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Author Topic: Fauré's 13 Nocturnes – difficulty?  (Read 272 times)
rosejaune177
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« on: October 23, 2017, 04:28:44 PM »

There’s an old thread about this from 2005 (!) with only a couple of replies so I’ve started a new one.

I love Fauré's 13 Nocturnes and would like to learn one if possible. I was wondering what their individual challenges are. Can anybody here rate some/all of them according to difficulty? Which ones are most approachable for someone who doesn't have large hands?

Thank you!
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rosejaune177
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2017, 09:54:47 AM »

So nobody can tell me anything about these Nocturnes? Cry Huh

Maybe it would have been a better idea to put "Chopin" in the title...
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dogperson
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2017, 11:50:11 AM »

I have not played these but I used pianosyllabus.com to look up the difficulty rating
 These are graded between seven and nine 

Below is the link, you can click on view to see  where the grading was obtained. 
http://www.pianosyllabus.com/default.php
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visitor
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2017, 04:48:36 PM »

i took some lessons for a short while with someone that was in the process of releasing a Faure cd, including all the nocturnes , he remarked to me in discussing the project that he, Faure, is an unbelievably difficult composer to get 'right'. there is a lot of subtlety in the works, especially the nocturnes, he said they are not all the hard to get under your hands, but to play them 'right' ie convincingly and effectively they can be especially tricky and he generally didn't have his students work on them until very late in the game ie other experience w Faure and a bit more in the toolbox sensitive interpretation and nuance details work wise.
It was enough to convince me I'm not ready still, so although I bought them while i studied with him a little while, I knew i wasn't ready so didn't bother.
not to say you shouldn't try them but just answering your question.
I am glad it wasn't another "chopin" topic.
PS another composer (or few) for nocturnes you might check out either with Faure or in lieu of
Bizet


Hahn


Poulenc




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mjames
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2017, 05:10:40 PM »

Even if it was a Chopin topic I wouldn't answer. Like what do you want people to say? "Well, they're not easy!" Uh..well duh. No one here is going to give you an analysis of all 13 nocturnes. It's just a pointless question to ask really. Also difficulty ratings are stupid. Doesn't matter if it's Chopin, Faure, Liadov, Scriabin, or Mozart.
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Pianism is my religion, Bach is my God, and Chopin's my prophet.
rosejaune177
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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 06:36:41 PM »

Thank you so much for your reply, visitor - that's really helpful!!

Even if it was a Chopin topic I wouldn't answer. Like what do you want people to say? "Well, they're not easy!" Uh..well duh. No one here is going to give you an analysis of all 13 nocturnes. It's just a pointless question to ask really. Also difficulty ratings are stupid. Doesn't matter if it's Chopin, Faure, Liadov, Scriabin, or Mozart.
Yes, they're obviously all 'difficult' Smiley but I think you might agree that there are different difficulties for different pianists. I was only hoping that one of you knowledgeable people on here could explain what the chief challenges are (so that I can assess whether I'm ready for them or not) and perhaps advise which ones are best to start with. Thanks for your opinion all the same Cheesy I would agree that difficulty ratings are subjective.

(Thanks also for website link, dogperson - I've never come across it before.)
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mjames
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« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2017, 06:42:59 PM »

Quote
I was only hoping that one of you knowledgeable people on here could explain what the chief challenges are (so that I can assess whether I'm ready for them or not)


That's exactly what I meant by pointless though. Remember, these are 13 nocturnes composed in the span of 40 years. Pick the one you want to learn and then maybe ask the question again. Unless someone here has the patience to write out a response for each individual nocturne, you're just going to get the generic vague "requires good subtlety, nuance, and musicality" description which really isn't helpful at all.
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Pianism is my religion, Bach is my God, and Chopin's my prophet.
rosejaune177
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2017, 06:55:27 PM »

That's exactly what I meant by pointless though. Remember, these are 13 nocturnes composed in the span of 40 years. Pick the one you want to learn and then maybe ask the question again. Unless someone here has the patience to write out a response for each individual nocturne, you're just going to get the generic vague "requires good subtlety, nuance, and musicality" description which really isn't helpful at all.
I understand - thanks mjames.
If I do pick one, and manage to learn it, but find I haven't a clue how to practise the third beat of bar 237 in the LH, then I'll be back  Wink
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chomaninoff1
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2017, 09:22:40 AM »

I've played a bit through a few of Faure's nocturnes, though I have never formally studied them. (So take this with a grain of salt.) The ratings are both rough and subjective.


Hardest: 2,5,12

Moderate: 1,6,7(this piece is much longer than the others),13

Easier: 3,4(has a few harder polyrhythms though),8

Easiest: 9, 10, 11

His 'easy' nocturnes are not exactly easy...they're just not as hard as his other ones. A lot of his earlier nocturnes start out relatively simple, but develop much more in the middle section, and then go back to the simpler melody ŕ la Chopin's nocturnes. (ternary form)

The nocturnes from the 6th-7th onward are a little different. Faure wrote the 6th one after a six year break from composing for piano, so the style will obviously be a bit different then his previously more imitative compositions.

The beginning nocturnes are technically harder and by no means musically easy, but the later nocturnes, while somewhat technically easier, are, I suspect, harder to interpret musically.

My favorites are 1 and 5. I would suggest playing 8, though. It is one of Faure's later nocturnes, meaning it is more characteristic of his style; it is not too difficult, considerably short, and has a
comfortable warm lyricism about it. 

If his nocturnes seem too difficult, maybe check out his barcarolles--I think they're easier.

Best of luck! 
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rosejaune177
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2017, 06:37:51 PM »

So useful! Thank you, chomaninoff!

I took his Nocturnes and Barcarolles out of my conservatoire's library today, so I'll have a look.

Thanks everyone Cool
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diomedes
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2017, 05:20:38 AM »

They're big pieces, many of them and demanding in that you're expected to take in stride often large quantity of textures and in the nocturnes case structure. The D flat and b minor are huge. I played the 4th in e flat major for a grad recital, it was beautiful but not one of the faure nocturne Giants. Even the e flat minor one is cast in an extended form.
They aren't Chopin nocturnes, that's for sure.
I performed the 6th impromptu several times this year, amazing piece, but he really expects a performer to manage a lot of notes like it's nothing. Mind you liszt said he didn't have enough fingers for the Ballade. Some of the big nocturnes make me think of that.

Sharpen your teeth on some Rachmaninov perhaps?
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Ravel, Alborada del Gracioso
Schumann, Kreisleriana
Scriabin, Sonata nr.3
Liszt, Don Juan
rosejaune177
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2017, 01:41:03 PM »

They aren't Chopin nocturnes, that's for sure.
I am coming to the same conclusion.  Wink

Thanks a lot for your advice, diomedes.
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