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Topic: Pieces around the same difficulty as...  (Read 4544 times)

Offline chopinawesome

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Pieces around the same difficulty as...
on: February 23, 2017, 06:23:51 AM
Scriabin's 9th sonata and Brahms's Schumann variations. Just curious since they aren't often performed.
Beethoven Op 2/2
Chopin Op 20, maybe op 47/38
Debussy Etude 7
Grieg Op 16
Want to do:
Chopin Concerti 1 and 2
Beethoven Waldstein
Ravel Miroirs

Offline chopinawesome

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 03:32:49 AM
Anyone?
Beethoven Op 2/2
Chopin Op 20, maybe op 47/38
Debussy Etude 7
Grieg Op 16
Want to do:
Chopin Concerti 1 and 2
Beethoven Waldstein
Ravel Miroirs

Offline georgey

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 04:08:46 AM
Anyone?

You said anyone and I am someone.  The Brahms Schumann variations op. 9 are a fantastic set!  The difficulties are maybe more interpretative than technical.  The set takes about 18 minutes to perform.  Most of the time is in slower tempos and the piece ends with the 16th variation that is an adagio.

I would say this set is about as hard as the Mendelsohn Variations Serieuses op. 54 on both a technical and interpretative basis.  The Mendelsohn set only takes about 13 minutes but has about as many difficult parts on a time weighted basis.

Offline chopinawesome

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #3 on: March 06, 2017, 02:47:52 AM
Are you sure the Schumann variations are just as hard as Mendelssohn variations Op.54? How would the schumann variations compare with other brahms variations?
Beethoven Op 2/2
Chopin Op 20, maybe op 47/38
Debussy Etude 7
Grieg Op 16
Want to do:
Chopin Concerti 1 and 2
Beethoven Waldstein
Ravel Miroirs

Offline georgey

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #4 on: March 06, 2017, 04:15:12 AM
Are you sure the Schumann variations are just as hard as Mendelssohn variations Op.54? How would the schumann variations compare with other brahms variations?

To determine the difficulty of a piece, I would look (if I could) at the amount of time it would take for an average accomplished pianist to learn the piece to concert performance level assuming the pianist had never seen the piece before.  If piece A takes 200 hours to learn and piece B takes 400 hours, then I consider piece B to be twice as hard as piece A. Of course pieces that have a longer performance time (excluding any repeats) will take longer to learn, everything else being equal.  

Q: Are you sure the Schumann variations are just as hard as Mendelssohn variations Op.54?
A: No.  I would have to spend more time looking at this.  Even then I would not be sure.  Without spending more time, I feel fairly confident the Mendelsohn Op 54 and Brahms Op 9 are in the same ballpark.  If I had to pick, I would say the Mendelsohn is a little tougher than the Brahms.

Q: How would the schumann variations compare with other brahms variations?
A:  The Op 24 Handel variations and fugue and the 2 books of Paganini variations op35 are of course in a totally different ball park.

The Op. 21 No 1 is a gem!!  Without repeats it takes about 10 minutes to perform (16 minutes with repeats).  I would say this is perhaps in some ways significantly more difficult than the op. 9 (played without using the "piu facile" alternatives).  Overall perhaps about tied with the op 9.

The Op. 21 No 2:  Like the op 9 (and the op 54 of Mendelsohn), there are no repeats.  This set takes about 7 minutes to perform.  I would say this is the easiest (although not easy) of the Brahms variations.

What are your thoughts?

Offline georgey

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #5 on: March 07, 2017, 02:59:46 AM
I should maybe explain the difference between 1) total difficulty of a piece and 2) average difficulty per unit time of a piece.  This may shed some light on the question:  Which piece is more difficult?

Example:  Which is more difficult?  A) The entire Bach WTC book 1 (110 minutes long to play), or 2) Liszt Transcendental etude #5 - 1837 version (3 minutes long to play)?

Say it took an accomplished pianist 800 hours to learn the WTC book 1 from scratch and it took him 400 hours to learn the Liszt etude from scratch, then I would say the WTC book 1 is twice as difficult as the Liszt etude on a TOTAL basis.  But the average time it took to learn 1 minute of the WTC is 800 hours/110 minutes = 7.27 hours per minute.  The average time it took to learn 1 minute of the Liszt etude is 400 hours/3 minutes = 133.33 hours per minute.  The makes the Liszt about 18 times more difficult to learn a minute of music compared to the WTC.

Of course if you are asking the question just for fun, it doesn’t really matter.  ;)  It is fun to discuss the difficulty of pieces.  :)

Offline chopinawesome

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #6 on: March 07, 2017, 06:11:34 AM
 So based on score, the op.9 doesn't look to hard. But there are probably a lot of musical issues. The Mendelssohn is a very beautiful piece and one of my favorites. The score looks kind of hard though ??? So have you seen the Scriabin or heard it? What are your thoughts on that piece?

Also, I am thinking of adding schumann to this topic. Like Op.26 and 12. What do you think about those pieces?
Beethoven Op 2/2
Chopin Op 20, maybe op 47/38
Debussy Etude 7
Grieg Op 16
Want to do:
Chopin Concerti 1 and 2
Beethoven Waldstein
Ravel Miroirs

Offline georgey

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #7 on: March 07, 2017, 06:26:45 AM
So based on score, the op.9 doesn't look to hard. But there are probably a lot of musical issues. The Mendelssohn is a very beautiful piece and one of my favorites. The score looks kind of hard though ??? So have you seen the Scriabin or heard it? What are your thoughts on that piece?

Also, I am thinking of adding schumann to this topic. Like Op.26 and 12. What do you think about those pieces?

I did a quick listen to both Mendelsohn Op 54 and Brahms Op 9 and scribbled some notes but I guess I threw out the notes because I can’t find them.  I looked at the amount of time I thought the music was hard, medium hard and easy.   You are correct that there are a lot of easy in the Brahms.  If I remember the Mendelsohn had something like 3.5 minutes that were hard and 3.5 minutes that were medium hard compared to 2.5 minutes of hard for the Brahms and 4.5 minutes of medium hard.  About 11 minutes of the Brahms was easy.

Sorry, I don’t know Scriabin.  I'll may let someone else take the Schumann.

Offline georgey

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #8 on: March 07, 2017, 07:21:08 AM
Why not google the answer?  I did a search just now and you are correct.  Here is what 1 site (G Henle) has:

Brahms op.9 – level 7
Brahms op 21 No 1 – Level 6/7
Brahms op 21 No 2 – Level 7
Mendelsohn Op 54 – Level 8 – YOU ARE CORRECT – IT IS TOUGHER.
Brahms op. 24 (Handel variations with fugue) – Level 8/9
Brahms Paganini variations op 35 – Level 9

This goes along pretty much with what I thought except for Mendelsohn and Brahms Op 21 No 1.  I still think Op 21 No 1 (not playing the piu facile alternatives) is harder than Op 21 No 2.  I will review the Op. 54 some more though and see where I went wrong in my calculation.  I don't play piano so I'm at a disadvantage. I'm a retired actuary.  You did ask for anyone and I am someone.  ;)

Best wishes!   :)

Offline visitor

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AGNEW AND EIGES Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #9 on: March 07, 2017, 12:44:45 PM
For similar challenges to mid and late Scriabin sonatas take a look at some of the Roy Agnew sonatas.
Ie


Also in the mix i would put some Eiges in there as well

Offline chopinawesome

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #10 on: March 07, 2017, 03:17:59 PM
 I really like the Eiges Sonata.

I don't really like henle ratings. IMHO, many pieces are overrated and underrated. Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata is listed as a 7/8, meaning that it is the same level of grand sonata op.7 and harder than op2/3, op.10/3 , and 90. Scherzo no.4 op.54 by Chopin is given a level 7.
Beethoven Op 2/2
Chopin Op 20, maybe op 47/38
Debussy Etude 7
Grieg Op 16
Want to do:
Chopin Concerti 1 and 2
Beethoven Waldstein
Ravel Miroirs

Offline georgey

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Re: Pieces around the same difficulty as...
Reply #11 on: March 07, 2017, 08:20:03 PM
I really like the Eiges Sonata.

I don't really like henle ratings. IMHO, many pieces are overrated and underrated. Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata is listed as a 7/8, meaning that it is the same level of grand sonata op.7 and harder than op2/3, op.10/3 , and 90. Scherzo no.4 op.54 by Chopin is given a level 7.

I listened 1 more time to op. 54 Mendelssohn.  IMO:  I see nothing that I would say is very difficult (maybe variations 16, 17 and final presto are near very difficult).  Everything appears to fit well in the hand and is idiomatic.   Variations 2,3,4,6 and 13 I have as moderately difficult.  Variations 7, 8,9,12 16, 17 and final presto I have as difficult.  Total 2 minutes 35 seconds is moderate difficult and total 4:15 minutes is difficult.  

I now agree that Mendelsohn op. 54 is significantly more difficult than Brahms op. 9 but I see nothing that I would say is very difficult like I see in the Brahms Handel variations and fugue op. 24.  I would say that the Mendelssohn is maybe level 7/8 and is maybe more in the same class as the op. 9 of Brahms as opposed to the Brahms op. 24.  I’m leaving out Brahms op. 35 because this was written to be crazy difficult.  ALL just my opinion as a non-player.   I don’t think G Henle levels are way off in the Brahms variations and Mendelssohn op 54.  I agree that some of the Beethoven/Chopin levels as mentioned appear to be off though.  
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