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Topic: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?  (Read 4174 times)

Offline youngpianist

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Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
on: May 16, 2022, 09:08:09 PM
Hello. Can you suggest some pieces that are great crowdpleasers, but are not just empty displays of virtuosity? I'd like to add some good ones to my repertoire now that you can perform again. At least in my part of the world. I don't particularly like the Moonlight sonata but you are of course allowed to suggest that one. I'm looking for some other pieces that equally wow the audience, but that have emotional depth. Any suggestions?

Suggestions so far:
Chopin Nocturne in E minor Op. 72 no. 2 (nightwindsonata)
Chopin Nocturne in C-sharp minor (Op. posthumous) (nightwindsonata)
Chopin Pretty much anything by Chopin (nightwindsonata)
Chopin Ballade No. 1 (bwl_13)
Chopin Scherzo No. 2 (bwl_13)
Beethoven Sonata Op. 53 (bwl_13)
Beethoven Sonata Op. 57 (bwl_13)
Liszt sonata (bwl_13)
Liszt Liebestraum No. 3 (lelle)
Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 No. 2 (lelle)
Schubert Impromptu Op. 90 No. 3 (lelle)
Mussorgsky "The Great Gate of Kiev" (brogers70)
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Offline nightwindsonata

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #1 on: May 16, 2022, 10:21:12 PM
Chopin's Nocturne in E minor Op. 72 no. 2 and Nocturne in C-sharp minor (Op. posthumous) are both great options. Actually, pretty much anything by Chopin is going to be a crowdpleaser   ;)
1st-year Master's Program:
- Ravel Piano Concerto
- Liszt Ricordanza
- Liszt 3 Liebestraums
- Liszt 3 Sonnets

- Rhapsody in Blue
- Dante Sonata
- Schubert Sonata D.780
- Mozart Piano Quartet in Gm

Offline bwl_13

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #2 on: May 17, 2022, 05:48:21 PM
On the larger side of things Chopin's first ballade and second scherzo are fantastic crowd pleasers, as well as very full and diverse works musically.

Beethoven's Op. 57 and 53 are great choices. The two always seem to be mirrors of each other in my eyes.

Liszt sonata... not actually sure how the crowd would react...
Second Year Undergrad:
Bach BWV 914
Beethoven Op. 58
Reger Op. 24 No. 5
Rachmaninoff Op. 39 No. 3 & No. 5

Offline lelle

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #3 on: May 17, 2022, 07:27:23 PM
On the larger side of things Chopin's first ballade and second scherzo are fantastic crowd pleasers, as well as very full and diverse works musically.

Beethoven's Op. 57 and 53 are great choices. The two always seem to be mirrors of each other in my eyes.

Liszt sonata... not actually sure how the crowd would react...

The audience started to clap after the climax when I performed it in a church once :D I think they wondered how long the thing was. Might have been my performance and not necessarily the piece though.... :P

I think the third Liebestraum is a legitimately good piece that is also a great crowd pleaser.

Offline bwl_13

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #4 on: May 17, 2022, 10:04:42 PM
The audience started to clap after the climax when I performed it in a church once :D I think they wondered how long the thing was. Might have been my performance and not necessarily the piece though.... :P

I think the third Liebestraum is a legitimately good piece that is also a great crowd pleaser.
The sonata is risky with an audience not familiar with it, even if it is fantastic.

I like the Liebestraum as well, it's great even for people who are hearing it for the first time and the cadenzas are showy enough to still be virtuosic.
Second Year Undergrad:
Bach BWV 914
Beethoven Op. 58
Reger Op. 24 No. 5
Rachmaninoff Op. 39 No. 3 & No. 5

Offline lelle

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #5 on: May 18, 2022, 10:28:49 PM
The sonata is risky with an audience not familiar with it, even if it is fantastic.

I think you're spot on. It's a fantastic piece, but difficult to absorb if you are not ready for it. You need to hear it a couple of times to take to it, at least that's how it was for me.

I'd like to add the Schubert Impromptu's Op. 90 no. 2 and 3 as well!

Offline bwl_13

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #6 on: May 19, 2022, 12:56:21 AM
I think you're spot on. It's a fantastic piece, but difficult to absorb if you are not ready for it. You need to hear it a couple of times to take to it, at least that's how it was for me.

I'd like to add the Schubert Impromptu's Op. 90 no. 2 and 3 as well!
The Schubert is also fantastic. Considering they're fairly small in scale they've got so much content.

It definitely took me a few listens for the Liszt sonata to click, but now it's one of my favourite pieces in all the repertoire.
Second Year Undergrad:
Bach BWV 914
Beethoven Op. 58
Reger Op. 24 No. 5
Rachmaninoff Op. 39 No. 3 & No. 5

Offline brogers70

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #7 on: May 19, 2022, 11:42:07 AM
How about "The Great Gate of Kiev"? Not terribly deep, but not empty virtuosity, and definitely a crowd pleaser.

Offline youngpianist

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #8 on: May 20, 2022, 02:49:25 PM
Thanks for your suggestions so far. I have edited my original post to include your suggestions. Please keep posting suggestions everyone! This list might become useful for many pianists.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #9 on: May 20, 2022, 03:43:08 PM
The list doesn't look like a layman crowd pleaser to me. The general public would most likely sleep through a number of the selections. So what you define as "substance" is not a large factor in the general public, they much prefer hear something that doesn't take up their time and even more would like to hear something that is familiar to them, it is not that overly complicated for the vast majority of people.

This might interest you if you are focused on classical piano:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_100_Piano_(ABC
Sorry pianostreet doesn't seem to like URLs which end with a ). Just click the link next to: DID YOU MEAN when you follow the link. I've copy pasted the list below anyway, but there is more info in that link. This list was generated by votes cast by almost 10,000 listeners to the classical music station in Australia, so you are getting a crowd of classical music lovers here, not the general public.


100   Pärt   Für Alina
99   Schumann   Arabesque in C, Op. 18
98   Ravel   Sonatine (1905)
97   Schubert   Impromptu No. 2 in A-flat major, D. 935/Op. 142
96   Albéniz   Iberia
95   Liszt   Paraphrase on themes from Verdi's Rigoletto
94   Grainger   "Handel in the Strand"
93   Schubert   Moments Musicaux, Op. 94 D. 780
92   Chopin   Andante Spianato in G, Op. 22
91   Brahms   Waltz in A-Flat, Op. 39 No. 15
90   Schubert   Ständchen, No. 4 from Schwanengesang, D. 957 (transcribed by Liszt for piano)
89   Joplin   Solace
88   Brahms   Rhapsody in G minor, Op. 79 No. 2
87   Chopin   Prelude No. 4 in E minor, Op. 28 No. 4
86   Beethoven   Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Les Adieux, Op. 81a
85   Beethoven   Diabelli Variations, Op. 120
84   Ravel   Le tombeau de Couperin
83   Mozart   Twelve Variations on "Ah vous dirai-je, Maman", K. 265
82   Chopin   Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 58
81   Beethoven   Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat, Op. 110
80   Messiaen   Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus
79   Debussy   Arabesque No. 1
78   Chopin   Étude Op. 25 No. 1 in A-flat major
77   Chopin   Barcarolle in F sharp, Op. 60
76   Tchaikovsky   The Seasons
75   Schumann   Fantasie in C Major, Op. 17
74   Mozart   Fantasia in D minor, K. 397
73   Shostakovich   24 Preludes and Fugues
72   Chopin   Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor, Op. posth
71   Brahms   Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24
70   Schubert   Impromptu No. 2 in E-flat major, D. 899/Op. 90
69   Satie   Gymnopedie, No. 3
68   Chopin   Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48 No.1
67   Blake   "Walking in the Air"
66   Bach, JS   Italian Concerto, BWV 971
65   Sculthorpe   Left Bank Waltz
64   Liszt   Un sospiro, Concert Etude No. 3 in D-flat major
63   Granados   The Maiden and the Nightingale from Goyescas
62   Beethoven   Piano Sonata No. 30 in E major, Op. 109
61   Ravel   Gaspard de la nuit
60   Chopin   Piano Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 35
59   Chopin   Nocturne No. 8 in D-flat major, Op. 27 No. 2
58   Bach, JS   Chaconne in D minor from Partita No. 2 for Solo Violin, BWV 1004 (as arranged by Busoni)
57   Satie   Gnossienne, No.1
56   Chopin   Berceuse in D-flat major, Opus 57
55   Ravel   Pavane pour une infante défunte
54   Liszt   Consolation No. 3 in D-flat major (Lento placido)
53   Chopin   Nocturne No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 9 No. 1
52   Chopin   Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52
51   Beethoven   Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor, "The Tempest", Op. 31 No. 2
50   Schubert   Impromptu No. 3 in B-flat major, D. 935/Op. 142
49   Joplin   "The Entertainer"
48   Rachmaninov   Prelude in G Minor, Op. 23 No. 5
47   Chopin   Prelude No. 15 in D-flat, "Raindrop"
46   Nyman   "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" from The Piano (soundtrack)
45   Chopin   Polonaise in A major, Op. 40 No. 1, "Military"
44   Schumann   Of foreign lands and people from Kinderszenen, Op. 15
43   Schumann   Carnaval, Op. 9
42   Mozart   Piano Sonata No. 16 in C, K 545, Sonata Facile
41   Debussy   Prelude No. 10, La cathédrale engloutie (The sunken cathedral)
40   Cage   4′33″
39   Beethoven   Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat, Op. 106, Hammerklavier
38   Schumann   Widmung, Liebeslied, S. 566 (transcribed by Liszt)
37   Liszt   Benediction de Dieu dans la solitude from Harmonies poétiques et religieuses
36   Liszt   Liebestraum No. 3 in A-flat, S. 541 / III
35   Chopin   Etude Op. 10 No. 12 in C minor, Revolutionary Étude
34   Rachmaninov   Prelude in C sharp Minor, Op. 3 No. 2
33   Liszt   Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C sharp Minor, S.244/2
32   Brahms   Intermezzo Op. 118 No. 2 in A major
31   Jarrett   The Köln Concert
30   Liszt   Grandes études de Paganini, No. 3 in G sharp minor, La Campanella
29   Chopin   Étude Op. 10 No. 3 in E
28   Liszt   Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178
27   Debussy   Prelude No. 8, La fille aux cheveux de lin ("The Girl with the Flaxen Hair")
26   Beethoven   Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
25   Schubert   Impromptu No. 4 in A-flat major, D. 899/Op. 90
24   Bach, JS   Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (piano transcription by Myra Hess)
23   Sinding   Rustle of Spring
22   Schubert   Fantasie in C major, Op. 15 (D. 760), Wanderer Fantasy
21   Mozart   Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 331
20   Chopin   Ballade No. 1, Op. 23
19   Grieg   Bryllupsdag på Troldhaugen (Wedding Day at Troldhaugen)
18   Chopin   Nocturne No. 2 in E-flat major, Op. 9 No. 2
17   Schumann   Träumerei from Kinderszenen ("Scenes from Childhood"), Op. 15
16   Chopin   Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53, "Heroic"
15   Beethoven   "Für Elise"
14   Schubert   Fantasia in F minor for piano four hands, D. 940 Op. 103
13   Chopin   Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op. 66
12   Beethoven   Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53, Waldstein
11   Mussorgsky   Pictures at an Exhibition
10   Beethoven   Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57, Appassionata
9   Schubert   Piano Sonata No. 21 in B-flat major, D. 960
8   Bach, JS   The Well-Tempered Clavier
7   Allen   Chopsticks
6   Schubert   Impromptu No. 3 in G-flat major, D. 899/Op. 90
5   Beethoven   Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, Pathétique
4   Satie   Gymnopédie No.1
3   Debussy   "Clair de lune" from Suite bergamasque
2   Bach, JS   Goldberg Variations
1   Beethoven   Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2, Moonlight
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Offline mjames

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #10 on: May 26, 2022, 11:32:05 AM
The audience started to clap after the climax when I performed it in a church once :D I think they wondered how long the thing was. Might have been my performance and not necessarily the piece though.... :P

I think the third Liebestraum is a legitimately good piece that is also a great crowd pleaser.

Happened with me with the 4th Ballade, they clapped right before the coda lol. I wanted to keep going but it completely killed the momentum and I just let them think that was the end.

Offline lelle

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #11 on: May 26, 2022, 10:35:29 PM
Happened with me with the 4th Ballade, they clapped right before the coda lol. I wanted to keep going but it completely killed the momentum and I just let them think that was the end.

Haha oh noo you didn't play the coda?  :o Or, well, that might not necessarily be a sad thing for the pianist since it's not easy :P

Offline youngpianist

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #12 on: May 28, 2022, 09:46:53 PM
The list doesn't look like a layman crowd pleaser to me. The general public would most likely sleep through a number of the selections. So what you define as "substance" is not a large factor in the general public, they much prefer hear something that doesn't take up their time and even more would like to hear something that is familiar to them, it is not that overly complicated for the vast majority of people.

....

Thanks for the list. I'm get what you're saying that substance is not a large factor in the general public. That's why I'm asking for pieces that actually do have substance, but will also appeal to a broad audience and be a crowd pleaser. From the list you posted, can you select some pieces that you actually think have substance from those?

Offline brogers70

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #13 on: May 28, 2022, 10:23:28 PM
Thanks for the list. I'm get what you're saying that substance is not a large factor in the general public. That's why I'm asking for pieces that actually do have substance, but will also appeal to a broad audience and be a crowd pleaser. From the list you posted, can you select some pieces that you actually think have substance from those?

Regardless of what anyone said about substance and the general public, the list consists almost entirely of pieces which I think have "substance" though perhaps I'm not educated enough to know better.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #14 on: May 29, 2022, 01:19:41 AM
...That's why I'm asking for pieces that actually do have substance, but will also appeal to a broad audience and be a crowd pleaser....
But what is "substance" supposed to exactly mean? Can you give examples of pieces that you think have "no substance" or are "empty displays of virtuosity"?
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline mjames

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #15 on: May 30, 2022, 02:46:44 PM
But what is "substance" supposed to exactly mean? Can you give examples of pieces that you think have "no substance" or are "empty displays of virtuosity"?

Pieces with substance = pieces with sound, concise and quality thematic development coupled with inspired themes/motifs/passages/melodies.

See, Chopin's Scherzo op. 31 is a typical showpiece. Simple structure, ABA. And basically to some it up, tons of runs. But it's brilliantly written; the climax is carefully developed, it's littered with inspired melodies, the counterpoint is minimal but masterful in the trio section, and it's all tightly conceived in a neat structure with no wasted note whatsoever.

Now compare that to your typical piece by Thalberg and Henselt and you'll see the differences between "substance" and "no substance."

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #16 on: May 30, 2022, 03:05:04 PM
It doesn't make sense to me sorry. How can you say a professional composer writes music without substance? It sounds simply like an elitist attitude. Measuring substance sounds rather subjective and not something with a concrete measurement especially if you rely on comparisons with other composers that you like better.
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Offline bwl_13

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #17 on: May 30, 2022, 03:42:16 PM
How can you say a professional composer writes music without substance? It sounds simply like an elitist attitude.
It is an objectively elitist attitude. I contributed to this thread yet I can still acknowledge that. These pieces can't be measured against one another in any meaningful way. It boils down to preference, which is likely what OP was looking for using the filter of "substantial". When people begin to argue whether a piece of music is actually substantial, it almost always ends up using criteria that are intentionally chosen to support a certain composer while diminishing another.

Using some criteria I saw cited in this thread, most if not all contemporary music outside of the "classical' sphere would be instantly eliminated. Maybe that's the point for some people, but I have a hard time imagining "Seaweed" by Mount Eerie or Kendrick Lamar's "How Much a Dollar Cost" to lack substance.

This sort of elitism can happen on a less obvious level when deciding which composers are "more genius" than others. Comparing between Kendrick and Chopin seems impossible, but it illustrates the problem of comparing composers and making any sort of objective argument. Chopin can be revolutionary yet somebody can still regard works of Thalberg to have more substance.

I have not found anybody who can explain why certain composers are greater than others without using an arbitrary set of criteria. Most classical music is rhythmically simple until the 20th century or so. I rarely hear rhythm used as a point towards by music by x composer is more significant than y.

These attitudes are generally changing but are also quite ingrained in the way we talk about music. This thread is essentially any number of Reddit posts asking "Saddest breakup songs" or "Songs to make me feel like a bad b****". I don't see any problem with those posts and I don't see a problem with this thread. It's all technically elitist, but to some degree that's just how humans process art. It's just important to acknowledge that there isn't really any concrete reason for one thing to be more sad than another (for instance).
Second Year Undergrad:
Bach BWV 914
Beethoven Op. 58
Reger Op. 24 No. 5
Rachmaninoff Op. 39 No. 3 & No. 5

Offline mjames

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #18 on: May 30, 2022, 04:38:13 PM
Yes, you can't tell the difference between "traditional great composers" and "lesser ones" and yet all I see on your list are composers of the standard repertoire. I wonder why.


Just keep up with the obtuse act and act like it's all just preference, and not that some historical musicians are significantly better than others.

Offline mjames

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #19 on: May 30, 2022, 04:45:06 PM
How can you say a professional composer writes music without substance?

All that means is that you get paid to write music. Some were better at it than others. Simple as. All music is subjective, sure; so is writing, and yet everyone wouldn't hesitate to say that Shakespeare is a far better writer than everyone on this thread combined.

Whether it's elitist or not doesn't change the fact that it's the truth. The "standard repertoire" are a collection of works from composers that have withstood the tests of time.

Henselt, Hummel, Kalkbrenner, and Thalberg were giants during their day, but as soon as they died their popularity faded. Their music seized to maintain the interests of an everchanging and evolving public audience. The music of Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, and Schubert only grew in popularity. Quality is the defining factor here.

It's easy to see the difference between these guys and Henselt and co.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #20 on: May 30, 2022, 06:02:30 PM
Yes, you can't tell the difference between "traditional great composers" and "lesser ones" and yet all I see on your list are composers of the standard repertoire. I wonder why.
So you think a lesser one is one without any substance at all that all their works lack substance simply because you are comparing them to something you think is vastly superior? Not a very accurate way to describe how a piece lacks substance. The list isn't mine btw it is merely a list of pieces people find popular though the Cage work was probably a troll vote lol. These are popular works it has nothing to do with "substance" whatever that is supposed to exactly mean.

Just keep up with the obtuse act and act like it's all just preference, and not that some historical musicians are significantly better than others.
Since when is "substance" about comparing who are better than others? So your definition of substance is a comparison game? Ignore the work itself and merely compare them to someone who you think is great? That is just creating barriers and casting aside all you think are inferior to keep them away from your holy ground.

All that means is that you get paid to write music. Some were better at it than others. Simple as. All music is subjective, sure; so is writing, and yet everyone wouldn't hesitate to say that Shakespeare is a far better writer than everyone on this thread combined.
So then someone must have found "substance" in their works right? Just because you don't find it doesn't mean it's not there right?

Whether it's elitist or not doesn't change the fact that it's the truth. The "standard repertoire" are a collection of works from composers that have withstood the tests of time.
An elitist attitude has a strong point that you are merely segregating unfairly composers who you think are lesser and merely think their works are all without merit, or "substance" whatever that is supposed to mean.

Henselt, Hummel, Kalkbrenner, and Thalberg were giants during their day, but as soon as they died their popularity faded. Their music seized to maintain the interests of an everchanging and evolving public audience. The music of Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, and Schubert only grew in popularity. Quality is the defining factor here.
Yet their music is still able to be found printed out, they have not disappeared into oblivion and hundred odd years later you still know their name and their compositions, all without substance? lol

It's easy to see the difference between these guys and Henselt and co.
Difference is not the argument, just because they are different in your mind does not make all their creative outputs worthless. So please present us with a piece which is utterly without substance, be concrete and don't generalize. Please show me what a piece without substance sounds like and explain how it lacks any substance at all without comparing them to someone else.



"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline bwl_13

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #21 on: May 30, 2022, 06:06:40 PM
Yes, you can't tell the difference between "traditional great composers" and "lesser ones" and yet all I see on your list are composers of the standard repertoire. I wonder why.


Just keep up with the obtuse act and act like it's all just preference, and not that some historical musicians are significantly better than others.
What kind of an argument is this? I can prefer the "traditional great composers" and still not claim my preference is law. I'm not very familiar with the less known composers and I'm very happy with the standard repertoire considering I have not been studying for many years. I don't like the precedent it sets to state that some music is just "better" than others.

lostinidlewonder far more concisely describes my viewpoint than I can, so I'll just say +1 to their reply.
Second Year Undergrad:
Bach BWV 914
Beethoven Op. 58
Reger Op. 24 No. 5
Rachmaninoff Op. 39 No. 3 & No. 5

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #22 on: May 30, 2022, 06:12:10 PM


Whether it's elitist or not doesn't change the fact that it's the truth. The "standard repertoire" are a collection of works from composers that have withstood the tests of time.

Henselt, Hummel, Kalkbrenner, and Thalberg were giants during their day, but as soon as they died their popularity faded. Their music seized to maintain the interests of an everchanging and evolving public audience. The music of Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz, and Schubert only grew in popularity. Quality is the defining factor here.

It's easy to see the difference between these guys and Henselt and co.



To be quite honest, I don't think it is at all easy to see the difference in quality between the best works of, say, Thalberg and Henselt, and the canonical repertoire. It's a bit ironic that this debate is taking place in the "crowdpleaser" context when I'd contend that the finale of Thalberg's Moses is a crowd pleaser which bears comparison with anything Liszt wrote. If the debate was the Liszt sonata > the Thalberg sonata, I'd wholeheartedly agree, but in this context, at least, the debate isn't.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #23 on: May 30, 2022, 06:20:19 PM
It is an objectively elitist attitude. I contributed to this thread yet I can still acknowledge that. These pieces can't be measured against one another in any meaningful way. It boils down to preference, which is likely what OP was looking for using the filter of "substantial". When people begin to argue whether a piece of music is actually substantial, it almost always ends up using criteria that are intentionally chosen to support a certain composer while diminishing another.
Yes I agree. People are free to have whatever opinion they want, if they want to follow popular trends that's of course fine. What is problematic though is when they then start to create some kind of barrier around all of their favorites and use that to shoot down all else that doesn't stand up to their set of personal priori.

Using some criteria I saw cited in this thread, most if not all contemporary music outside of the "classical' sphere would be instantly eliminated. Maybe that's the point for some people, but I have a hard time imagining "Seaweed" by Mount Eerie or Kendrick Lamar's "How Much a Dollar Cost" to lack substance.
This is why I wanted to know what one means by a piece which lacks "substance". All creative output is a marvel and a wonder how it was actually created. Seeing beyond comparisons to other people is important to creativity. There is a strong correlation between dissidence and creativity, if we all are to follow "one way" then creativity dies. I don't expect that many people consider such things about creativity in a deep manner and merely like to have what they think is best, but they really don't understand the depth of creativity if they do such things.

This sort of elitism can happen on a less obvious level when deciding which composers are "more genius" than others. Comparing between Kendrick and Chopin seems impossible, but it illustrates the problem of comparing composers and making any sort of objective argument. Chopin can be revolutionary yet somebody can still regard works of Thalberg to have more substance.
Yeah, to me this is just rather unintelligent comparisons. Why not consider each artist as they stand alone, then you will be left bare to make decisions as to what you like in a much more free manner. I guess some people are too afraid to do such things because they rely on their personal experience of what they like to make future decisions so it all fits neat and tidy, that however leaves you with a predetermined pathway and an unwillingness to explore things you didn't realize you might actually like without these useless comparisons!

These attitudes are generally changing but are also quite ingrained in the way we talk about music. This thread is essentially any number of Reddit posts asking "Saddest breakup songs" or "Songs to make me feel like a bad b****". I don't see any problem with those posts and I don't see a problem with this thread. It's all technically elitist, but to some degree that's just how humans process art. It's just important to acknowledge that there isn't really any concrete reason for one thing to be more sad than another (for instance).
If the question was merely "crowd pleasers" my only question would be which crowd are you talking about. But to then add "substance" this to me is just a foreign word when it comes to art and why I am interested to see examples of what are exact pieces that are without any substance at all. Perhaps a work written by someone who can't compose at all and just tries to do it would be something without substance? I can't see how a professional musician who dedicates their life to music can write anything without substance at all, to me that would be simply a very rude and arrogant remark to make.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #24 on: May 30, 2022, 06:21:50 PM
To be quite honest, I don't think it is at all easy to see the difference in quality between the best works of, say, Thalberg and Henselt, and the canonical repertoire. It's a bit ironic that this debate is taking place in the "crowdpleaser" context when I'd contend that the finale of Thalberg's Moses is a crowd pleaser which bears comparison with anything Liszt wrote. If the debate was the Liszt sonata > the Thalberg sonata, I'd wholeheartedly agree, but in this context, at least, the debate isn't.
How I see it, one work might be better than another but that doesn't mean the lesser work has no substance. That is just a logical deduction. So both pieces have substance! So what are we really talking about then?? I'd like to see a piece that someone says has NO SUBSTANCE lol. Cage 433? Maybe it has meditative substance or some kind of emotional reaction substance :P
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Offline anacrusis

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #25 on: May 30, 2022, 11:44:35 PM
I see there is a discussion here about what substance in music is. When I think of what I think constitutes substance in music, I'd compare two wildly popular pieces - Liszt's "La Campanella" and Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata". I think the Moonlight Sonata has much more substance than La Campanella.

The Moonlight Sonata traverses profound human emotion, sorrow, outbursts of grief most sacred.

La Campanella is like "Look fingers fast and tinkly bell go ping ping".

Offline ranjit

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #26 on: May 31, 2022, 04:48:35 AM
The Moonlight Sonata traverses profound human emotion, sorrow, outbursts of grief most sacred.

La Campanella is like "Look fingers fast and tinkly bell go ping ping".
But that is your opinion. I'm not being facetious when I say that I hear a great deal of emotion when I listen to La Campanella (okay, not Lang Lang playing it).


For me it feels like a war novel, makes me feel something akin to a sort of kingly grandeur. Some sections are fluttery, but others then have a darker undertone. It feels like stability vs chaos when it comes to a kingdom, i.e. the rise and fall of empires and civilization.

I've had people, when I've told them how I experience music like this, think I'm crazy, but I think the fact that a piece like this can create a subjective emotion which is quite powerful in many people means it can't objectively be without substance.

Listen to the recording above starting at 2:57. The first phrase is quite playful and happy, immediately succeeded by something minor-sounding, and to me which feels more contemplative, and then the third phrase ties them together. Then, a similar pattern is repeated in variation, but now the first two phrases are happy, and the third one somber -- it just can't stay in that playful zone for long.

The descending run after that is fast, yes, but it doesn't quite sound happy -- it sounds agitated, and then it gives you the sensation that your heart is racing (palpitation?), leading up to the next section which ramps up the energy.

Wonder what your thoughts are on this? Is it similar to how you experience the piece? I've had people say that I try to read too much into these things, but I think I'm right.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #27 on: May 31, 2022, 05:04:11 AM
This is why I wanted to know what one means by a piece which lacks "substance". All creative output is a marvel and a wonder how it was actually created. Seeing beyond comparisons to other people is important to creativity. There is a strong correlation between dissidence and creativity, if we all are to follow "one way" then creativity dies. I don't expect that many people consider such things about creativity in a deep manner and merely like to have what they think is best, but they really don't understand the depth of creativity if they do such things.
This, 100%. I don't agree with the extreme where you throw paint on a canvas randomly and call it art. But the opposite end where you only learn how to emulate Picasso stroke for stroke and literally don't look past it (this isn't as common in the virtual arts as it is in music) isn't really art either. If you only understand and internalize the rules of one style of music to the exclusion of everything else, I think you are merely acting as a custodian rather than a true artist. You completely handicap yourself by thinking of any music worse than Chopin as "bar unlistenable music". It means that every single piece you have written and will write is garbage! I know a lot of people who think ALL jazz is worse than classical. I don't agree -- to me it is fairly clear (although it is still subjective) that Art Tatum - Tea for Two is an absolutely brilliant, revolutionary piano piece. The problem imo is when you have such a limited perspective of what is "real" music, you will never even dare to create. And this is what I see quite often in classical music circles.

Offline anacrusis

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #28 on: May 31, 2022, 10:00:44 PM
But that is your opinion. I'm not being facetious when I say that I hear a great deal of emotion when I listen to La Campanella (okay, not Lang Lang playing it).

(...)

Wonder what your thoughts are on this? Is it similar to how you experience the piece? I've had people say that I try to read too much into these things, but I think I'm right.

I don't think there is a right or wrong way to how you perceive things, though sometimes I believe that people choose to project a lot of their own ideas onto something that doesn't inherently contain anything related to those ideas, if that makes sense. But that's up to each person to be hoenst with themselves and decide.

La Campanella is beautiful, a competently executed variation work, and fun to watch/listen to due to it's virtuoso technical firework. It's certainly pleasurable to listen to, much like a luxury car is pleasurable to watch. But I don't consider either of them "of substance". There is nothing wrong with not being "of substance", I enjoy playing video games with stupid cheesy stories and I genuinely enjoy myself, but they don't have emotional substance in the way a movie like, say, The Pianist does.

Does my eprspective make sense?

Offline ranjit

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #29 on: May 31, 2022, 10:33:16 PM
I don't think there is a right or wrong way to how you perceive things, though sometimes I believe that people choose to project a lot of their own ideas onto something that doesn't inherently contain anything related to those ideas, if that makes sense. But that's up to each person to be hoenst with themselves and decide.

La Campanella is beautiful, a competently executed variation work, and fun to watch/listen to due to it's virtuoso technical firework. It's certainly pleasurable to listen to, much like a luxury car is pleasurable to watch. But I don't consider either of them "of substance". There is nothing wrong with not being "of substance", I enjoy playing video games with stupid cheesy stories and I genuinely enjoy myself, but they don't have emotional substance in the way a movie like, say, The Pianist does.

Does my eprspective make sense?
I think sometimes people take the meaning of works too literally. La Campanella refers to bells, of course, but boiling the work down to consider it a set of variations without substance isn't really accurate. It is very much an opinion. I've heard many people think similarly, that the piece doesn't inherently have substance, and it is all a projection by the listener. I feel, to the contrary, that that is the intended reaction, but many people don't see past the sheer number of notes and that elitist viewpoint.

I believe nowadays that most elitist viewpoints are rooted in a fundamental lack of imagination, followed by a lot of rationalization to make them seem legitimate.

Pretty much none of Liszt's contemporaries, legendary composers themselves, regarded his pieces as empty showpieces lacking substance. Surely it means that those who think so nowadays are missing something?

I find something in these pieces which I don't find elsewhere, and it isn't plain technical firework -- it's an expansion of the textural capabilities of the instrument. And I don't think this is projection or by accident -- it is arguably very intentional. I feel like this textural aspect is often ignored as not having "real musical value", when compared to something like Bach fugues which are all about exploiting harmony. Or Chopin with all his clear melodic lines. In a way, they actually make "easier" listening.

Of course, all of this isn't some kind of set science, but I think a lot of people simply don't hear these pieces correctly.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #30 on: June 01, 2022, 06:07:34 AM
Imagine standing in front of Liszt himself and saying "You're an amazing pianist and all but your piano compositions, yeah well..... they lack substance." You wouldn't dare and he'd most likely tell you to gtfo and then rattle off a list of royalty who changed their official plans to listen to him play his compositions. It's all good talking behind a dead mans back but it's not very clever nor tells us anything useful. It is anticreative and a zone of deadness making you dead inside, quite deathly!

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Offline bwl_13

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #31 on: June 02, 2022, 08:03:16 PM
Liszt is easy to pick on since his compositions do have some ridiculously virtuosic passages. In his time he was also criticized for his compositions being substanceless if I remember correctly. I used to think this had a basis but honestly I don't see it anymore. Some art can speak to you clearer than others, but that doesn't mean it has any more substance.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #32 on: June 03, 2022, 03:35:54 AM
Liszt is easy to pick on since his compositions do have some ridiculously virtuosic passages. In his time he was also criticized for his compositions being substanceless if I remember correctly. I used to think this had a basis but honestly I don't see it anymore. Some art can speak to you clearer than others, but that doesn't mean it has any more substance.
I can't think of someone saying it has "no substance" and if you reveal who said it it is most likely some critic who adores the old style a lot more and cries about anything else.

I just look at his command over audiences quotes from Chopin about that for instance, how much money he raised for flood victims, how royalty would change their official plans to listen to him (who can claim that these days?) etc etc, his playing was something different and to say it is without substance is just ridiculous and sorry to say in my opinion simply blind and obstinate.

Liszt fits a large part of the music repetoire to say that it is all substanceless is to deny a great volume of pianistic sounds, orchestral sounds, musical ideas, memorable melodies etc etc. Simply ridiculous.
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Offline bwl_13

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #33 on: June 03, 2022, 04:11:27 AM
I can't think of someone saying it has "no substance" and if you reveal who said it it is most likely some critic who adores the old style a lot more and cries about anything else.

I just look at his command over audiences quotes from Chopin about that for instance, how much money he raised for flood victims, how royalty would change their official plans to listen to him (who can claim that these days?) etc etc, his playing was something different and to say it is without substance is just ridiculous and sorry to say in my opinion simply blind and obstinate.

Liszt fits a large part of the music repetoire to say that it is all substanceless is to deny a great volume of pianistic sounds, orchestral sounds, musical ideas, memorable melodies etc etc. Simply ridiculous.
I was more referring to some of the ways he was ridiculed in some circles. I recall a "comic" of sorts (struggling to find a better word) in which he was smashing the keys of the piano. I believe Clara Schumann called it "noise", although I'm not sure whether that claim holds any ground. Regardless, the sonata and his other works are clearly not that and boundary pushing and most criticisms are likely a revolt to that.

I love a great deal of Liszt's output, and even removing his compositions he was a very important figure in music history regardless. If somebody held such a looming presence as a performer, yet they're still known as a composer FIRST, it goes to show how prolific and significant his works are.
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Offline themeandvariation

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #34 on: June 03, 2022, 03:22:43 PM
The few people that have criticized (said it was not so great)  this piece have elicited responses that not only defend this piece, but mischaracterize the comments as criticizing all of Liszt's compositions. 
It could be said that this 'gas lighting' tries to stomp down any criticism of this work.
Well, to my mind, this piece is enough to make one never want to hear a D# again (after 12,0000 pings, of course it has the 'chopstick effect').  :)  Beethoven at least knew that one more E in Fur Elise would be one too many!) :)
I appreciate a lot of Liszt's compositions - and his great sense of community outreach - (like transcribing the Beethoven's symphonies for 2 pianos) but this piece, to my mind, is definitely 'lesser' (not to say the worst) than his other works.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #35 on: June 04, 2022, 03:57:49 AM
The OP asked for works with substance, ALL of Liszts works are with substance, I think it is stupid to think a piece has less substance than another is that even the question of the op (they suggest empty displays of virtuosity is connected to lack of substance but that is just generalised gibberish)? It is just quite subjective and if you are talking to laymen who constitute the greater amount of music listeners they will just laugh at you. La Campanella is with a lot of substance, and the six Grandes études de Paganini are simply legendary good. Why is it so popular and heard all over the place? I think people are being utterly ridiculous to think it is a lesser work, but each to their own. I just don't think people can claim their have special insider knowledge knowing what pieces have substance or not, it's just crazy thinking.
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Offline ranjit

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #36 on: June 04, 2022, 06:06:39 AM
 Btw Clara Schumann is one of the only reviewers of Liszt who said anything significantly negative, and it appears she had personal beef with Liszt. Either jealousy or some kind of personal/relationship related stuff, I don't exactly remember.

People have their personal opinions, naturally. I think the point at which the thread diverged was where it was implied that some pieces inherently have less substance (La Campanella), but people can project their own ideas onto the work, and in turn it can feel meaningful to them. I think this is a mischaracterization of what occurs -- I would argue that the reason for the appeal is rooted in the fact that it has substance, at least for such pieces. It's not something temporary that has been propped up by an industry -- people do and have appreciated it for centuries, and I would say you're missing something if you think it's just technical firework. After all, people tend to prefer simple pieces nowadays, so it's probably harder for a virtuosic piece to be still heard and well-liked than an easy one to be honest.

So I don't think it's quite correct to say that people like La Campanella despite it being an objectively "bad" piece. I think it usually comes from elitism. After all, those people who say a lot of Liszt lacks substance (which I take to mean musical complexity and thought put into composition?) will point to something like a Chopin ballade. But if complexity is what you're after, why stop at a Chopin Ballade? Why don't I hear them saying we should be listening to a Bartok concerto, which is arguably more complex and has a lot of substance? But I find the same people also stuck in the same classical/romantic style in terms of their listening preferences. So I just find it to be close minded gatekeeping for the most part, rather than an objective viewpoint.

Offline kc_gracie

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #37 on: June 20, 2022, 08:58:09 PM
My suggestions for some great pieces are listed below. I feel like people generally respond well to these pieces and works and I personally feel like they have good depth to them. Feel free to agree of not, these are just pieces that mean something to me and I feel like are fairly well regarded.

1. Chopin Ballade 1 (as was mentioned) - THE ballade as some concert goers have referred to according to Barenboim
2. Chopin Ballade 4
3. Chopin Fantasy in F minor (for me - just an amazing piece)
4. Chopin Polonaise-fantasie (again, just so many layers here)
5. Beethoven Op.109. Op.110, Op.111 (any of the 3 last sonatas - can't go wrong and beautiful display of technique and that emotional depth, especially in the last movements of each)
6. Beethoven Waldstein sonata (my favorite other than Op.111)
7. Liszt apres une lecture du dante
8. Liszt benediction de dieu dans la solitude (not sure if crowd pleasing, but certainly they would enjoy this - I hope)
9. Bach/Busoni chaconne
10. Scriabin Sonata No.2

These are just some suggestions. I could list too many. If you are looking for shorter pieces, I could also come back with more. These are just some great pieces that I love and I know other people do as well, so worth a consideration.

Hope this helps.

-KC
 

Offline hmoll53

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #38 on: June 27, 2022, 05:12:28 PM
Here's just a list of pieces that I think any people would enjoy:
Debussy - L'isle Joyeuse
Scriabin - Prelude and Nocturne for Left Hand
Rachmaninoff - Prelude Op.23 No.4
Bach - Prelude and Fugue in E-Flat Minor
Mozart - Fantasy in C Minor
Scriabin - Etude Op.8 No.12
Chopin - Scherzo No.2

And for the more experienced listeners:
Medtner - Sonata Ballade Op.27
Ornstein - Sonata No.8
Scriabin - Sonata No.5
Barber - Sonata
Chopin - Polonaise Fantasy
Beethoven - Hammerklavier Sonata
Sorabji - In the Hothouse
Some Current Repertoire:
Scriabin: Sonatas 2,4 and 5
Chopin: Ballade 1,4, Scherzo 1
Rachmaninoff: Concerto 3
Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit
Barber: Sonata
Beethoven: Appassionata

Offline lelle

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #39 on: July 04, 2022, 11:03:28 AM
Here's just a list of pieces that I think any people would enjoy:
Debussy - L'isle Joyeuse
Scriabin - Prelude and Nocturne for Left Hand
Rachmaninoff - Prelude Op.23 No.4
Bach - Prelude and Fugue in E-Flat Minor
Mozart - Fantasy in C Minor
Scriabin - Etude Op.8 No.12
Chopin - Scherzo No.2

And for the more experienced listeners:
Medtner - Sonata Ballade Op.27
Ornstein - Sonata No.8
Scriabin - Sonata No.5
Barber - Sonata
Chopin - Polonaise Fantasy
Beethoven - Hammerklavier Sonata
Sorabji - In the Hothouse

Good list, but L'isle Joyeuse strikes me as a piece that is not immediately accessible to the average audience. It's a bit of a strange piece. I don't think first level listeners of classical music are going to take. Clair de Lune or La Cathedrale Engloutie would be more suitable IMO

Offline hmoll53

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #40 on: July 04, 2022, 06:47:33 PM
Good list, but L'isle Joyeuse strikes me as a piece that is not immediately accessible to the average audience. It's a bit of a strange piece. I don't think first level listeners of classical music are going to take. Clair de Lune or La Cathedrale Engloutie would be more suitable IMO

Potentially, any early Debussy will strike more with non musical audiences. I just put it there because I performed the L'isle Joyeuse and it was quite well received... But they will take Clair De Lune, Arabesque and Reverie over it any day (I mean, Early Debussy is wonderful)  :)
Some Current Repertoire:
Scriabin: Sonatas 2,4 and 5
Chopin: Ballade 1,4, Scherzo 1
Rachmaninoff: Concerto 3
Ravel: Gaspard de la Nuit
Barber: Sonata
Beethoven: Appassionata

Offline napede

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #41 on: February 06, 2023, 05:54:34 PM
Happened with me with the 4th Ballade, they clapped right before the coda lol. I wanted to keep going but it completely killed the momentum and I just let them think that was the end.
???
You are in charge, not the audience. Do not lose focus and just plow on, they will realize that there is more to come. But considering that you HAD lost your focus, ending it there was maybe for the best. 

Offline sjc is the best

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #42 on: April 18, 2023, 09:32:06 PM
Liszt Widmung is a great crowdpleaser-particularly as an encore (Van Cliburn was quite famous for playing it a lot).

Offline franks66

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #43 on: April 19, 2023, 07:53:49 AM
Bach Toccata e minor (expressive. great italian style fugue)
Mozart Rondo a minor KV 511 (on the quieter side, but very colorful)
Schubert hungarian melody
Liszt Gnomenreigen (don't know if you call this one substantial, but it's colorful and funny)
Grieg Wedding day
Rachmaninov Etude op 39,5
Scriabin Etude op 42 c# minor
Debussy Reflets dans l'eau
Glinka/Balakirev The lark
Sibelius Impromptu op 5.5

Offline transitional

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #44 on: May 16, 2023, 06:12:22 PM
Beethoven op. 31 no. 2 is one of my favorites and it can appeal to essentially anyone.
Schubert sonatas are amazing and I want to learn all of them eventually! My favorites are D 960, D 959, D 840, D 568, and D 894.

Offline visitor

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #45 on: May 22, 2023, 10:19:44 PM
So long as it's not Schumann, anything that the crowd enjoys is fair game

Offline ammyvl1

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #46 on: May 23, 2023, 04:03:22 AM
how royalty would change their official plans to listen to him (who can claim that these days?)
there's a lot less royalty these days in general to be fair :P.

In regards to substance of a piece, while it is necessarily a subjective measure, most musicians will agree in broad strokes whether a piece has depth or not. Most would agree that something like Liszt's Rondo Fantastique, while virtuosic and quite entertaining, does not contain the same level of depth as his B minor Sonata. Or listen to Gottschalk's Grande Tarantelle--it's a fun piece to listen to, but it doesn't really contain the grace you'd find in Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise. To feign that "this is all subjective, and I disagree with the very premise of ranking pieces this way because we can't find rules, blah blah blah" is to reject the idea of depth in music at all. Even if we cannot agree on the rules which define depth, most people agree that some pieces have more depth than others. Thus the post is asking for these pieces which you think, in your opinion, have a bit of depth, while still being easily listenable for the general public. How you define depth is irrelevant at the end of the day though, because it's really just up to the original poster to choose pieces they like, and if your definition varies from theirs, it won't kill anyone :).

Anyways to answer the original question, I think that the vast majority of Chopin's pieces are great in this regard. Specifically his nocturnes, but really it's hard to miss with Chopin. Also Debussy's preludes and images are good. If you want something less conventional, go with a Shostakovich Prelude and Fugue. If you choose wisely, you can get some of that sweet Shostakovich goodness, while still keeping it generally understandable. Prelude no. 8 might be good (but I am not the general public, so I don't know  ;)). Its fugue is not my favourite.
Current Pieces: Prokofiev Sarcasms No. 1, Ravel Le Tombeau de Couperin Prelude, Bach Prelude and Fugue no. 22, Chopin Prelude No. 16, Beethoven Sonata no. 6

Offline lelle

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #47 on: May 23, 2023, 11:11:15 AM
there's a lot less royalty these days in general to be fair :P.

In regards to substance of a piece, while it is necessarily a subjective measure, most musicians will agree in broad strokes whether a piece has depth or not. Most would agree that something like Liszt's Rondo Fantastique, while virtuosic and quite entertaining, does not contain the same level of depth as his B minor Sonata. Or listen to Gottschalk's Grande Tarantelle--it's a fun piece to listen to, but it doesn't really contain the grace you'd find in Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise. To feign that "this is all subjective, and I disagree with the very premise of ranking pieces this way because we can't find rules, blah blah blah" is to reject the idea of depth in music at all. Even if we cannot agree on the rules which define depth, most people agree that some pieces have more depth than others. Thus the post is asking for these pieces which you think, in your opinion, have a bit of depth, while still being easily listenable for the general public. How you define depth is irrelevant at the end of the day though, because it's really just up to the original poster to choose pieces they like, and if your definition varies from theirs, it won't kill anyone :).

I think you make this point brilliantly. Though I am in the camp of "music is subjective", including its depth - I listen to too much weird, acquired-taste-like music that I would be a hypocrite if I wasn't - I also acknowledge that as you say, there will be some kind of general consensus around which pieces have more depth, and which have less, and you can sort of just feel this, even if there are individual differences. For example, some people find a lot of depth in some of Liszt's compositions, while others think it's all just vulgar (looking at you, Schiff).

Speaking of royalty, what's so special about royalty anyways? Why does what they think dictate quality more than what anyone else thinks? They're just humans at the end of the day, their farts stink just the same, and they have all of the same human failings as we all do. I think everyone benefits when we don't put certain people on pedestals.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Great crowdpleaser pieces with substance?
Reply #48 on: May 24, 2023, 03:01:16 PM
there's a lot less royalty these days in general to be fair :P.
If you knew the extensive list of royals that did listen and the fact that some of those royal families still exist and are still in power (eg Queen Victoria of UK descendants) your comment doesn't take away anything at all about Liszt's supreme popularity during his time.


In regards to substance of a piece, while it is necessarily a subjective measure, most musicians will agree in broad strokes whether a piece has depth or not. Most would agree that something like Liszt's Rondo Fantastique, while virtuosic and quite entertaining, does not contain the same level of depth as his B minor Sonata. Or listen to Gottschalk's Grande Tarantelle--it's a fun piece to listen to, but it doesn't really contain the grace you'd find in Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise. To feign that "this is all subjective, and I disagree with the very premise of ranking pieces this way because we can't find rules, blah blah blah" is to reject the idea of depth in music at all. Even if we cannot agree on the rules which define depth, most people agree that some pieces have more depth than others. Thus the post is asking for these pieces which you think, in your opinion, have a bit of depth, while still being easily listenable for the general public. How you define depth is irrelevant at the end of the day though, because it's really just up to the original poster to choose pieces they like, and if your definition varies from theirs, it won't kill anyone :).
All pieces have substance and depth though and it is a subjective question because some people love certain pieces while others won't no matter which fuddy fuddy academic tries to prove how marvellous a piece is.
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