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Does Rachmaninoff Touch Your Heart?
Today, with smartwatches and everyday electronics, it is increasingly common to measure training results, heart rate, calorie consumption, and overall health. But monitoring heart rate of pianists and audience can reveal interesting insights on several other aspects within the musical field. Read more >>

Topic: What is the hardest piece you have ever played?  (Read 893 times)

Offline tiberiuszgo

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What is the hardest piece you have ever played?
on: October 28, 2021, 02:10:17 AM
Alright I did not make this post to give me ideas lol but I am just curious to all the pianists here, what is the hardest piece you have played?

edit: To define "hard", what is a piece that you had the hardest time playing or that had the most problems

Offline themeandvariation

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4'33"

Offline lelle

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Re: What is the hardest piece you have ever played?
Reply #2 on: October 28, 2021, 09:24:45 AM
It depends on how you define "hardest". For example:

Chopin Op 10 no 2 is one of the most technically challenging pieces I have played in the sense that I have worked on it, on and off, since at least 2016, but still haven't "mastered" it. The most difficult bits I still need to push some 5-10 bpm before I can play the whole piece in Chopin's tempo of 144 bpm. It also still highly depends on my daily form if I can play it without mistakes or if I crash and burn at some point, so I certainly couldn't play it to an audience. Yet if I am in good form, it doesn't necessarily feel "hard" to play, it just takes some concentration.

Another piece I find highly challenging is Franck - Prelude, Aria et Final, which is the lesser known but equally fabulous cousin to his famous Prelude, Chorale et Fugue. There's nothing in it that per se is astonishingly challenging from a technical point of view, but it's somehow just so massive and unwieldy and the Finale is relentless. It's surprisingly hard to completely memorize, which is funny because I rarely struggle with memorization and memorize things that some people find challenging like Bach fugues without issue. It's also difficult to hold together and make musically convincing rendition of, but I think it's a real treasure if you get it right. I have worked on it on and off since 2019 but still don't feel on top of it, neither technically, memory-wise, or musically. For comparison, the Prelude, Chorale and Fugue feels quite all right.

Offline lelle

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Re: What is the hardest piece you have ever played?
Reply #3 on: October 28, 2021, 09:28:14 AM
https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=462.0

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=3255.msg29546#msg29546

etc., etc.

I think this is different from the OP:s question. I think some of the hardest pieces overall are Gaspard de la Nuit, the early versions of Liszt's Transcendental and Paganini Etudes, Godowsky's studies on Chopin studies, etc. But I haven't played those (reading through slowly doesn't count as playing IMO) and probably never will, so they don't count as the hardest pieces I personally have played.

Offline ranjit

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Re: What is the hardest piece you have ever played?
Reply #4 on: October 28, 2021, 12:38:36 PM
It depends on how you define "hardest". For example:

Chopin Op 10 no 2 is one of the most technically challenging pieces I have played in the sense that I have worked on it, on and off, since at least 2016, but still haven't "mastered" it. The most difficult bits I still need to push some 5-10 bpm before I can play the whole piece in Chopin's tempo of 144 bpm. It also still highly depends on my daily form if I can play it without mistakes or if I crash and burn at some point, so I certainly couldn't play it to an audience. Yet if I am in good form, it doesn't necessarily feel "hard" to play, it just takes some concentration.

Another piece I find highly challenging is Franck - Prelude, Aria et Final, which is the lesser known but equally fabulous cousin to his famous Prelude, Chorale et Fugue. There's nothing in it that per se is astonishingly challenging from a technical point of view, but it's somehow just so massive and unwieldy and the Finale is relentless. It's surprisingly hard to completely memorize, which is funny because I rarely struggle with memorization and memorize things that some people find challenging like Bach fugues without issue. It's also difficult to hold together and make musically convincing rendition of, but I think it's a real treasure if you get it right. I have worked on it on and off since 2019 but still don't feel on top of it, neither technically, memory-wise, or musically. For comparison, the Prelude, Chorale and Fugue feels quite all right.
I have a lot of respect for those who can pull off Chopin op 10 no 2. That etude is HARD to play at tempo. I would be more scared of playing that than op 10 no 1, which seems to sit okayishly well in a normally sized hand.

Offline lelle

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Re: What is the hardest piece you have ever played?
Reply #5 on: October 30, 2021, 11:21:11 PM
I have a lot of respect for those who can pull off Chopin op 10 no 2. That etude is HARD to play at tempo. I would be more scared of playing that than op 10 no 1, which seems to sit okayishly well in a normally sized hand.

Op 10 no 1 you can play with some tension and still get to the end. Sure, there might be a large quantity of wrong notes and you'll get tired but you can keep going. If you are not scared of the occasional wrong note or smudge Op 10 no 1 is not too bad. Still worse than a lot of other pieces but not too bad. Op 10 no 2 just falls apart completely unless your technique is in very good shape.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: What is the hardest piece you have ever played?
Reply #6 on: October 31, 2021, 03:00:11 AM
When I was younger I would always think, "oh this piece is the hardest I've ever played!"... "no wait... now this piece is the hardest!". It gets to a point where pieces are no longer rated in terms of technical difficulty as such but more the workload to complete. It is difficult to want to invest a lot of time in marathon pieces, you need specific reasons to want to do such things even if you can do it why would you want to? Paradoxically these days I don't tend to play very difficult works.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline visitor

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Re: What is the hardest piece you have ever played?
Reply #7 on: November 02, 2021, 04:13:38 AM
David Amram piano sonata

Offline mikey shooes

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Re: What is the hardest piece you have ever played?
Reply #8 on: November 02, 2021, 07:33:04 AM
Chopin - Nocturne Op 9 No 2 (E Flat Major) :'(

Here is the score on which I tried it- https://musescore.com/user/6662591/scores/4383881
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