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Topic: What makes Prokofiev's Toccata so difficult?  (Read 4992 times)

Offline mwakin21

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What makes Prokofiev's Toccata so difficult?
on: December 31, 2015, 06:58:42 AM
I've been working on this piece recently as a sort of long-term project, and I feel I've done pretty well so far with it. The notes fit well under my hands, and I have a good feel for the mood of it all. The piece is tough for sure, but what is it that makes pianists so nervous about it? Granted, I still play through it rather slowly; will the legendary challenge come as I bring it up to speed?
As I see it, it's only about four minutes long, and the difficult techniques that appear seem to come and go pretty quickly, except of course for the fast chromatic thirds and the fact that you're hardly allowed to pause throughout the whole thing. So what is it that makes it infamously tough? Am I likely to hit a wall at some point, or is this just a piece that comes surprisingly naturally to me? Any warnings are appreciated.
Currently working on:
Prokofiev - Toccata in D Minor
Debussy - Suite Bergamasque
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Offline briansaddleback

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Re: What makes Prokofiev's Toccata so difficult?
Reply #1 on: December 31, 2015, 09:25:29 AM
I don't know this piece but it is a tocatta. It is sustained and relentless high tempo work so often with necessity of brilliance of technical aspects.
One of the major reasons I see behind students at my school those who excel more than others with similar technical sets is the ability to sustain playing ability throughout. Having stamina.

In suite bergamasque the two I can say have tocatta like parts in it are prelude and passepied.
Prelude has short bursts of brilliant high tempi like aspects in it but there are plenty of places to rest so it isn't a tocatta of course but it reminds me of one. Passepied is most difficult of the suite due to its sustained and relentless movement and progression. And eventually putting all the pieces together flowingly in one nice arcing performance sweep.
The feeling I get some students have who can't take a larger work and put it together soundly is because of they can't transition smoothly from one phrase to another as the piece moves along due to no stamina
So in short, practice for stamina I would generally say.
Work in progress:

Rondo Alla Turca

Offline mwakin21

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Re: What makes Prokofiev's Toccata so difficult?
Reply #2 on: January 06, 2016, 06:25:30 AM
I understand the difficulty present in any toccata, and I'll certainly build up the endurance to play it with time, but what is it that makes this piece in particular tough? I can hear Ravel's or Schumann's and understand why people regard them the way that they do, but the source of the difficulty in this one eludes me.
Currently working on:
Prokofiev - Toccata in D Minor
Debussy - Suite Bergamasque
 

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