\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Poll

The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)

Liszt Réminiscences de Don Juan
1 (5.6%)
Liszt Transcendental Étude No.4 ''Mazeppa''
2 (11.1%)
Liszt Transcendental Étude No.5 ''Feux Follets''
1 (5.6%)
Liszt Transcendental Étude No.12 ''Chasse-Neige''
0 (0%)
Balakirev Islamey Opus 18
0 (0%)
Busoni Fantasia Contrappuntistica
0 (0%)
Chopin Ballade No.1 Opus 23
0 (0%)
Chopin Étude Opus 25 No.10
0 (0%)
Chopin Étude Opus 25 No.11
0 (0%)
Chopin Étude Opus 25 No.12
0 (0%)
Liszt Sonata In B Minor
0 (0%)
Horowitz Carmen Variations
0 (0%)
Tausig Halka Fantasy Opus 2
0 (0%)
Rachmaninoff Sonata No.2 Opus 36
0 (0%)
Cziffra Sabre Dance
0 (0%)
Cziffra Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka
0 (0%)
Liszt Hexameron
0 (0%)
Liszt Réminiscences de Norma
0 (0%)
Liszt Rigoletto Paraphrase
0 (0%)
Liszt Grand Galop Chromatique
0 (0%)
Liszt Dante Sonata
0 (0%)
Chopin Ballade No.4 Opus 52
0 (0%)
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.2
1 (5.6%)
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No.6
0 (0%)
Thalberg Moses Fantasy Opus 33
0 (0%)
Ravel Gaspard de la nuit
3 (16.7%)
Liszt Paganini Étude No.2
0 (0%)
Sorabji Opus Clavicembalisticum
0 (0%)
Beethoven Sonata No.29 Opus 106 ''Hammerklavier''
2 (11.1%)
Alkan Concerto For Solo Piano Opus 39 No.8
1 (5.6%)
Liszt Mephisto Waltz No.1
0 (0%)
Scriabin Sonata No.4 Opus 30
0 (0%)
Scriabin Sonata No.5 Opus 53
0 (0%)
Scriabin Sonata No.8 Opus 66
0 (0%)
Scriabin Sonata No.9 Opus 68
0 (0%)
Chopin Grande Polonaise Brillante Opus 22
0 (0%)
Beethoven Diabelli Variations Opus 120
0 (0%)
Prokofiev Toccata Opus 11
1 (5.6%)
Stravinsky Three Movements From Petrushka
1 (5.6%)
Dohnányi Concert Étude Opus 28 No.6 ''Capriccio''
0 (0%)
Hofmann Impressions No.3 ''The Sanctuary''
0 (0%)
Bach Goldberg Variations BWV 988
2 (11.1%)
Plinkovsky Hinton Variations
1 (5.6%)
Godowsky Passacaglia
1 (5.6%)
Villa-Lobos Rudepoema
0 (0%)
Schubert Wanderer Fantasie Opus 15
0 (0%)
Liszt Legende No.2
0 (0%)
Chopin Sonata No.2 Opus 35
1 (5.6%)
Mussorgsky Pictures At An Exhibition
0 (0%)
Moszkowski Caprice Espagnol Opus 37
0 (0%)
Liszt Totentanz
0 (0%)
Chopin Polonaise No.5 Opus 44
0 (0%)
Scriabin Étude Opus 8 No.12
0 (0%)
Rachmaninoff Prelude Opus 23 No.5
0 (0%)
Schumann Toccata Opus 7
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 18

The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos) (Read 5277 times)

Offline joseffy

  • PS Silver Member
  • Newbie
  • ***
  • Posts: 10
The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
« on: November 04, 2012, 04:26:14 PM »
if someone know other piece,please notify me

Offline scherzo123

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 481
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012, 07:25:54 PM »
I don't know some of these pieces, so I can't vote...the difficulties of pieces are subjective anyways...

Bach Goldberg Variations is pretty difficult.
Bach Prelude and Fugue BWV848
Beethoven Piano Sonata Op.13
Chopin Etude Op.10 No.4
Chopin Scherzo Op.31
Mussorgsky "The Great Gate of Kiev" from Pictures at an Exhibition

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16663
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 07:38:44 PM »
When will we ever escape this nonsense??

A quick search of this site will reveal enough "difficulty" threads to last a lifetime.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline ahinton

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 12057
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 07:59:04 PM »
When will we ever escape this nonsense??
When we quit this forum, I suspect - and not a moment sooner, I fear. Quite what gets people going on this kind of thing is as far beyond me as it appears to be beyond you - but it does so nevertheless, over and over again and, as you rightly observe, the forum is full of it, which is all the more absurd when one realises that almost everyone here ought already to know that it's a toss-up between Michael Ferneyhough's Tractopus Clavisynaphai, Wolfgang Amadeus Chopin's Für Elise and Kaikhosru Shapurji Godowsky's Hammerklavier étude. Surely even Valentina Lisitsa knows that!

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline thalbergmad

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 16663
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #4 on: November 04, 2012, 08:12:56 PM »
The answer is of course Alexander Plinkovsky's Variations on a Theme by Hinton.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #5 on: November 04, 2012, 11:02:51 PM »
The answer is of course Alexander Plinkovsky's Variations on a Theme by Hinton.

Thal

Oooooh! Do post the sheets! The world needs more Plinkovsky.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ahinton

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 12057
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #6 on: November 04, 2012, 11:14:08 PM »
The world needs more Plinkovsky.
Does it really? I cannot say, since I've never heard a note of his work and would not even have heard of him at all had it not been for Thal's various references. I presume that the person to whom Thal also refers as having provided material on which said AP's reputedly written variations must be the English composer Arthur Hinton (1869-1941), to whom (as I have had cause to note on several previous occasions) I happen not to be related.

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #7 on: November 04, 2012, 11:30:28 PM »
I presume that the person to whom Thal also refers as having provided material on which said AP's reputedly written variations must be the English composer Arthur Hinton (1869-1941

That would be something of a disappointment.  Nothing against Arthur Hinton, with whose works I am sadly unfamiliar.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline pytheamateur

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 645
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #8 on: November 04, 2012, 11:38:08 PM »
Certainly not Sorabji's music.  It's the least overplayed music out of the list.  Even most of the informed music critics have little idea how it should sound.  There's therefore much room for the pianist to bring out an original interpretation.  Also, he probably does not need as much effort to learn Sorabji's music, in order to create the intended impression on the audience.

Beethoven - Sonata in C sharp minor, Op 27 No 12
Chopin - Fantasie Impromptu, Nocturn in C sharp minor, Op post
Brahms - Op 118, Nos 2 & 3

Offline ahinton

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 12057
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #9 on: November 04, 2012, 11:41:19 PM »
That would be something of a disappointment.
For whom and on precisely what specific grounds?

I have to say that I am unable to feel any personal disappointment that nothing of mine has ever (at least to my knowledge) had variations upon it written by a composer that has no known existence outside of the esteemed Thal's fertile imagination.

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #10 on: November 04, 2012, 11:48:47 PM »
a composer that has no known existence outside of the esteemed Thal's fertile imagination.

He lives in the heart and minds of many of us, right next door to Santa Claus.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4903
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #11 on: November 04, 2012, 11:54:32 PM »
I know all of these pieces!

It's subjective...   ::) ::) ::)
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline emrysmerlin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #12 on: November 05, 2012, 12:19:13 AM »
IMO once you reach a certain level, technical difficulties do not seem as much as a challenge as to whether one can execute the intended musicality (such as Scriabin).
One cannot really select one as the most difficult piece, though pieceS, IMO, is another matter.

Offline outin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 8213
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #13 on: November 05, 2012, 09:03:34 AM »
IMO once you reach a certain level, technical difficulties do not seem as much as a challenge as to whether one can execute the intended musicality

Shhhhh...we do not want a certain member of this forum to hear that... :o

Offline pianist1976

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 506
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #14 on: November 05, 2012, 10:17:15 AM »
I like the fact we are comparing a few hours long composition such as Opus Clav. vs a 1 minute etude by Chopin. Otherwise, while I'm sharing the opinion about these lists are worthless cr**, it's curious that Bach's works never use to appear on them...

Offline ahinton

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 12057
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #15 on: November 05, 2012, 11:53:40 AM »
I like the fact we are comparing a few hours long composition such as Opus Clav. vs a 1 minute etude by Chopin. Otherwise, while I'm sharing the opinion about these lists are worthless cr**, it's curious that Bach's works never use to appear on them...
Who's "we"? I agree that comparing OC with a one-minute-long étude - even one by the same composer - in any context is beyond absurd, but some people here do nevertheless seem determinedly to maintain an obsession with this kind of thing...

Yawn...

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline pianist1976

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 506
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #16 on: November 05, 2012, 01:47:34 PM »
 :P

Offline emrysmerlin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #17 on: November 05, 2012, 03:13:15 PM »
At least not that many people voted this time (not trying to be offensive to Joseffy here)

Anyways, the most difficult pieces sometimes don't sound or look as difficult. Listen to the Busoni Concerto for instance (I am aware that Joseffy specifically said "not including the concertos", though I cannot think of another work that can better demonstrate my point.) Obviously other pieces like the Rach 3, which is soloist dominant, would be pushed to be called officially the most difficult concerto - since it has more show-offy bits and the piano bit actually contributes mostly to making it beautiful - and hence it would make more sense for people to set an aim on tackling it.

Now that the Rach 3 is conquered, people are looking for obscure pieces that can beat it in terms of technical difficulties. The first part of the finale of Prok 2 is slightly impractical when considering the tempo, when we're doing this in exchange for such insignificant sounds (Though I brought this up myself I will not argue with anyone regarding this). Still many worship it for its technical demands, although there is no doubt it is a very beautiful piece.

If you're really looking for a hardest piece that is actually playable, then Boulez 2 is probably the answer. Doesn't sound that hard, does it?

Offline asuhayda

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 285
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #18 on: November 05, 2012, 07:33:04 PM »
the most difficult pieces sometimes don't sound or look as difficult.

Truth.

Example... I've learned ten pages of a Beethoven Sonata in less time than it has taken me to learn 3 pages of a Bach Fugue.  Beethoven looks harder, Bach is harder.
~ if you want to know what I'm working on.. just ask me!

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #19 on: November 05, 2012, 11:06:17 PM »
Example... I've learned ten pages of a Beethoven Sonata in less time than it has taken me to learn 3 pages of a Bach Fugue.  Beethoven looks harder, Bach is harder.

I'm guessing those ten pages weren't the Hammerklavier fugue.

** realises what I've just done. Hides in corner
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline iansinclair

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1472
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #20 on: November 06, 2012, 01:08:40 AM »
Bach is, or can be, extremely technically challenging.  And on that criterion -- probably the only valid one, pick a piece...

But you folks are pikers.  If you really truly want hard, technically, the hardest piece I ever tried to play -- and I never really did master it -- is the great Bach Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, BWV 552, known as "Ste. Anne" (since it uses the hymn tune Ste. Anne as the first subject of the fugue).  It is a marvelous prelude; not that outrageous -- but the fugue is beyond compare; a triple fugue in eight voices (except at the end, 10)  and uses, believe me, the full resources of a really big organ.  Get a recording of it and listen to it (and analyse it!) if you can.
Ian

Offline j_menz

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 10150
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #21 on: November 06, 2012, 01:16:42 AM »
Bach is, or can be, extremely technically challenging.  And on that criterion -- probably the only valid one, pick a piece...

But you folks are pikers.  If you really truly want hard, technically, the hardest piece I ever tried to play -- and I never really did master it -- is the great Bach Prelude and Fugue in E flat major, BWV 552, known as "Ste. Anne" (since it uses the hymn tune Ste. Anne as the first subject of the fugue).  It is a marvelous prelude; not that outrageous -- but the fugue is beyond compare; a triple fugue in eight voices (except at the end, 10)  and uses, believe me, the full resources of a really big organ.  Get a recording of it and listen to it (and analyse it!) if you can.

IMO, probably the greatest of all Bach's works.  Almost tempted to learn to pedal an organ just to play it properly.

There are also solo piano transcriptions of this by both Busoni and Max Reger.  Only for the brave or foolhardy.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline chopin2015

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2134
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #22 on: November 06, 2012, 04:22:30 AM »
I think a more useful thread would be "list the most difficult piece you have worked on, and tell us how long it took you to get somewhere with it" Then, I would be happy.
"Beethoven wrote in three flats a lot. That's because he moved twice."

Offline emrysmerlin

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 119
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #23 on: November 06, 2012, 08:39:25 AM »
That would be different for different people. I can work on the Chopin first, and then tell you the Liszt is easier; while you can work on the Liszt first, and then tell me Chopin is easier.

Offline sasuke_10

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 29
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #24 on: November 15, 2012, 08:07:57 PM »
You forgot to mention this one:

Since Lisitsa says it's one of the hardest she played, it's one of the hardest in the world!

Offline chopianologue

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 44
Re: The Most Difficult Piano Piece (Not Including The Concertos)
«Reply #25 on: November 20, 2012, 06:55:21 PM »
Except the length:
Mazeppa is pretty brutal.
Rondo Fantastique. Oh my... I've tried it once upon a time. Oh my...