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how difficult is the Waldstein? (Read 578 times)

Offline didi100

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how difficult is the Waldstein?
« on: April 13, 2021, 03:54:52 AM »
How does the Waldstein compare in difficulty to the Appasionata?

Offline nw746

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #1 on: April 13, 2021, 08:07:31 AM »
I'd consider it significantly harder than the Appassionata, mostly in that the writing is less pianistic and more awkward to play, rather than any increase in "level" per se. (Except for one particular figuration [see below] the Appassionata is possibly Beethoven's most pianistic/least awkward-to-play composition; whatever that means.)


Offline lelle

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #2 on: April 13, 2021, 08:52:03 PM »
I agee with nw746 that Waldstein overall is harder technically. Appassionata got a few spots that are tricky and require a significant amount of speed, but overall it lies pretty comfortably under the hand. But it depends what your strengths and weaknesses are. Have you tried both of them out for yourself? What were your conclusions?

Offline getsiegs

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #3 on: April 13, 2021, 09:12:01 PM »


Haven't played the Waldstein, but god I hated practicing this LH figuration.

Offline j_tour

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #4 on: April 14, 2021, 12:28:36 AM »
Haven't played the Waldstein, but god I hated practicing this LH figuration.

I've got to know:  I'm not *Waldstein* or *Hammerklavier* material, but I fooled around with the *Appassionata* plenty as a pretty young child/teen/tween.  Yeah, I could fake some of it, but that was not something I could have handled then, nor now.

IIRC there's a ton of more treacherous things in the Op. 57 than the highlighted LH figurations.

Humor me, or educate me, what's so bad about that specific passage?  I can see one needs to have some reach in the LH, but what am I missing?

It's far from my favorite Beethoven sonata, so it's not anything personal, but I am curious why this passage in particular.
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 getsiegs

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #5 on: April 14, 2021, 02:03:34 AM »
Humor me, or educate me, what's so bad about that specific passage?  I can see one needs to have some reach in the LH, but what am I missing?

It's far from my favorite Beethoven sonata, so it's not anything personal, but I am curious why this passage in particular.

Itís definitely not the hardest part of this sonata by a long shot, I agree. And, at face value it doesnít look very hard; playing the LH alone is fairly easy. BUT, putting the hands together at this section was a nightmare for me. Itís really only due to one thing, which is the inclusion of the second sixteenth note interval in the LH in each measure. If you leave that part out and cheat, itís hardly a problem. If you include it though:

-the jump in the LH is super awkward and even harder for me to do without changing tempo since I have small hands
-itís hard to not play the LH too loudly but sometimes it would fall apart when I tried playing more softly (lack of finger independence)
-coordinating it with the RH, keeping strict tempo and lining up each sixteenth in both hands is the very hardest part about this part IMO, and then you need to play with good dynamics/expression on top of it

Again, itís not the hardest thing in the world, but itís just a passage that gave (and still gives) me a lot of trouble.

Offline lelle

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #6 on: April 14, 2021, 07:09:39 PM »

Humor me, or educate me, what's so bad about that specific passage?  I can see one needs to have some reach in the LH, but what am I missing?

It's far from my favorite Beethoven sonata, so it's not anything personal, but I am curious why this passage in particular.

It requires more developed finger independence and relaxation to be able to play at all in a soft and quick and rhythmically steady manner than most other passages in the sonata. It's much less forgiving to anyone trying to force their way through the piece while being a bit too tense, and only really lets up once you figure out how to let go of some of the tension in your system. Once that is done, it's fairly easy. At least in my experience.

Offline leethoven

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #7 on: April 15, 2021, 03:32:09 PM »
I like to say the Waldstein is more difficult than the Appassionata, but like lelle said, it really depends on you.
But hey, I certain favor the Waldstein over the Appassionata!  ;)
                                                                                                ~leethoven :)

Offline lelle

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #8 on: April 15, 2021, 09:52:37 PM »
I think they are equally great! The Waldstein is such a creative piece, and the Appasionata is just such an astounding outpouring of tragedy and defiance against fate. I recall reading that Beethoven considered it his greatest sonata yet when he had written it, which explains why it took some years before he returned to the genre.

Offline leethoven

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #9 on: April 15, 2021, 10:36:35 PM »
I think they are equally great! The Waldstein is such a creative piece, and the Appasionata is just such an astounding outpouring of tragedy and defiance against fate. I recall reading that Beethoven considered it his greatest sonata yet when he had written it, which explains why it took some years before he returned to the genre.

They are! They are also such opposites. I have a connection with the third movement of the Waldstein. Such a violent composer to compose such a gorgeous and calming piece is beyond my words.  :)

Offline comma

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #10 on: April 17, 2021, 07:04:31 AM »
In my personal experience, there is no part in the Appassionata that is nearly as difficult as the trills and octave glissandi in the Waldstein sonata. But I have to admit, I have never seriously tried out Zimermans revolutionary glissando technique:

Offline lelle

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #11 on: April 21, 2021, 10:42:20 PM »
I still can't do octave glissandos. I have no idea how to do it without my little finger hurting like hell in descending glissandos in the right hand. Hypothetically it should be ease with the thumb being the problem finger, but for me it's really damn uncomfortable for my fifth finger, especially on heavy keys. If I play waldstein I'll probably cheat on the octaves, which I see many pianists do.

Offline j_tour

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #12 on: April 21, 2021, 11:52:01 PM »
If I play waldstein I'll probably cheat on the octaves, which I see many pianists do.

I've heard all kinds of stories about how to do the "Waldstein octave glissando," but somehow, Zimerman's demonstration made sense.

I wasn't really listening to his words:  it sounded, part in German, part in French, so, even through tiny speakers on a phone it sort of made sense, but seeing the angle on the thumb, descending, made sense to me.

No, I'm not going to be playing the Waldstein....not because it's not great music, but it would take me a lot more effort than I can spare.

But it's a fascinating excursus.
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.

Online ranjit

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #13 on: April 22, 2021, 01:28:01 AM »
For some reason I never had a problem with RH downward glissandos. I think the key is to have the right kind of octave posture, and lean slightly more towards the thumb while coming down.

Offline j_tour

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #14 on: April 22, 2021, 03:17:28 AM »
For some reason I never had a problem with RH downward glissandos. I think the key is to have the right kind of octave posture, and lean slightly more towards the thumb while coming down.

Now I'm getting completely off the tracks, but I can't resist a bit of commentary.

Yeah, that is one of the funny things I'm trying to work on mechanically:  for me, scales, or octaves, same idea.

Descending in the RH is easy enough.  And ascending in the LH. 

I'm fairly sure there's some kind of physiological or ergonomic reason for this, but it's just a strange feeling.

It might even be psychological:  you know, "climbing" up to the top of the keyboard versus descending back to the middle.

It's funny to me, anyway.  Reminds me of the old George Carlin bit about baseball vs. football, you know.

And that is why I don't teach kids or beginners:  I'm not young enough to know everything, pace Oscar Wilde, but I'm not old enough to pretend as though I do.

That said, I am going to give another read through of the sonata.  No, it won't be good, but for me it's better than watching some terrible movie on a laptop, so I say this is a good thread.  ;D
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 comma

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #15 on: April 22, 2021, 06:49:15 AM »
If I play waldstein I'll probably cheat on the octaves, which I see many pianists do.
Same with me. On heavy keys I use Alfred Brendels version:

Offline lelle

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Re: how difficult is the Waldstein?
«Reply #16 on: April 22, 2021, 09:51:31 PM »


Andsnes has an interesting solution to that place. Perfect view with the camera looking straight down on the keys at that spot.

EDIT: Timecode didn't work, check it out from 24:32