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Topic: How difficult is Brahms Op 118-6?  (Read 11873 times)

Offline presto agitato

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How difficult is Brahms Op 118-6?
on: November 02, 2010, 05:26:07 AM
Intermezzo in E flat minor

Who has played it?
What makes it difficult?

Thanks
The masterpiece tell the performer what to do, and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the cocomposer what he ought to have composed.

--Alfred Brendel--
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Offline presto agitato

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Re: How difficult is Brahms Op 118-6?
Reply #1 on: November 04, 2010, 01:52:10 PM
Anybody?
The masterpiece tell the performer what to do, and not the performer telling the piece what it should be like, or the cocomposer what he ought to have composed.

--Alfred Brendel--

Offline quantum

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Re: How difficult is Brahms Op 118-6?
Reply #2 on: November 04, 2010, 06:36:30 PM
I found that it needs a lot of thought towards phrasing.  One also needs to pay attention to the sense of line as some of the technical elements may obscure this. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline birba

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Re: How difficult is Brahms Op 118-6?
Reply #3 on: November 04, 2010, 06:42:28 PM
Funny you should ask!  I wrote a paper on this piece when I was in school.  Don't ask me what I wrote.  Probably a lot of b......
This is really one of Brahms' masterpieces.  It's very obscure and difficult to understand at first.  But just keep at it and it will come to you.  The hardest technical part of the piece is the central part, of course.  But it's not impossible.  It's finding the music behind that opening  lament that I found so difficult.

Offline whistlestop

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Re: How difficult is Brahms Op 118-6?
Reply #4 on: November 10, 2010, 01:16:36 PM
I began work on this a few weeks ago and I'm still learning the notes (I'm not the most diligent practiser). I hope to include it in my licentiate diploma programme to be ready in the Spring.
There are great cluster chords that I still get wrong, and a bit of hand crossing which makes bringing out the melody a bit awkward. At my lesson yesterday it was suggested that I was perhaps overdoing the ppp - it should be relative to the other parts.
So far I have only worked through about two-thirds of it because I couldn't work out the rhythm for some dsq octaves in the bass, but now it seems quite straightforward.
Big plus is that it is slow, so there is time to work out the tricky bits

My heart sank when my teacher picked this out for me because it was so gloomy, but now I can truthfully say I am starting to love it, especially the optimistic middle section.

Offline quantum

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Re: How difficult is Brahms Op 118-6?
Reply #5 on: November 10, 2010, 11:56:47 PM
Because it is a slow piece, I would suggest fast practice in the slow parts.  Just as one practices fast music slowly, one needs to practice slow music quickly to work out the direction of those long phrases. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline blackkitty

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Re: How difficult is Brahms Op 118-6?
Reply #6 on: November 25, 2010, 04:52:41 AM
I've played the entire Brahms 118. Truely great. And guess what? No 6 was my favorite. I found the quiet first and last sections the hardest. Obtaining the perfect almost "spooky" quality to it was very difficult. Another thing to note throughout most of 118, is the contrast between the A and B sections. In No. 6 the loud middle section wasn't all to hard, just large chords.

Offline jjs238

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Re: How difficult is Brahms Op 118-6?
Reply #7 on: March 25, 2011, 09:49:16 PM
Hi, I'm new to this forum but did play this in 1996 for a recital. I loved that it has a great mixture of some 4 classics all seemingly built into it. Playing this one really is a mix of different styles and not just in the general song structure. This one has demand for technique and eloquent styles from many other masterpieces all fit into this one song. If you are one with strict time and timing, do not attempt this as it will sound boring. I myself, never follow strict time as written and I was taught more on the emotional aspect of playing my whole life. That's one of the hard parts to learning this song correctly if you ask me, you need to be able to open up a bit and keep tempo without a strict and rigid routine if you just look at the notes. This song just flows from one part to another and it's very hard to translate this one as written on paper, just my two cents.

What made this one difficult for me was just simply reading the music and then trying to figure out how to use my fingering correctly along with my hands, lol. This one seems to go up and down the keyboard and I'm more of a play by ear person so reading this one to play was most hard for me. I can read music just fine though, it's just this piece that took more analyzing if you know what I mean and the way it's written. That's the odd part, some songs are just easy to look at on paper and perform, I had to think out each note and look two and three times over while learning this one. I think it was since so much of it is off staff as written. I'm like, what is that note, since much of it is way down the keyboard in octaves I don't use on a daily basis.

Here is how I practiced though, I first heard a recording of it then listened to it over and over. This was the Van Cliburn rendition of this which I think is one of the best. This was the one song that just was all over the place on paper so I really needed to hear some recordings of it first to figure out what I was trying to do, then it all snapped into place. I know that may sound like cheating but that's how I learned it so well along with analyzing all the notes to be sure they were accurately played. Then after the first introduction is over and you move on to the next part, the faster introduction to that large sequence of chords, you just need to hear a mix of recorded versions to get an idea on how you want to interpret it as written. That's the fun with classical music, when do I slow down a bit, is this too much rubato?

Aside from that on how hard it was, it's just simply a beautiful song. I wanted to play this so much because it had a quality to it from 4 of my other top songs on my list of recital quality pieces I adore and play well. This was a mix of Moonlight Sonata 1st movement, Liebestraum no. 3, Rach. Prelude in G minor and Clair de Lune to me. Listen to them all and play this song to see what I mean, this song never bored me since it had so much variation from single notes and slowness to fast chord action. I had the chance to show power during the chordal part and subtleness with all others. I'm not a music major by the way so forgive the bland way I put things even though I play this song so gracefully and love it.

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