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Topic: Favourite piece(s) of all time?  (Read 4584 times)

Offline lelle

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Favourite piece(s) of all time?
on: February 01, 2021, 11:30:41 PM
As the title says - what is your favourite piece or pieces of all time? I was thinking today about what some of my favourite pieces are, and I am really looking forward to practising some of them again once I get myself a digital piano (as I wrote in another thread, my practise time has become limited due to circumstances related to covid).

So what are some of your favorite pieces, that if you had to go to a desert island and could bring a grand piano and some scores, you definitely wouldn't leave the scores behind?

Mine are pretty typical for a classical pianist lol, but hey, they are popular for a reason!

Bach:
The prelude and fugue in C major from WTC book 1
The fugue in c sharp minor from WTC book 1

Beethoven:
Moonlight sonata
Appassionata

Chopin:
Ballade 1, 2, 3 & 4
24 preludes op 28

Scriabin:
Sonata no 2
Sonata no 5 (maybe too hard but I really want to learn this some day)

There are many pieces by Debussy, Liszt, Mozart, Schumann etc etc that I really like and adore, but right now I don't feel like I deeply love them in the way I love the above pieces, which are my top picks!



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Offline nw746

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #1 on: February 02, 2021, 12:13:17 AM
For piano solo? Beethoven Op. 111, 109 and 106, Schumann Davidsbündlertänze, Fantasy and Humoreske, Schubert Sonatas D959 and 960 & 3 Klavierstücke D946, Ravel Miroirs & Tombeau de Couperin, Chopin Sonata No. 3, Ballade No. 4 & Polonaise-Fantaisie, Bach Partitas in D major BWV828 and E minor BWV830, Wieck-Schumann Nocturne Op. 6 no. 2, Mendelssohn Lied ohne Worte Op. 67 no. 2, Medtner Sonata-ballade and Sonata minacciosa, Szymanowski Mazurkas Op. 50, Fauré Barcarolles Nos. 3 and 5, .....

... off the top of my head. I could easily pick just one: Beethoven Op. 111. Favourite piece of music in general. Picking five or six would be much harder.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #2 on: February 02, 2021, 01:15:47 AM
I second Beethoven Opus 111 as favorite piece of music for all time.

If not restricted to piano music, then Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610 would be right up there with it.

Offline musikalischer_wirbelwind_280

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #3 on: February 02, 2021, 01:29:36 AM
I usually rather dislike this sort of thing, because having to limit myself to just a few things out of a vast whole has always been so difficult for me, but let's give it a try.

Leaving out quite a few works, I'd say these would be my picks:












The piano solo arrangements I've got of these:





And this one, of which I have the piano/violin score, but have always played as a piano solo piece ;D :



And of course both books of Bach's WTC.


Offline anacrusis

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #4 on: February 02, 2021, 09:30:02 PM
It depends on how much you have to limit yourself  ;D

I would bring all Beethoven Sonatas, all of Das Wohltemperierte Klavier, all the Chopin Ballades, Preludes, Etudes, the 2nd sonata, the first three Scherzi, many Debussy pieces like the Estampes, certain selections by Liszt etc etc

I would probably leave most of Rachmaninoff at home though  ;)

Offline lelle

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #5 on: February 03, 2021, 10:59:10 PM
Cool to see two mentions of the Beethoven Op. 111 here. That piece never totally clicked with me,  I like it, but there are other sonatas I like more. Can you give me some insight into why you love it? Of course it is subjective but maybe your perspetives can help me appreciate it more so I am curious!

I usually rather dislike this sort of thing, because having to limit myself to just a few things out of a vast whole has always been so difficult for me, but let's give it a try.


Many cool and unusual pieces in your list, that was unexpected! I will give them a few more listens tomorrow. At least I have played the Medtner Sonata Reminiscenza! It's a great piece that I really like, it just didn't make my favourite pieces of all time list. Do you listen a lot to more unknown composers or how did you discover these?

Offline musikalischer_wirbelwind_280

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #6 on: February 08, 2021, 09:29:53 PM
Many cool and unusual pieces in your list, that was unexpected! I will give them a few more listens tomorrow. At least I have played the Medtner Sonata Reminiscenza! It's a great piece that I really like, it just didn't make my favourite pieces of all time list. Do you listen a lot to more unknown composers or how did you discover these?

I'm glad you liked them!

Back when I played the piano several hours per week, I used to play Medtner's "Sonata alla reminiscenza" quite often. I came across it merely by chance, quite a few years ago, and on You Tube, of all places, when the "recommendations algorithm" was still somewhat clunky.

The first version I found of it is unfortunately no longer available there, but it was even better than Malofeev's. Like Achron's "Hebrew melody", I've always found it deeply haunting and atmospheric, not to mention it evokes beautiful memories for me, memories that, as I grow older, become more and more tinged with nostalgia...which suits those works just fine.

I think quite a few folks in this forum would hardly consider the composers I mentioned in my previous post unknown or obscure
 ;) (although where I live almost all of them are unknown to most people...), but it's true a couple of them are still rather far from enjoying widespread popularity.

As for how I came across these pieces, well, in almost every case, and just like with the Medtner, they were chance discoveries. I have no friends who are into classical music, save for one, but animes, chess, the Japanese language and physics, among other things have competed for his attention for quite some time now, and while at first they just edged music out, I believe he's much less interested nowadays in it. And I've always been just an amateur pianist, thus I've never benefitted from a teacher's repertoire recommendations, either.
So it's all up to me and to good luck...and to You Tube's algorithm, of course.  ;D

Some of these may interest you as well, I think:









Gotta love that ostinato!



I love the whole thing, but "Night music" is beyond amazing! Best recording of it, too, in my opinion.





If you've watched "The Shining", you'll recognize this one right away ;).  Only wish Kubrick hadn't cut a part of it in the film.



You've got to check out the "Andante un poco mosso" of this one! It starts at 12:10. I first heard this one on a French movie about Schumann, can't remember the name right now, but Schumann and a couple of friends play it as a homage to Schubert, of whose passing they've recently learned.





This one's "Adagio molto appassionato" (starts at 6:56) is another one of my favorites. Bloodcurdling/mysterious atmosphere, just like no.16 from Mompou's "Música callada".



Ah, this one brings back some very dear memories, indeed!...







A "rhythm fugue" of sorts, very nice!





Never liked the rather cringey intro by Anderson to this one ::) , but I still find his version among the very best out there.





There was a better version of this one on YT, but I can't for the life of me find it. Still, Yuja's rendering is certainly not bad here.



















Christmas is gone already, but who cares, eh?





And once more I got a bit carried away  ;D , but hopefully you'll find at least some of them interesting, too.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #7 on: February 08, 2021, 11:39:28 PM
What an unusual Liszt piece! I see you have already answered this question in the thread, but I still feel the need to ask - how do you find all this stuff, man?  ;D

Offline brogers70

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #8 on: February 09, 2021, 11:13:21 AM
Cool to see two mentions of the Beethoven Op. 111 here. That piece never totally clicked with me,  I like it, but there are other sonatas I like more. Can you give me some insight into why you love it? Of course it is subjective but maybe your perspetives can help me appreciate it more so I am curious!


About Opus 111. This is subjective, of course, but I feel like the second movement covers an entire lifetime's worth of emotions - listening to it I feel like I have experienced everything from childhood to vigorous maturity to nostalgia, memory, quiet joy, peaceful resignation in old age, absolutely everything. A lot of Beethoven, and a lot of Romantic music pieces seem to focus on specific moments, a moment of pastoral relaxation, or of struggle, some doubt overcome, some lost love reminisced about, but Opus 111 seems to sum up an entire, full life.

Offline musikalischer_wirbelwind_280

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #9 on: February 10, 2021, 02:31:32 AM
What an unusual Liszt piece! I see you have already answered this question in the thread, but I still feel the need to ask - how do you find all this stuff, man?  ;D

Well, yes, I did already answer it, but that's ok.  ;) It's true I occasionally look for some of these pieces in a deliberate and more or less organized way, but again, most of them have just been happy trouvailles.

I'm glad those recommendations are being appreciated! I'm afraid I sometimes have the same bad habit of that infamous Sir Thomas Burdon, from The picture of Dorian Gray, who "like all people who try to exhaust a subject, he exhausted his listeners."   ;D

As for the Liszt piece, I think it's actually not that unusual, but rather more characteristic of some of his later and less flashy works like the "Harmonies poétiques et religieuses" and "Nuages gris". Something like this:





Offline lelle

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #10 on: February 11, 2021, 10:45:46 PM
About Opus 111. This is subjective, of course, but I feel like the second movement covers an entire lifetime's worth of emotions - listening to it I feel like I have experienced everything from childhood to vigorous maturity to nostalgia, memory, quiet joy, peaceful resignation in old age, absolutely everything. A lot of Beethoven, and a lot of Romantic music pieces seem to focus on specific moments, a moment of pastoral relaxation, or of struggle, some doubt overcome, some lost love reminisced about, but Opus 111 seems to sum up an entire, full life.

Interesting! I feel a lot of those things in the Op. 110 sonata, but 111 never connected the same way. The first mvoement has a cool theme but is kind of weird. I may have to listen again and see if I an hear the things you talk about. Do you have any particular recording you recommend?

Offline getsiegs

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #11 on: February 12, 2021, 04:50:49 PM
Like everyone else this is a sort of limited list, but here are some of my current favorites:


Definitely my favorite recording of the solo transcription of La Valse. She takes it a bit more slowly and melodically, which I think sounds more like an orchestra. Lots of pianists make it sound closer to a scherzo than a waltz.

IMO one of Liszt's most beautiful works ever.

Such a clean, dynamic performance; never loses its energy.

And a couple concerto picks:

Favorite Rach movement, favorite recording.

A great concerto overall; the third movement is just incredible.

Not technically a concerto since Debussy wanted to call it a Fantasy, but this recording and Kocsis's high tempo are amazing.

Offline brogers70

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #12 on: February 12, 2021, 05:03:23 PM
Interesting! I feel a lot of those things in the Op. 110 sonata, but 111 never connected the same way. The first mvoement has a cool theme but is kind of weird. I may have to listen again and see if I an hear the things you talk about. Do you have any particular recording you recommend?

I like the recordings of it by Barenboim, Kempf, and Biss.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #13 on: February 12, 2021, 08:55:52 PM
getsiegs -- The La Valse and Petrushka are two of my favorite recordings as well!

Offline lettersquash

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #14 on: February 15, 2021, 07:51:24 PM
Loving this thread and seeing the different tastes and listening to things I've not before.
I find I have crushes on some pieces and become obsessed for a while, but it doesn't last, so I'll ignore things I've just fallen for.

About 40 years ago I started recording the BBC's classical music station, Radio 3, and this was the first piece that ignited my love of classical music, especially the Largo (which starts at 3:45). Samartini Concerto for Recorder and Strings in F Major.


Early music faves: Incassum Lesbia or "The Queen's Epicedium", or "Elegy on the death of Queen Mary, Z. 383" just about breaks your heart. Emma Kirkby:


and Kirkby singing to the "Queen of Heaven" in Virgine Bella by Tromboncino:


Chopin's Prelude in E-Minor has always been a favourite, although I've not warmed to much else by him, or much from the Romantic Period, nor much later either, to be honest.

I've not gone out of my way to listen to a lot of different stuff. It's about 80% JSB for me. I've wondered what my favourite Bach pieces are, and that's difficult too. BWV 1029 has to be there Sonata No 3 in G Minor for viola da gamba and harpsichord - here beginning with the Adagio for some reason, but wonderfully phrased by Gasselin and Taylor.


I might think of some more later. Now I need a lie down. 8)
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Offline musikalischer_wirbelwind_280

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #15 on: February 19, 2021, 01:16:28 AM
Glad to see someone else who appreciates good ole Henry.  ;)

The Sammartini is a beauty, too; I played the recorder myself for a while several years ago, and I always very much enjoy listening to flute repertoire. This is my latest go-to flute piece:







As for vocal works, this one I find as exhilarating as Broschi's "Son qual nave":



And while I don't like "Amadeus" that much, I absolutely adore the versions featured in it of these two:



If only there was a complete recording of Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater" with those guys...

I've not gone out of my way to listen to a lot of different stuff. It's about 80% JSB for me.

That reminded me so much of the only friend I have who's into classical: his hero is, without a doubt, Johann Sebastian. He has a piano at home, so he will often invite me over to play, and I remember that the first few times I took a couple of Bach scores with me along with lots of other stuff by various composers, but later on I just grabbed the WTC, the Goldberg, the French and English Suites and the Art of the Fugue, and didn't bother with anything else.  ;D

Offline lettersquash

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #16 on: February 19, 2021, 03:21:19 PM
Glad to see someone else who appreciates good ole Henry.  ;)
Yes, some. I really don't know much.

Quote
The Sammartini is a beauty, too; I played the recorder myself for a while several years ago, and I always very much enjoy listening to flute repertoire.
Glad you liked it. I dabble a bit since I came across a Boosey and Hawkes wooden alto/treble in a junk shop - lovely. I dabble with a second hand concert flute, too.

Quote
This is my latest go-to flute piece:
Hmm, I'm not taken with that, tbh, but it could be the photo put me off. I had to laugh. I know we're all used to women doing sexy publicity photos and there shouldn't be anything wrong with it, but ... is that a recorder, or is he just pleased to see us?

Maybe it'll grow on me. ::)

Quote
As for vocal works, this one I find as exhilarating as Broschi's "Son qual nave":
Wow, yeah, that Julia Lezhneva can sing! I looked up Son qual nave and that's quite something too.

Quote
And while I don't like "Amadeus" that much, I absolutely adore the versions featured in it of these two:
If only there was a complete recording of Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater" with those guys...
Yes, I loved that. I'll have to look up more Pergolesi.

Quote
That reminded me so much of the only friend I have who's into classical: his hero is, without a doubt, Johann Sebastian. He has a piano at home, so he will often invite me over to play, and I remember that the first few times I took a couple of Bach scores with me along with lots of other stuff by various composers, but later on I just grabbed the WTC, the Goldberg, the French and English Suites and the Art of the Fugue, and didn't bother with anything else.  ;D
LOL. Yeah, I was thinking my 80% Bach is complemented by another 19% "other Baroque" too! If my other half is watching something on TV and I'm on my computer, I often put Otto's Baroque Radio on in a tab in the browser - it's amazing what's out there for free. I just put it on now and it's BACH - Keith Jarrett, harpsichord - Goldberg Variations - Var 21-25. I forgot KJ played classical harpsichord!

I'll post one more favourite while I'm here - since all Bach's lute and 'cello' suites are in there, not to mention the cantatas - I'm really enjoying this, which just shows how adaptable Bach's music is. The Cello Suite No.1 in D sounds much richer on the guitar in some ways, because the notes can be held into chords more (and a lot of difficult jumps are easier with five fingers and six strings), although the cello or gamba can shape notes' attack.


Yikes, I've posted no piano! :-[
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Offline jimf12

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #17 on: February 19, 2021, 05:24:01 PM
Prokofiev, Sonata for Piano No 7, 3rd movement

Offline j_tour

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #18 on: February 19, 2021, 08:08:27 PM
Prokofiev, Sonata for Piano No 7, 3rd movement

Yeah, I couldn't really have picked one piece or fragment, and it's been a long time since I've heard a performance of this movement.

I agree.

In terms of lasting power, it's one of the ones I'm still doggedly trying to force myself to assimilate the rhythm.

So, favorite for me as well, in terms of something that remains within grasp on my piano, but still eludes me.

To me, that's about what I think the modern piano is capable of.  Including the brief melodic elements up top, but not too many of those (in this movement, up in the treble of the piano:  those are the challenging bits for me).  It also sums up for me what I think the modern age is all about. 
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Offline lettersquash

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #19 on: February 19, 2021, 10:22:58 PM
Prokofiev, Sonata for Piano No 7, 3rd movement
Mind=blown. I'm always stunned by just how immensely accomplished some people can get at playing an instrument. This is great - sounds like a blues-jazz thing before it goes all dissonant. I'll have to check out the other movements.
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Offline jimf12

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #20 on: February 21, 2021, 04:38:59 PM
Lisitsa is incredibly talented, obviously.   It is mind blowing to be able to play something like that.   What I think about from time to time though is how mind blowing it is to compose something like that.   What kind of brain produces that?   I almost think it's more incredible someone actually thought of that.   

Offline billym

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #21 on: February 21, 2021, 09:55:28 PM
"As the title says - what is your favourite piece or pieces of all time? I was thinking today about what some of my favourite pieces are, and I am really looking forward to practising some of them again once I get myself a digital piano (as I wrote in another thread, my practise time has become limited due to circumstances related to covid).

So what are some of your favorite pieces, that if you had to go to a desert island and could bring a grand piano and some scores, you definitely wouldn't leave the scores behind?

Mine are pretty typical for a classical pianist lol, but hey, they are popular for a reason!"

Sorry not sure how to do quotes correctly, I'm new here!
Anyhow, mine are also quite typical and many of these I am not able to play since I'm only about an early advanced level, but I still love them with all my soul.

Bach:
Jesu, joy of man's desiring (piano version)
Prelude in C Major WTC
French suite nos. 5 and 6
Beethoven:
Pathetique sonata
Moonlight sonata
Hammerklavier sonata
Schubert:
Impromptus opus 90
Chopin:
Ballades no 1, 3 and 4
Pretty much all of the nocturnes (top 3: Op 9 no 3, Op. 27 no. 1, Op. 37 no. 1)
Fantaisie-Impromptu
Preludes no. 4, 15 and 17
Sonata no. 3
Waltzes op. 69
Schumann:
Kinderszenen
Brahms:
Waltzes op. 39
Rhapsody in G minor
Liszt:
Liebestraume
Debussy:
Suite Bergamasque
Arabesques
Rachmaninoff:
Prelude op 23 no 4 5 and 6
Scriabin:
Etude op. 8 no. 12
Ravel:
Le tombeau de Couperin
That's my list of favorites, it was originally longer but I shortened it
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Offline j_tour

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #22 on: February 22, 2021, 03:54:26 AM
I still come back to the Prokofiev.  It's like the fish that got away.  I still maintain it's not actually that difficult to play, but I can't keep it in memory.  And it's relentlessly punishing physically:  the whole point of the piece, really.  The meter is a bit off, by design, and it's physically exhausting. 

But, yes, it is difficult.   Not impossible, and contrary to what the Lisitsa video might suggest , it doesn't need many great histrionic actions (yes, there are big leaps and one needs to cross hands quite a bit), but it's not like some Godowsky-Chopin confection. 



LATE EDIT:  Seeing (and hearing) the Lisitsa clip again, no, I don't think she is exaggerating movements.  She's actually very efficient and compact in her technique.

And no, I haven't forgotten about my pledge to do a video:  it won't be the whole movement, because of stamina, but I'll pick out the most "difficult" bars and do a few pages from there.  That would be a good motivation for me, and it is fair, and I said I'd do it, so I will.
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Offline lettersquash

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #23 on: February 22, 2021, 03:48:42 PM
@j_tour - I'm tempted to challenge you to post your version. (Obviously, you'll have to keep it in memory or have the score there. Or maybe just play part of it.) Anyway, if you can get anywhere close, brava! I think there must be some extremely difficult parts. If I'm not much mistaken, there's a bit where the same notes are played in rapid succession (which might not work on a piano without double escapement at that pace). - I'm only joking, of course, don't put your hands through that punishment to prove a point! :)

I prefer Lisitsa's rendition, as it's stately enough to feel the 'swing' and put more expression into it than Argerich does. The latter even slows down at one point, apparently to cope with reaches up and down the keyboard.

Hey, I could start enjoying music after 1800 if I'm not careful. (The year, not 6 pm.)
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Offline getsiegs

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #24 on: February 22, 2021, 03:58:35 PM
I would also agree that I like Lisitsa's better. She's a bit more into it physically in that video (with her expressions and waving arms) but it really gets the mood across better. Argerich at the end of her performance looks like she just finished playing chopsticks  ;D

Offline j_tour

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #25 on: February 22, 2021, 05:15:35 PM
@j_tour - I'm tempted to challenge you to post your version. (Obviously, you'll have to keep it in memory or have the score there. Or maybe just play part of it.) Anyway, if you can get anywhere close, brava!

That's a fair challenge.  TBH, I probably won't get around to it, or likely forget all about it, but I should probably back up what I'm claiming.  That would be a good goal for me, and it is only fair, given how much I've been yammering on about this piece.

Or, you know, maybe record one frame at a time and splice it all together!  That sounds like even more effort.

No, that's a lot of effort and you underestimate just how lazy I am.  But that damned rhythm is still killing me, and I should nut up and get it right....tapping it out on the steering wheel while driving or something.  That would be a good motivation to finally get off the first few pages.  We'll see what happens.

The length of the movement is the big challenge for me:  I don't perform classical music in public (I dislike performing solo piano in any style [a good guitarist and good trap drums is about ideal], and I don't have the reputation or bona fides for legit music where someone would hire me for a recital or even a private party, really:  light jazz, not too intense or modal, seems to be what people are looking for, and it's easy to just kind of play whatever, so long as you get the volume right and read the room), so pieces tending towards miniaturization are more appealing, both aesthetically and practically.  As an example of a much easier piece with which I still have problems memorizing to the end, the 9th Contrapunctus from Art of Fugue, I have to tape photocopies together, pretty much, to get to the end, which is a little distracting from the music.

Argerich at the end of her performance looks like she just finished playing chopsticks  ;D

Yeah, Argerich does have those massive forearms:  they kind of make the keyboard look a bit smaller in comparison.  I'd bet exclusively developed from playing piano.  And I suspect she eats her Wheaties every morning as well!

I'm not claiming the piece is easy — it's difficult, but not impossible, especially if one is really into beating up the piano with one's fists.  For a pretty long time, as well, with very few places to relax.  I'll try to find some of the gnarlier parts in the score, and I could probably at least demonstrate those, I don't know, with a camera phone or something.

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To get back into the thread, while it's frustrating to pick just one tune, I'll stick with the title track from Grant Green's album Idle Moments.  I've never heard a tenor solo quite like Joe Henderson's here, and Duke Pearson's piano fills, using a bunch of themes from diminished harmony, are very tasty.



My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline musikalischer_wirbelwind_280

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #26 on: February 23, 2021, 03:04:27 AM
Hmm, I'm not taken with that, tbh, but it could be the photo put me off. I had to laugh. I know we're all used to women doing sexy publicity photos and there shouldn't be anything wrong with it, but ... is that a recorder, or is he just pleased to see us?

Sorry for the late reply, but that last bit made my day  ;D ;D ;D

But yeah, just like the Anderson intro to his recording of Ligeti's "L'escalier du diable", that CD's cover is also cringy enough, but I still like Franco's playing in that one.

I prefer Lisitsa's rendition, as it's stately enough to feel the 'swing' and put more expression into it than Argerich does. The latter even slows down at one point, apparently to cope with reaches up and down the keyboard.

I would also agree that I like Lisitsa's better. She's a bit more into it physically in that video (with her expressions and waving arms) but it really gets the mood across better. Argerich at the end of her performance looks like she just finished playing chopsticks  ;D

Yeah, Argerich does have those massive forearms:  they kind of make the keyboard look a bit smaller in comparison.  I'd bet exclusively developed from playing piano.  And I suspect she eats her Wheaties every morning as well!

Well, Lisitsa herself did write in one of her comments to her own vid of the Prokofiev that as far as she's concerned Pollini is the one who can deliver that piece like none other, and that she finds Argerich's rendering too "feminine"  ;D , like nature itself, whereas this piece is really more about "a very mechanically superb killing machine, not about a thunderstorm."
Can't say I don't agree with her on this one.  8)

@j_tour - If you ever do feel like giving it a try, be sure to share it with us, chap!

@lettersquash - If you're also into the harpsichord, you may enjoy these, too, I think:









The last one can be something of an acquired taste, but I find it's just like klezmer: if it grows on you, it never lets go.  ;)

Offline j_tour

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #27 on: February 23, 2021, 05:13:56 AM
Well, Lisitsa herself did write in one of her comments to her own vid of the Prokofiev that as far as she's concerned Pollini is the one who can deliver that piece like none other, and that she finds Argerich's rendering too "feminine"  ;D , like nature itself, whereas this piece is really more about "a very mechanically superb killing machine, not about a thunderstorm."

Interesting about Lisitsa's comments.  I always thought of Argerich as a very "masculine" player.  No, I don't actually know what that means, but she has a way of playing in an aggressive and forceful, analytic manner.

Plus Argerich has those Popeye forearms! 

Just a cultural stereotype.

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@j_tour - If you ever do feel like giving it a try, be sure to share it with us, chap!

Well, I did say I accepted the challenge, so I can't exactly refuse now.  It'll take me a while to trim the score down a bit, and certainly won't sound like Argerich or Lisitsa.  But, yeah, I'll get around to it.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline jimf12

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #28 on: February 23, 2021, 05:06:39 PM
Well I for one would be impressed and would love to hear it.   I also like the Lisitsa version, in fact I just generally like her.   I've heard the criticisms - all technique no feeling, her pro-Russian political rants that actually got her booted out of Toronto.   All that said, to my taste, she is damn good.   I actually saw her in person in Chicago years ago playing the Emperor Concerto, and she did it flawlessly on 2 days notice.   Grimaud was scheduled to play but there was, according to the press releases, a "mix up".   She said she thought they were playing the fourth, not the fifth.   I've never been sure that is true, and because of my feelings toward that night Lisitsa's stock rose and Grimaud's fell in my book.   

Offline lelle

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #29 on: February 24, 2021, 10:03:35 PM
Many cool pieces I haven't heard before suggested so far! Super nice  :D

@j_tour @lettersquash no harpsichord list is complete without some Rameau! His output was quite small but it's all super well put together and charming.








Offline lettersquash

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #30 on: February 25, 2021, 12:32:32 PM
@musicalische_wirbelwind, thanks, I do like harpsichord, and that Duphly is lovely. My reading skills aren't quite up to figuring out how much of the broken chords are the player's ornamentation at a couple of places (one in the A section, one in the B, particularly, a few bars after the long trill). I wish I knew. There's a stepped arpeggio falling in the right hand and rising bass notes, but the hands are out of sync. The early English Dompe is interesting. So even in 16thC they liked to end a minor piece by suddenly switching to the major (something I always used to hate, but have grown to appreciate). The Ligeti - erm - I don't think it'll grow on me, to be honest. There's a lot of modern music that seems more like a mathematical experiment or just pushing the boundaries of good taste - art for art's sake - and that's in that category. It was interesting though, particularly at about 2mins 30s, when I thought the phone was ringing!

I look forward to the Rameau, thanks @lelle, but unfortunately right now jobs need doing.
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Offline j_tour

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #31 on: February 27, 2021, 05:21:38 AM
Yep.  Still one of my favorites to play.  Don''t ask me which way to play the melody when it goes through the circle:  hit the #11 or the other way.  Good tune, and a nice warmup for the LH.



The Ligeti - erm - I don't think it'll grow on me, to be honest. There's a lot of modern music that seems more like a mathematical experiment or just pushing the boundaries of good taste - art for art's sake - and that's in that category. It was interesting though, particularly at about 2mins 30s, when I thought the phone was ringing!

That is kind of funny, yes.  I actually kind of despise the harpsichord, but the Ligeti is one where I feel the instrument was given its fair shake, I suppose. 

I wonder whence the antipathy to the harpsichord:  not any prejudice against pre-piano instruments, since I still fantasize about buying a couple of clavichords and stacking them up, and I love the organ, although my footwork is not the best.

For some reason, the instrument just doesn't ring my bells.  It's very strident and lacking in subtlety.  A bit of a perversion, in that a number of Scarlatti fils numbers IMHO sound more guitar-ish on the modern piano, as do a few of the Debussy préludes.

@j_tour @lettersquash no harpsichord list is complete without some Rameau! His output was quite small but it's all super well put together and charming.

That does change my mind a bit about the harpsichord qua instrument.  Particularly Rameau's « Les sauvages ».  Perhaps it's a matter of attacking the instrument as though it were capable of anything.

So, I thank you for that.

Contrast to Sokolov on the modern piano:  I think the harpsichord wins out in this case. 

So, maybe one of these days I should revise my views of the instrument. 
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline lettersquash

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #32 on: February 27, 2021, 08:05:24 PM
Yes, j_tour, I have to admit, sometimes the harpsichord is a bit shrill, although it has a range of sounds depending on the stops used. The lautenwerck or lute-harpsichord is much richer in sound, mainly for having gut strings. I've heard that Bach's so-called lute suites may have been written for the lautenwerck.

I enjoyed the Ramau, thanks lelle, and the Wes Montgomery/Winton Kelly Trio a lot too.

Nice bit of lute-in-a-box...
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Offline lelle

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #33 on: February 27, 2021, 10:47:11 PM


That does change my mind a bit about the harpsichord qua instrument.  Particularly Rameau's « Les sauvages ».  Perhaps it's a matter of attacking the instrument as though it were capable of anything.

So, I thank you for that.


Glad you enjoyed it! I would dearly like to buy a harpsichord one day, once I have money to spare. It's a lot of fun to play, and you feel like a real baroque-meister when you tear of some Bach/Rameau with all their mordents and trills and other fun stuff.

Offline j_tour

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #34 on: February 28, 2021, 05:13:57 PM
Glad you enjoyed it! I would dearly like to buy a harpsichord one day, once I have money to spare. It's a lot of fun to play, and you feel like a real baroque-meister when you tear of some Bach/Rameau with all their mordents and trills and other fun stuff.

Yeah.  I don't think they've figured out how to model or sample the harpsichord.  Or, for that matter, the Hohner Clavinet, although that's a more widely used instrument in pop/rock music, and including the effects (amp modelling, auto-wah) likely makes the instrument less challenging to emulate for typical settings.

I've only played a few real harpisichords, but of course you're right that there's a pretty large variation among the sounds one can achieve.

I don't know how handy you are, but you can always build one...not very much tension on the strings, compared to a modern piano.  That wouldn't be something I'd do, but lots of people have done that, it's probably not that difficult if you enjoy that kind of thing.

My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline nw746

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #35 on: March 02, 2021, 09:39:08 AM
I prefer Lisitsa's rendition, as it's stately enough to feel the 'swing' and put more expression into it than Argerich does. The latter even slows down at one point, apparently to cope with reaches up and down the keyboard.

I would also agree that I like Lisitsa's better. She's a bit more into it physically in that video (with her expressions and waving arms) but it really gets the mood across better. Argerich at the end of her performance looks like she just finished playing chopsticks  ;D

Honestly I generally think Argerich is the best performer of this sonata, especially when it comes to large-scale form and phrasing. Not that Lisitsa is bad; Argerich just makes it sound like a single breath.

If there's an alternative interpretation that I think everyone should hear it's this one by Matti Raekallio and not just because he fits it in under three minutes.



(I'll hold off on learning this piece until I have a piano of my own so no one can yell at me for playing too loud)

Offline lettersquash

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #36 on: March 02, 2021, 12:20:00 PM
Honestly I generally think Argerich is the best performer of this sonata, especially when it comes to large-scale form and phrasing. Not that Lisitsa is bad; Argerich just makes it sound like a single breath.
I think the quality of the recording hasn't helped Argerich, but still, "a single breath" can be great, but so can several.

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If there's an alternative interpretation that I think everyone should hear it's this one by Matti Raekallio and not just because he fits it in under three minutes.
That's amazing. He's played it at more like Argerich's tempo, yet managed to get every note crystal clear (allowing as best you can for the poor recording on the other one). Each voice is distinct, like Glenn Gould playing a Bach fugue. Are changes of tempo marked in the score, or should this be absolutely machine-like? My only negative feeling towards the end of the Raekallio was whether it might just be a little too polished and perfect, where both the others are perhaps more gutsy/flawed. Close-ups of Lisitsa's stilettos might just tip the balance, but I don't know what Raekallio was wearing.

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(I'll hold off on learning this piece until I have a piano of my own so no one can yell at me for playing too loud)

I'll hold off learning this until I have a magic piano.
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #37 on: March 02, 2021, 01:48:22 PM
Raekallio's has much going for it apart from a horrible recording although the velocity seems to me to take a little of the sheer vibrant urgency from it. Try Dinara Klinton's recording of it on Piano Classics, just released (it's 2-CD box of all nine Prokofiev sonatas)...

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
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Offline nw746

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #38 on: March 02, 2021, 04:58:47 PM
I think the quality of the recording hasn't helped Argerich, but still, "a single breath" can be great, but so can several.
Her interpretation didn't change that much over time—here's her 16/11/2000 performance in Tokyo, with modern sound quality:
&t=763s

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Are changes of tempo marked in the score, or should this be absolutely machine-like?
There are no tempo changes marked in the score. I think Prokofiev's own recordings of his music (he never recorded this sonata) are a fair bit freer in tempo than his scores are, but if there's any individual piece by him that can be successfully interpreted in strict tempo throughout it's this one.

Raekallio's has much going for it apart from a horrible recording although the velocity seems to me to take a little of the sheer vibrant urgency from it.
There is no metronome mark, but "Precipitato" with the principal unit of the beat being the whole bar does suggest a very fast tempo. I don't think it necessarily needs to be exactly three minutes; but two minutes forty seconds is definitely too fast and four minutes is definitely too slow. Urgency and vitality are best captured through articulation and dynamics, combined with a tempo where it's possible to hear all the notes but they go by at five or six per second.

If the Argerich or Raekallio performances aren't convincing there are a variety of interpretations around that same basic tempo: Bronfman, Osborne, Giltburg, Pollini, Trull, Joselson etc (of which my preferences would be Bronfman and Giltburg, offhand).

Offline getsiegs

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #39 on: March 02, 2021, 07:21:47 PM
two minutes forty seconds is definitely too fast

Oh no, Khatia... her ending is just painful to listen to. Not sure why she decided she could convincingly play this piece at that tempo. Anyway, I happen to like how Lisitsa's tempo is more in the middle. I'm usually a sucker for speed and maximum virtuosity but for this particular piece, the slightly lower tempo has much more weight that I enjoy. I definitely wouldn't go as slow as Solokov - IMO his tempo takes all the energy out of the music. For this piece Lisitsa is my Goldilocks  ;D

Offline j_tour

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Re: Favourite piece(s) of all time?
Reply #40 on: March 05, 2021, 03:46:54 AM
If there's an alternative interpretation that I think everyone should hear it's this one by Matti Raekallio and not just because he fits it in under three minutes.

Brilliant.  Very dry and off-to-the-side, like a grandmother's kiss.

For me, that's how I like this movement:  concise, with minimal pedal, and rather precise and unrelenting.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.
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