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#1340378 - 01/04/10 08:36 AM Chopin ballades difficulties?
njalli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/09
Posts: 34
Can you arrange the Chopin Ballades in Difficulty order from hardest to easiest please laugh

I want to play a chopin ballade soon (not the 4th one its to advanced for me)
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Currently learning:

Pathetique sonata
Bach french suite no. 6
Chopin ballade 2


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#1340387 - 01/04/10 08:54 AM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: njalli]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13804
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I always put them 3124, although I know some people reverse the middle two.
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"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1340392 - 01/04/10 08:58 AM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: njalli]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
IMO, from most difficult to least, I would rank them as follows:

- #4
- #1
- #2
- #3

#1, and #2 could be switched, but I would say 3 is definately the least difficult, and 4 is the most difficult.


Edited by Phlebas (01/04/10 09:00 AM)

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#1340395 - 01/04/10 09:04 AM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Phlebas]
njalli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/09
Posts: 34
Okei thanks, phiebas.. i thougt the same too

but kreisler.. dont you mean that the no. 4 is the hardest one? haven't you reversed the order?
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Pathetique sonata
Bach french suite no. 6
Chopin ballade 2


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#1340422 - 01/04/10 09:42 AM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: njalli]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: njalli
Okei thanks, phiebas.. i thougt the same too

but kreisler.. dont you mean that the no. 4 is the hardest one? haven't you reversed the order?


Not to speak for Kreisler, but I think that's what he meant.

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#1340494 - 01/04/10 12:12 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Phlebas]
limavady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/09
Posts: 379
Loc: California
...i think that would be true. even though you asked for difficulty from hardest to easiest it seems more logical to list them from easiest to hardest since that would be the way you'd be studing them.

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#1340500 - 01/04/10 12:21 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: limavady]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13804
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Yes, I got it backwards. Sorry!

4213
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1340576 - 01/04/10 01:41 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Kreisler]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Why do you say 2 is more difficult than 1?

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#1340612 - 01/04/10 02:43 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Phlebas]
njalli Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/09
Posts: 34
Haha i thougt so Kreisler, thanks ! I think i might ask my teacher if she will let me play the 3rd one.. my favorite laugh

But how is the 3rd one compared to Liebestraum? I know that the ballade is a lot longer but is it harder?
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Currently learning:

Pathetique sonata
Bach french suite no. 6
Chopin ballade 2


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#1340669 - 01/04/10 04:02 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: njalli]
xtraheat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 625
Loc: WV
I would say: 1-4-2-3
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Bach WTC II no. 15

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#1340686 - 01/04/10 04:13 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: xtraheat]
Fredil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/25/08
Posts: 216
From my personal experience, the Ballade No. 3 is much more difficult than the No. 1...

3-1-2-4

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#1340696 - 01/04/10 04:23 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Fredil]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Fredil
From my personal experience, the Ballade No. 3 is much more difficult than the No. 1...

3-1-2-4


So, you're saying the 4th is the least difficult, and #3 is the most difficult? Not sure I can agree with that.

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#1340697 - 01/04/10 04:25 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Phlebas]
Fredil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/25/08
Posts: 216
Nonono - sorry, I went and made a silly mistake. :P

4-2-3-1, then, in decreasing order.


Edited by Fredil (01/04/10 04:26 PM)

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#1340730 - 01/04/10 04:58 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Fredil]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
Ok. I couldn't tell from what you said about 1 being less difficult than 3.

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#1340744 - 01/04/10 05:13 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Phlebas]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13804
Loc: Iowa City, IA
1 is kind of an odd bird. Without the coda and some of the rhythmic quirks (the quintuplet stuff), it'd probably be the easiest. But the coda is a nightmare!
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1340749 - 01/04/10 05:15 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Phlebas]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5523
Loc: Orange County, CA
Wow, this thread is confused.

Hardest--#4 by far!! I don't think I can ever play it perfectly.

Next Hardest--#1 It's musically demanding, must make transitions between sections smooth and seamless, and the two fast sections are very difficult. This is my favorite ballade.

#3 and #2 are difficult in different ways. I think #2 is slightly easier than #3 only because I don't like #2 . I also revere #3 quite a bit because I think it's one of the most beautiful pieces of music _ever_ written.
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#1340757 - 01/04/10 05:20 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: AZNpiano]
Fredil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/25/08
Posts: 216
2 is definitely harder than 3, if for nothing other than the horrific Presto con fuoco.

I think that 1 is, in general, technically more difficult (mainly the coda), but that 3 requires a greater degree of control and virtuosity and is more difficult in general.

xtraheat, what makes you think that 4 is among the easiest?

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#1340761 - 01/04/10 05:24 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Phlebas]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6377
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
This is all very good - but I'd be curious to know the rationale for the various rankings.

What specifically makes 4 more difficult than 3 - from a technical and interpretive standpoint?

Why would 2 be considered more difficult than 1, or 1 more difficult than 2?

Over the past 40 years I've known aspiring pianists who tackled No. 1 while still in high school - whether they were ready to do so or not. In college it seemed that piano majors performed 1, 2 and 3 the most frequently - but rarely did anyone play the 4th.

And of course - we all deal differently with the various technical challenges that are thrown at us. What may be easy for one pianist might be challenging for another.

NOTE: Apparently as soon as I started to write this post - three or four other members submitted statements addressing what I'm asking about. Thanks !


Edited by carey (01/04/10 05:26 PM)
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#1340778 - 01/04/10 05:37 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: carey]
Phlebas Offline


Registered: 01/02/03
Posts: 4654
Loc: New York City
My rationale for ranking them the way I did:

#4 - Most difficult because it has more of a contrapuntal quality than the other 3, some rhythmic difficulty, is the most lengthy, and the coda is very difficult.

#1 - Some difficult passagework, some rhythmic problems, and the code is hard.

#2 - Presto con fuoco section difficult and tiring.

#3 - Definately not easy, but without the killer codas of the other 3.

It is subjective, though.

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#1340787 - 01/04/10 05:43 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: carey]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6377
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Per AZNpiano - "#3 and #2 are difficult in different ways. I think #2 is slightly easier than #3 only because I don't like #2 . I also revere #3 quite a bit because I think it's one of the most beautiful pieces of music _ever_ written."
___________________________________________________

Its funny that you should say that. I think #3 is the least interesting - perhaps because I've been familiar with it for the longest period of time. I'm currently playing #2. The most challenging part of this Ballade (for me, at least)is the dramatic contrast between sections. The final presto is almost impossible to play up to speed on a piano with a heavy action due to the repeated notes in the top voice!! Its much more manageable on an instrument with a lighter action !! Ashkenazy's performance of this Ballade blows me away !!
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#1340789 - 01/04/10 05:46 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: carey]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6377
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Phlebas - The Presto con fuoco section in No. 2 is intense, but blessedly short!

Thanks for your response !!
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YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1340798 - 01/04/10 05:55 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: carey]
Fredil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/25/08
Posts: 216
carey, the Presto con fuoco of the Ballade No. 2 is not short. The initial playing of it is, but the recapitulation lasts about one and a half minutes, far longer than the Presto con fuoco of the Ballade No. 1.

I would consider the entire ending segment of the Ballade No. 3 to be a Presto con fuoco of sorts. It's hard and fast enough. shocked

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#1340801 - 01/04/10 05:57 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: carey]
gerg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 1651
Loc: Houston, TX
I love #3 and #2. Not to diminish in any wise the famous #1 and #4, each rich with its own opulence and inspired artistry, but the Op. 47 and Op. 38 are my personal favorites.

Op. 47 is a current project of mine, in my opinion the most gay and whimsical of the set. It requires a fast and delicate touch beginning m. 116. The notes are "easy"; the artistry is not. The tumultuous C#-minor section beginning m 172 is likely saved from comparison difficultywise to the other Ballades' codas only on account of its brevity. It demands a variety of technical skills, but I share in the consensus that it is the easiest of the set.

Op. 38 I've played with, though not seriously. It is a future love-interest amongst the Ballades. I've given it the nickname "the Bipolar Ballade" (with apologies to Monsieur Fryderyk) on account of its clear-cut circumscription. The presto con fuoco, fast, angry though mercifully patterned runs proceed a tonal torrent leading to the LH runs. This, to me, evokes the desperation of the battlefield, with banners flying, war horses thundering, and casualties lying prostrate bleeding in the grass. I've not played through the lovely A-theme though can imagine a delicacy of voicing each finger perfectly is paramount.

Cannot comment on Op. 23 or Op. 52 other than to express my profound reverence for anyone who can play them.

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#1340806 - 01/04/10 06:00 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Fredil]
gerg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 1651
Loc: Houston, TX
The ending of Op. 47, i.e. the section marked by final return to Ab major, is not all that difficult for anyone who has played Chopin for awhile. It can be thought of as a sort of grandiose Valse. The preceding sections demand much more of the pianist, not only in sheer strength but in sensitivity.

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#1340814 - 01/04/10 06:13 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: gerg]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6377
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Friedl - My bad !! I was referring specifically to the "Agitato" section (the final 36 measures of the Ballade) - not the Presto con fuoco - which begins 28 measures earlier. The Agitato is (in my opinion) the most challenging section of No. 2.
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#1340815 - 01/04/10 06:14 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: gerg]
LaReginadellaNotte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 390
Do you find the f minor Ballade to be the most technically demanding, or simply the most interpretively demanding? I know that the double note passages are very difficult, but the double notes of #2 and the Coda of #1 are also hard- although perhaps not as hard as #4's Coda.

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#1340820 - 01/04/10 06:19 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: LaReginadellaNotte]
gerg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 1651
Loc: Houston, TX
I've heard that but have never approached the Op. 52 in F-minor so am unqualified to answer. Others who are far more knowledgeable have on this thread rendered a general difficulty opinion, and the consistency of that consensus would incline me to believe the answer to both of your questions is "yes."

Does anyone who plays Op. 52 have an opinion on its difficulties in interpretive vs. technical demands?

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#1340829 - 01/04/10 06:37 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Fredil]
xtraheat Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 625
Loc: WV
Originally Posted By: Fredil

xtraheat, what makes you think that 4 is among the easiest?


I don't think that it is one of the easiest, I think that is the 2nd hardest, and "about" the same difficulty as the first one. However, while the 4th has short difficult sections throughout, the 1st one has a couple of sustained virtuosic parts that I found more difficult than anything in the 4th.
_________________________
Currently working on
Prokofiev Piano Concerto 3
Beethoven Sonata Op.109
Chopin Op.10 No.1
Bach WTC II no. 15

--Sam--

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#1340917 - 01/04/10 08:18 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: carey]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4528
Loc: in the past
2 is the hardest, no question. It's awkward, difficult to interpret (well they all are but especially this one). It's not as pianistically written as the other three, even No. 4 and that makes it hell. After playing them all, that's what I think. Most people think I'm crazy..

From hardest: 2, 4, 1, 3.
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#1340969 - 01/04/10 09:10 PM Re: Chopin ballades difficulties? [Re: Pogorelich.]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
I think it depends on the person, actually. For me, 1 and 3 are easy(er) to understand musically, 2 and 4 are (even more) difficult to understand musically. This is my personal breakdown, and may not apply to you or anyone else:

Click to reveal..

Ballade 4: I happen to have no trouble with any of the technical difficulties Ballade 4 throws out there, so I would not rank it the hardest. My biggest problem with Ballade 4 would be the musicality of it.

Ballade 3 has some tricky "chord-arpeggios" near the end that happen to be my technical weakness, but like I said above, musically I think it's not very difficult.

Ballade 2 is the ballade I have studied and that I currently perform. For the life of me, I cannot get the very final arpeggios of Ballade 2 clean at the tempo I want it (heck, the entire Ravel Toccata is easier for me than the final arpeggios of Ballade 2, and believe me, I can handle the roughest spots of the Ravel Toccata pretty well). The accuracy is usually a "hit or miss" sort of deal, and I've gotten lucky so far!

Ballade 1 also has those chord-arpeggios in the coda section. Musically, it doesn't seem too awfully difficult to understand, but it presents more of a technical challenge than Ballade 3, and is a toss-up against Ballade 2.


AngelinaPogorelich, I would be very inclined to agree with you.


Edited by Orange Soda King (01/04/10 09:11 PM)

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