course and I asked for it, which he gladly sent. All credit goes to him. Also, the piece I will send you, at the moment, only one person can play it. His name is Soheil Nasseri. So, go ahead and drop me a PM with your e-mail, if you want to be frightened beyond belief.

Offline rubleski

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #16 on: June 13, 2004, 03:13:31 AM
Of course not. I could write a concerto on Finale where tha piano part would be a super fast tempo throughout and have random, unpredictable notes in both hands.

Offline Motrax

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #17 on: June 13, 2004, 06:55:02 AM
Wait wait wait, Darkwind, who is this person who needed it for a school course? I am very curious... it might be one of my best friends, he was saying something about transcribing Sorabji a while back.
"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 DarkWind

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #18 on: June 13, 2004, 05:59:07 PM
His e-mail says Barry Revzin.

Offline Motrax

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #19 on: June 13, 2004, 06:46:43 PM
Hah, yeah, that's him. I've known him since we were 3... what a small world this is!
"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 eugene_oneg

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Re: Is Rachmaninoff's Concerto #3 the hardest?
Reply #20 on: June 14, 2004, 05:51:02 AM

Henselt f minor concerto is one OF the hardest romantic concerti.

I am unfamiliar with Sorabji I must say but from what I read, writing the most ridiculously difficult music seems to have been his goal.

Here ais n excerpt of an article by Jed Distler on Sorabji's Toccata No 1( length : about 1 Hours 15 Mins)
"Its opening Preludio-corale maintains a rigorous quarter-note pulse over which moves a flowing counterpoint in both lines and chords. As the movement develops, the harmonies thicken, the textures expand, and the pianist suddenly wishes that he or she had an extra hand or two. This is followed by a passacaglia with 64 variations that (again) progresses from simplicity to a kind of piano writing that resembles Busoni's Fantasia Contrappuntistica simultaneously performed by three pianists in three different keys. The third-movement cadenza resembles Opus Clavicembalisticum's similar cascades of notes. Two fugues make up the fourth movement, where the restlessness of Sorabji's harmonic language and his gift for generating unmemorable melodies by the acre make a pretty turgid combination. "
"[This work] is actually a smaller cousin, or a "beta version" if you will, to his subsequent large-scale work, the four-hour-plus Opus Clavicembalisticum".


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