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Leif Ove Andsnes - Beethoven takes you by the hand
There are apparently some pianists who, despite the anniversary, are not devoting them exclusively to Beethoven this year. Anyway, with his Beethoven Journey project, Leif Ove Andsnes has already done his bit, making one of the most beautiful recordings of the piano concertos. For Andsnes, Mozart is currently uppermost on the agenda, even if there is also plenty of Beethoven being played at his festival too. Time for another conversation with the Norwegian master pianist. Read more >>

Topic: How difficult are Chopin Nocturnes  (Read 1019 times)

Offline svetlio320

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How difficult are Chopin Nocturnes
on: April 11, 2021, 08:07:58 PM
Hi, I've recently perfected the Nocturne op55 no1 and have been wondering how difficult are the Nocturnes Op48 no1, Op27 no1,no2 and whether after having completed this piece and Nocturne no20 (C# minor) I'm ready to take up any of these? Thanks a lot!

Offline billym

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Re: How difficult are Chopin Nocturnes
Reply #1 on: April 12, 2021, 05:30:46 PM
Opus 55 no. 1 I would say is much easier than all 3 of the options you just listed- but if you want to go for them you could give it a shot. Of course, I'm not the most reliable source since I'm not actually that advanced- but I've been familiar with this repertoire for a long time and I hope my insight will be of value.

Opus 27 no 1 has really wide arpeggios in the left hand that are tricky to play smoothly the whole time. The biggest challenge is the middle section that has some tricky leaps in the left hand as well as some tremolo action going on. There's also a little octave passage. Overall as far as the piece goes those are the main challenges. I think it's probably the easiest you listed. If you're ready to work with fast and strange leaps in the LH and you've worked on your arpeggios, I say, give it a go.

Opus 27 no 2 is just really hard imo. Whenever I tried to play this one it always comes out kind of awkward. I think it's just really hard to have those intricate and flowing ornaments speak musically- it requires relaxation and just a really good grasp of the instrument. And then you have to worry about those constant and wide arpeggios in the LH at the same time. There are a number of annoying measures you'll have to drill over and over again. I think you should do Opus 27 no 1 first before you take on this one. Also, I think that Op 9 no 1 is a definite prerequisite for this piece. It has many moments that are sort of a simplified version of Opus 27 no. 2. I've found it will help you out a lot.

Opus 48 no 1 is a beast and I would hold off on this one... personally, I am not actually ready yet for this one. In case you want to know, I'll list off some of the challenges this piece poses.
Large chords (ie tenths) in the middle section
Rapid double octaves (and just octave stuff in general)
Double octave arpeggios (yes you heard that right)
Big and fast leaps in the left hand in the doppio movimento
Sixths/double note in the left hand doppio movimento
Chord voicing in the Right hand doppio movimento (this is a very advanced skill imo)
This nocturne is in my opinion the hardest to play. It's practically an Etude in sixths, octaves and voicing. My honest advice is wait a few years until you are thoroughly advanced at the piano, and do a bunch more nocturnes for sure, since bringing out all of the emotions and musicality in this piece is also quite difficult.

If you want some honest suggestions of the best nocturnes to play next here you are:
Op 9 no 1. This is actually what I would recommend. If you've polished Op 55 no 1 you're definitely ready for this one.
Op 9 no 2. Ah, the popular one. You might want to learn it as a crowd-pleaser at the very least.
Op 32 no 1. This one has some similar elements to Opus 27 no 2, and I think it's a good choice for preparation.

Happy playing, hope what I said was of help for you.
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. It's solid advice tbh.

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