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Topic: Un Sospiro  (Read 18654 times)

Offline pianist21

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Un Sospiro
on: September 30, 2016, 12:32:02 AM
Hello! I am beginning to work on Un Sospiro by Liszt, and I noticed that on the Henle website the difficulty is rated 7/8 out of 9. I know that difficulty ratings are very subjective and vary from person to person, but in general, would you say this is a relatively accurate rating in relation to other pieces of the same difficulty level?

Offline jeffok

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Re: Un Sospiro
Reply #1 on: October 01, 2016, 01:45:44 PM
Hi Pianist 21.

Well, since nobody else has replied...

I haven't spent time exploring the Henle website so I don't know about their difficulty ratings. I can only rate the difficulty of Un Sospiro in relation to some of Liszt's other etudes. I'd say it's easier than La Leggierezza and Gnomenreigen, but harder than Waldesrauschen. And, I'd say it's easier than any of the Paganini Etudes and easier than most of the Transcendental Etudes.

Your post indicates that you understand the subjectivity of difficulty ratings. I don't know if you're studying with a teacher or not. Either way, I'd gently encourage you to not pay too much attention to such things. If you're good enough to take on Un Sospiro, ratings don't really matter. They can be useful for keeping a student in lower or intermediate grades from music that's still way too difficult for them to bash their heads against, or from music that might damage their hands. Beyond that point though, such difficulty ratings seem to have little point than to allow a student pianist "bragging rights" - "I'm working on a piece that's rated 8!" (that sort of thing). To use one of the favourite (yep, Canada) rhetorical devices (paralepsis) of a current US Presidential candidate, "I'm not saying that's how you're using difficulty ratings, but some people do use them that way."

Having said all of the above, you should know that although I'm an experienced and reasonably capable musician, I'm only a fair pianist. With a few hours practice to revive them, I could "bash" my way through Un Sospiro or La Leggierezza, but they would be laden with more wrong notes than Schnabel or Cortot on their worst days (and would be without their brilliant interpretive insights). What's important though is finding out how the music works - how it feels from the inside. If you work on it for a week and get nowhere, probably best to back off and pick something else. But never let somebody's difficulty rating keep you from trying a piece if it's something you're really curious about.

best wishes and happy sighing!

jeff ok

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Un Sospiro
Reply #2 on: October 02, 2016, 04:33:32 AM
I'm also currently studying the piece, what a coincidence! :D
To me, at this level, difficulty ratings are pure bollox, as the previous poster said. Mostly it's to prevent students from going in WAY over their heads.. also like the previous poster said.
At this point I'm just rambling, but that's okay ;D Anyways, have fun. Remember that with Liszt, the cadenzas are usually the tricky bits that will send a rating up through the roof; but they're not always the hardest parts (at least to me). Just remember to keep loose always, and to have fun!
Happy practicing!

Offline jeffok

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Re: Un Sospiro
Reply #3 on: October 02, 2016, 12:36:10 PM
And I agree with most of what Chopin Lover 1 said - not just because they agreed with most of what I said. Their comment about the cadenzas in Liszt was spot on. They're often not nearly as tough as they look or sound (and would say that applies in Un Sospiro). For me, the "sticky bit" are the 6 bars that precede the 2nd cadenza. I think they're probably the toughest bars in the piece (though other hands/techniques may disagree, of course).

best wishes,
jeff ok

Offline symphonicdance

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Re: Un Sospiro
Reply #4 on: October 02, 2016, 02:51:25 PM
According to the UK ABRSM diploma syllabus, this piece belongs to the licentiate level.

https://www.abrsm.org/fileadmin/user_upload/diplomas/performance/performanceDiplomaFull.pdf

pg. 39

You can benchmark the difficulty of this piece.  However, some one may argue that the range of technical difficulty within the licentiate level is already quite wide.

Offline browhat

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Re: Un Sospiro
Reply #5 on: August 26, 2022, 02:42:01 AM
To whoever said it, un sospiro is NOT easier than all of the paganini etudes  :-\. I think you seriously underestimate the difficulty. (I say this respectfully). The 4th paganini etude is a walk in the park compared to un sospiro. I also think the 1st paganini etude is much easier. 5th is debatably more or less difficult, but only half the paganini etudes 2, 3, and 6 are undoubtedly all harder. Btw the 4th paganini etude is the easiest etude liszt ever composed. Un sospiro is musically extremely challenging also. I'd say its the second hardest concert etude behind la leggierezza. Its also harder than transcendental etudes 1, 2 and 3.

Offline lelle

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Re: Un Sospiro
Reply #6 on: August 26, 2022, 04:36:28 PM
Whoever it is NOT easier than all of the paganini etudes  :-\. I think you seriously underestimate the difficulty. (I say this respectfully). The 4th paganini etude is a walk in the park compared to un sospiro. I also think the 1st paganini etude is much easier. 5th is debatably more or less difficult, but only half the paganini etudes 2, 3, and 6 are undoubtedly all harder. Btw the 4th paganini etude is the easiest etude liszt ever composed. Un sospiro is musically extremely challenging also. I'd say its the second hardest concert etude behind la leggierezza. Its also harder than transcendental etudes 1, 2 and 3.

Difficulty can be a subjective thing though. I think gnomenreigen has tricky things to deal with too.

Offline browhat

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Re: Un Sospiro
Reply #7 on: August 28, 2022, 10:34:22 PM
Difficulty can be a subjective thing though. I think gnomenreigen has tricky things to deal with too.

That is one hundred percent true. As per whether gnomenreigen is more difficult is subjective. However what is not subjective is that un sospiro is far tougher than paganini etude 4.

Offline lelle

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Re: Un Sospiro
Reply #8 on: September 05, 2022, 08:43:51 PM
That is one hundred percent true. As per whether gnomenreigen is more difficult is subjective. However what is not subjective is that un sospiro is far tougher than paganini etude 4.

I haven't played either properly but I think I can agree to that looking at the scores.
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