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When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire? (Read 1254 times)

Offline classicalnhiphop

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Don't lie, everyone at one point was obsessed with playing the most difficult sounding pieces they could find.  Not that I don't care at all, but I don't find it as enjoyable now, is all. 

Offline j_menz

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 05:39:57 AM »
I was never obsessed, nor even particularly interested, in playing anything because it was regarded as difficult.

I am, however, cursed with the pianistic equivalent of expensive taste, and there are many things I wish to play that qualify still.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline outin

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #2 on: January 27, 2015, 11:47:28 AM »
Don't lie, everyone at one point was obsessed with playing the most difficult sounding pieces they could find.  Not that I don't care at all, but I don't find it as enjoyable now, is all. 

This might apply to young males, who tend to feel the need to show off...I can assure you that it does not apply to everyone at all ;)

I tend to prefer music that sounds simpler, unfortunately it often reveals itself to be hard anyway :(

Offline diomedes

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #3 on: January 27, 2015, 03:37:32 PM »
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I am, however, cursed with the pianistic equivalent of expensive taste.

That's a good way of putting it.

I cannot comment on why people do what they do. I set my goals fairly high because it gives me purpose and the work that is put into it is always rewarding. Thus challenges are meaningful.

The night wind is probably the most overwhelmingly powerful thing ever written. It's rather difficult i'm afraid, but it's the be all and end all goal for me along with Schubert sonatas when i become a kind old man. But right now if i wanted difficult for the sake of difficult I'd go for Ligheti or Sorabji.

I'll confess i'm pawing at chopin op.25/6, but more as a fear inducing exercise. Musically i'm not in love with it at all.

Another example, I wasn't quite interested in Rachmaninov 3, then decided to listen to Argerich play it. Instant attraction. It's on my to do list. When i find my Pletnev disc and Hough as well, i'll probably give those a spin to see how i feel.
Ravel, Alborada del Gracioso
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Offline cwjalex

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #4 on: January 27, 2015, 06:10:06 PM »
i have been playing piano for about a year and a half so i still care about playing super hard repertoire.  i find it to be a good way to gauge my progress and to keep myself from hitting a plateau.  i also think it helps me improve faster because if I didn't consciously seek out difficult pieces I would end up just playing a lot of pieces that are very comfortable for me and not pushing my limits.  by learning extremely hard pieces it forces me to improve and i think you will improve faster by trying to play pieces that you cannot play rather than play many pieces that are easy and comfortable.

Offline quantum

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 09:01:49 PM »
One's definition of "super hard" may change with time as one gains skill.  What was once considered hard can become playable when one grows in experience and technique. 
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 chopincat

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #6 on: January 27, 2015, 09:24:35 PM »
I was never obsessed, nor even particularly interested, in playing anything because it was regarded as difficult.

I am, however, cursed with the pianistic equivalent of expensive taste, and there are many things I wish to play that qualify still.

That's exactly how I feel. I don't want to play things because they're difficult, but there are things that I want to play that happen to be difficult.

Offline Bob

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 11:36:23 PM »
Hm... I haven't lost interest.  I just work on technique now.

After working on a piece for six months or a few years and never finishing it... I wouldn't say I stopped caring about it, but it became more a of, "Ok, this isn't going to happen anytime soon," type of piece.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline cbreemer

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #8 on: January 28, 2015, 07:50:50 AM »
I too was besotted with super virtuoso repertoire and have butchered my way through many a piece that was light years above my abilities. I used to think that ' simpler' music like Bach or Mozart was boring. It was when I started to play Bach that this attitude gradually changed, and
I found full satisfaction in playing music that I actually could play, with the proper amount of practice (which I'd always eschewed so far ...). With finding out how hard it is to play any
piece really well, came the realization that some pieces are just too hard for an amateur, and
it is wasteful to keep trying to battle them. It was time to give up on the Concord Sonata, Rudepoema and Petrouchka to name some. Every now and them one must conquer a piece that
stretches the limits though, otherwise there is no challenge anymore. I still feel drawn to super demanding music but more the intellectually challenging repertoire than the pure pyrotechnics
every Chinese student can dash off with their eyes shut. Hamelin is my idol in that respect.
But only a tiny part of his repertoire is within my reach alas.

Online ahinton

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #9 on: January 28, 2015, 10:28:07 AM »
right now if i wanted difficult for the sake of difficult I'd go for Ligheti or Sorabji
"Ligeti", actually - but Sorabji isn't difficult for the sake of difficult; he wrote as he did because that's what he had to do, not for the sake of trying to be difficult. The sheer speed at which he wrote is just one clue that suggests that he didn't even give himself time to think about being difficult!

Likewise, Chopin's Op. 10 remain of towering difficulty, even today, but did he write those 12 seminal pieces for the sake of being difficult? Many of Godowsky's studies on them are quite incredibly difficult, but most are not the kind of repertoire that anyone would seriously consider for the purposes of "showing off" (except, perhaps, to other pianists!).

Best,

Alistair
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The Sorabji Archive

Offline ted

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #10 on: January 28, 2015, 10:32:43 AM »
In improvisation, this translates into the insidious habit of expressing yourself through physical movement instead of through sound. It seems to operate on the tacit assumption that if an idea is played with more notes, more speed, more movement, more difficulty, the musical result will be proportionately better, which common sense tells us is mostly not the case. It is a variant of the frequent notion that quality in just about anything varies in linear fashion, when in fact most such relations are much more complicated. If one man can mow a lawn in half an hour, it does not follow that a million men can mow it in a fraction of a second. The propensity is so common it verges on the ubiquitous, especially in this time of desperate preoccupation with extremes, comparisons and competition among pianists of every genre. It manifests itself, and is encouraged, on forums in the tiresome frequency of threads asking about "best", "fastest", "greatest", "hardest", "versus" and so on.

I never played much repertoire at the best of times, so I was less afflicted, but it hindered my improvisation for a while until I got rid of it.


"When I was young they said, 'Ah, wait until you are old, then you'll see.' Well, now I am old, and I have seen nothing." - Erik Satie

Offline j_menz

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #11 on: January 28, 2015, 11:37:41 AM »
but Sorabji isn't difficult for the sake of difficult; he wrote as he did because that's what he had to do, not for the sake of trying to be difficult.

That seems to me (for what that's worth) to be true.

There are some "composers" who do write to be difficult, though, and a plague upon them. It is, sadly, a way to be noticed, or to have one's shortcomings obscured.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #12 on: January 28, 2015, 12:16:48 PM »
Unless I like a piece, I soon get bored of working on it; this applies irrespective of difficulty. I've played a fair few pieces that would conventionally be considered very difficult - some of them satisfactorily, some badly, and some appallingly - but I've only applied myself to them because I like the pieces themselves. That said, I did have a time where I would gravitate to demanding repertoire because I was trying to push my technique forward. I'm more pragmatic now.

Online ahinton

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #13 on: January 28, 2015, 01:19:02 PM »
That seems to me (for what that's worth) to be true.

There are some "composers" who do write to be difficult, though, and a plague upon them. It is, sadly, a way to be noticed, or to have one's shortcomings obscured.
There are certainly some who might be said to have done so, though whether and to what extent such views might accord to the avowed intent of the composers concerned may be quite another matter; do you by chance have any particular names in mind that you would be prepared to declare here?

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline diomedes

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #14 on: January 28, 2015, 02:24:49 PM »
Quote
"Ligeti", actually - but Sorabji isn't difficult for the sake of difficult; he wrote as he did because that's what he had to do, not for the sake of trying to be difficult.

That's certainly possible. I can't admit to understanding his music, but years ago i did listen to Opus Clav. I don't think i was in a position to understand it at that point, maybe now would be different. That aside, Sorabji is the first thing people reach for when they make associations with difficult. I'm not saying it's true though.

Quote
Likewise, Chopin's Op. 10 remain of towering difficulty, even today, but did he write those 12 seminal pieces for the sake of being difficult? Many of Godowsky's studies on them are quite incredibly difficult, but most are not the kind of repertoire that anyone would seriously consider for the purposes of "showing off" (except, perhaps, to other pianists!)

I really cannot bring myself to love the chopin etudes strangely. But what some pianists can do with 25/6 is so astounding that it deserves study. I don't think they're all difficult but some of them exceed practicality. Godowsky, I don't know. Usually it's so overstuffed with notes. There's a difference between executing notes that are technically difficult and require control (Ravel Gaspard) and being asked to memorize all the notes in the world (Godowsky). His Schubert passacaglia is very attractive.

Quote
There are some "composers" who do write to be difficult, though, and a plague upon them. It is, sadly, a way to be noticed, or to have one's shortcomings obscured.

And the opposite is the case too. I think there's fairly little in Medtner, for example, that attempts to draw attention, yet it is demanding in it's own way. And it brings the person confronting those challenges to interesting places, but absolutely nowhere close to where show off composers/performers exist.
Ravel, Alborada del Gracioso
Schumann, Kreisleriana
Scriabin, Sonata nr.3
Liszt, Don Juan

Offline j_menz

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #15 on: January 28, 2015, 11:11:57 PM »
There are certainly some who might be said to have done so, though whether and to what extent such views might accord to the avowed intent of the composers concerned may be quite another matter; do you by chance have any particular names in mind that you would be prepared to declare here?

Best,

Alistair

That may be true. As to names, I feel they are best left unmentioned - though rest assured I do not count you among them.  ;)
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Online ahinton

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #16 on: January 29, 2015, 07:58:31 AM »
That may be true. As to names, I feel they are best left unmentioned - though rest assured I do not count you among them.  ;)
Your silence is understood and understandable - and thank you for your last remark!

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline Bob

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #17 on: February 01, 2015, 02:38:38 PM »
Hearing other people hack through a piece doesn't help.  I would never want to be that guy.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #18 on: February 01, 2015, 03:37:48 PM »
I stopped caring about super hard stuff when i was about 6. It is a childish obsession and music is far more important.

Besides, much of the super hard stuff is horseshit and not worth the effort.

Thal
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Online ahinton

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #19 on: February 01, 2015, 04:18:42 PM »
I stopped caring about super hard stuff when i was about 6. It is a childish obsession and music is far more important.

Besides, much of the super hard stuff is horseshit and not worth the effort.
But what qualifies anything as "super hard stuff"? In the world of the piano, some poeple still regard the most challenging music by Chopin, Liszt, Alkan, Medtner, Godowsky et al as "super hard" (although I'm not saying anything about whether it is so, or indeed what if anything might even be meant by such a description); is none of that "worth the effort" and is any of it really the the pianistic equivalent of merde du cheval?

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #20 on: February 01, 2015, 05:28:13 PM »
I was referring to the modern complexity crap or whatever it is called.

Thal
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Concerto Preservation Society

Online ahinton

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Re: When did you stop caring about playing super hard repertoire?
«Reply #21 on: February 01, 2015, 06:30:17 PM »
I was referring to the modern complexity crap or whatever it is called.
Well, whatever that may be or whatever it is to which you intended to refer (and, for the record, I've never heard "modern complexity crap" used as a standard term of definition in academic, pedagogical, critical or other circles), you didn't say so!

Is any case, who's to say that, for example, Finnissy's English Country-Tunes or fourth piano concerto, Stockhausen's Piano Piece X or Ferneyhough's Lemma-Icon-Epigram are any more "super hard" than the Chopin/Godowsky Studies or Alkan Études? These works are all indeed "super hard", if you will, but surely their respective difficulties are very different to one another?

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive