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difficulty of Grieg's Concerto in A Minor compared to Moonlight Sonata. (Read 17870 times)

Offline kilini

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I plan to do the Concerto after Moonlight (all 3). How much of a jump would it be? If Moonlight is ABRSM 8, how much would Grieg's be?

Piano Street's Digital Sheet Music Library

Grieg: Piano Concerto, opus 16
piano sheet music of Piano Concerto


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Beethoven: Sonata 14 (Moonlight), opus 27 no 2
piano sheet music of Sonata 14 (Moonlight)


Offline viking

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I plan to do the Concerto after Moonlight (all 3). How much of a jump would it be? If Moonlight is ABRSM 8, how much would Grieg's be?
As i am from canada, i dont know what abrsm is, but if you can play the last movement of the moonlight very fast and musically without tension, the concerto should be no problem.  I played the moonlight, and a year later i am playing List concerto no. 2. The only problem you might have with the greig is the memorization but technique-wise you should be fine.

Offline Rach3

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The Grieg concerto is a lot harder than the finale of 27/2, technically and otherwise.

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As i am from canada, i dont know what abrsm is, but if you can play the last movement of the moonlight very fast and musically without tension, the concerto should be no problem.

This is just plain stupid. Grieg is a major romantic concerto, which demands maturity and technique quite beyond what is required by an early beethoven showpiece. If you're not familiar with the Grieg, it has some serious technical demands. It could make someone really miserable if they tried to figure it out before they were ready for it. Heck, it could lead to injury. You are giving bad advice here; I have no respect for that.

-Rach3
"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."
--Richard Wagner

Offline BoliverAllmon

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The Grieg concerto is a lot harder than the finale of 27/2, technically and otherwise.

This is just plain stupid. Grieg is a major romantic concerto, which demands maturity and technique quite beyond what is required by an early beethoven showpiece. If you're not familiar with the Grieg, it has some serious technical demands. It could make someone really miserable if they tried to figure it out before they were ready for it. Heck, it could lead to injury. You are giving bad advice here; I have no respect for that.

-Rach3

agreed

Offline thierry13

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What is your background except of the moonlight sonata? But yeah, it's a big jump from moonlight 3rd to Grieg's concerto.

Offline kilini

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What is your background except of the moonlight sonata? But yeah, it's a big jump from moonlight 3rd to Grieg's concerto.

Let's just say the Moonlight would be the hardest in my repertoire.  :-[

Well, my teacher didn't warn me anything. She herself could not play it. Big surprise for someone whose repertoire's peak is the Moonlight Sonata. Ugh.

Offline thierry13

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... I do not recommend any concerto to you. Continue playing solo repertoire. And I recommend changing teacher... you will fast become better than your teacher if she can't even play the Grieg's concerto.

Offline MickConstansky

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Why not try and and go through Beethoven's 5th, Hummel's A minor, Chopin's F minor and Schumann's A minor first.  I am not talking about serious practicing, just sight read through the concertos and if you find them easy you'll have absolutely no problem.  If not, why not do some preparatory work on Chopins Etudes and Rachmaninov's Preludes.  The technical vocabulary of Beethoven is very different from the technical vocabulary of the late Romantic composers, practicing the studies and preludes of Chopin and Rachmaninov is certainly a better way to prepare yourself.

Offline Awakening

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Concerning the concerto, I agree with most other people who have responded.  Going from Moonlight Sonata to Grieg's Concerto is silly--for a couple reasons.  The only time you should learn a concerto is when you will actually be playing it with an orchestra.  Is there an orchestra who would be willing to play with you?  If not, then there is very little point in learning a concerto.  You can have someone else do a two-piano duet with you, but it won't sound the way a concerto is supposed to.  If Moonlight Sonata third movement is the most difficult piece you have learned, it probably means you haven't tackled much romantic repertoire, as most pieces by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, etc. are of equal or greater difficulty than the Sonata.  It is commendable that you have learned an entire Sonata, as it shows you can play a lengthy piece of music (presumably) from start to finish without error.  Get a few more sonatas under your belt, along with several studies and a well-rounded repertoire (from the romantic period) before you look think of seriously studying Grieg's concerto.

Yes, it is considered one of the easier concerti, but that's compared to other popular, "big-sounding" concerti such as those by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Prokofiev, Beethoven, and so on.  Compared to other more difficult concerti, Grieg's isn't too demanding, but compared to most solo piano pieces, it's a huge undertaking.  Tremendous stamina and technical skill is required in many places throughout the concerto, which may be difficult to recognize simply from listening to a recording of it.  It's easy to fall in love with this piece--it's quite beautiful, and doesn't sound too difficult, but concerti are very good at covering up a lot of the nuances of the piano playing with the orchestral parts.

The sonata is not an easy piece, nor is it short, but Grieg's concerto is a good 7 minutes longer, and is on a totally different level in terms of difficulty.  The concerto is considered a collegiate level piece (as with most concerti, and with good reason) whereas the sonata is probably a level 8 piece, as you said.  Level 8 would be like a late high school piece, meaning there is a year or two gap (for most people) between the sonata and the concerto.  Don't be in any hurry to learn pieces that are beyond your abilities.  It's better to learn pieces that are challenging, but more because they are different to what you've learned in the past than because they are clearly well above the difficulty of your learned repertoire.  It's good to have a well-rounded music education, so make sure you have learned pieces by Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Haydn, etc.--representative composers from baroque, classical and romantic periods.  Grieg does fit in there, but maybe you could try learning an easier piece by him first, such as one from his lyric suite--some of these are quite challening and fun to play.

Hope my advice has helped.  Bottom line:  Don't learn the concerto, YET.

Offline kilini

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Wow. Thanks for all your wonderful posts. I've definitely changed my mind about learning the concerto. :)

I wish I could change my teacher. She is horrible, horrible, and calls pieces songs.

Offline bachmaninov

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I wish I could change my teacher. She is horrible, horrible, and calls pieces songs.

 :o Wow, that is something...

Offline AvoidedCadence

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Definately agree (with everybody else above), Grieg cto is huge compared to early-middle beethoven sonatas.

Why can't you get another teacher?  If your teacher never had the technique/learning skills to play bigger pieces, chances are s/he won't be able to help you much with them either (although it's not impossible).  If you are considering changing teachers, don't be embarassed to say: You've taught me everything you can.  Thanks.

... and move on to another teacher who uses proper musical terminology. >:(
Always play as though a master listened.
 - Robert Schumann

Offline kilini

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My dear mother thinks it would be AWFULLY rude to quit my teacher. She calls me arrogant and says it's either this teacher or no teacher. Arrgh.

On the positive side, I only have to stay here for a summer. Then I'm off to college with a piano teacher from Oberlin Conservatory. :)

Offline viking

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The Grieg concerto is a lot harder than the finale of 27/2, technically and otherwise.

This is just plain stupid. Grieg is a major romantic concerto, which demands maturity and technique quite beyond what is required by an early beethoven showpiece. If you're not familiar with the Grieg, it has some serious technical demands. It could make someone really miserable if they tried to figure it out before they were ready for it. Heck, it could lead to injury. You are giving bad advice here; I have no respect for that.
Doesn't any concerto demand maturity to an extent??  12 year olds play grieg 1st movement in canadian music competition, not saying they have the perfect maturity, and they are really good 12 year olds.  The 1st movement of the grieg isn't hard at all, I mean, I just sightread the whole thing and theres nothing quite difficult about it compared to moonlight 3rd.  Sure it will take work, but injury??? I would plan on learning 1st movement after moonlight, and if its too much work, dont learn it.
SAM

Offline Rach3

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Quote
The 1st movement of the grieg isn't hard at all, I mean, I just sightread the whole thing and theres nothing quite difficult about it compared to moonlight 3rd.  Sure it will take work, but injury???

I can easily imagine someone with the wrong technique but lots of passion slaving away at the Grieg cadenza for hours, trying to get those tremolos as fast as possible, and destroying him/herself with painful tendonitis. There's a big difference between begin able to read through something once, and being able to play it. I can read through the Hammerklavier fugue sub-tempo, does that mean anything?

I stand by my original advice, don't commit yourself to a major work like Grieg without a competent and supportive teacher. One whom you trust to help you.

And I stand by my original advice to viking: stop giving bad advice.

-Rach3
"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."
--Richard Wagner

Offline viking

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I can easily imagine someone with the wrong technique but lots of passion slaving away at the Grieg cadenza for hours, trying to get those tremolos as fast as possible, and destroying him/herself with painful tendonitis................

I stand by my original advice, don't commit yourself to a major work like Grieg without a competent and supportive teacher. One whom you trust to help you.

And I stand by my original advice to viking: stop giving bad advice.


My friend played grieg concerto after playing 1st mvmt of pathetique which is ARCT graded lower than moonlight, and pulled it off brilliantly.  He competed in Canadian Nationals with Grieg and won 2nd place in Canada.  I am only advising based on experience, while your advice is purely a subjective opinion.  It is entirely possible for Kilini to play Grieg, and not only play it, but play it well.  It's not bad advice that I give, I have every reason to give it based on experience, not subjectivity.
SAM


Offline Rach3

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My friend played grieg concerto after playing 1st mvmt of pathetique...

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...I am only advising based on experience, while your advice is purely a subjective opinion...

I applaud your friend's achivements. Nevertheless, Pathetique is definitely far easier than Grieg - the vast majority of students just learning Pathetique are years away from being able to do Grieg well. Perhaps your friend was especially talented (as appears to be the case), or Pathetique wasn't a technical challenge to him, or both. But it is a severe fallacy to give advice on a single past experience, especially if you already knew your friend must have been unusally talented to begin with, having played Grieg in a national competition. You cannot give advice assuming that everyone is exceptionally talented!

Some 16-year old played Rach's 3rd once after doing op. 2/3, everyone should play it!

You see? And I'm not arguing purely from 'subjective' opinion; I personally know quite a few people who have performed the Grieg concerto. One was as young as eleven. That person's performance was exceedingly immature and unmusical. Three other Griegs, ages 14-16, were overall quite bad. One of these persons had learned the Beethoven 1st concerto in the same year; another played both op. 78 and op. 109 (I think). Much harder than op. 13 or op. 27/2! And none of them played Grieg well, in fact all were quite technically deficient. Not that they were bad pianists... they had all ended up learning a concerto that they were not ready for, simply because of its popularity. I did hear one excellent Grieg at a recent competition - from a 22-year old who also played some of the harder Chopin etudes.

Anyway, my point is that most people have played things much harder than Moonlight or Pathetique before attemtping the Grieg concerto. Which makes perfect sense - if you believe that Grieg is a relatively difficult concerto for most people.

So there you go.

Again, I stand by my original advice, whatever it was.

-Rach3
"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."
--Richard Wagner

Offline viking

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The way you say it it makes sence.  My friend is exceptionally talented, and I didnt think the 1st movement was that tough, but it might be tougher to other people.  I agree with your opinion.
SAM

Offline kilini

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Well, I've been called exceptionally talented, but I'm not about to assume that I actually am. I don't want to end up with tendonitis. :P I'll look into Chopin etudes and Debussy now. Never really liked the concerto, anyway.

Offline george_gu777

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If you can play well op 27 n. 2 you can try Grieg piano concerto , I remember in 1992 I learned pathetic and moonlight and I   learned  Grieg's piano concerto 3 months later. I don't know about your piano playing , but just try it. :)

Offline pianoplayer002

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Holy mother of necromancy.