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#380315 - 03/14/07 11:48 AM If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Xinito Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 12
Concertos excluded. When I meant "great," I refer to pieces that can best symbolize an era or an ideal, and pieces that are complex in structure and content. Therefore, the "greatest" pieces are not necessarily pieces that one likes the most. My picks are:

1. Beethoven's Hammerklavier piano sonata (for its complexity, I think it represents the pinnacle of the classical sonata genre);

2. Schubert's Wanderer Fantasie (for its great contribution to the transition from the classical to the romantic period, being a single movement work with those mini-movements, also for its virtuosity, message, and sheer power).

3. Liszt's Dante Sonata: I think it represents the pinnacle of something remarkable in the music-making of the romantic period (something Liszt started doing so well) -- music was no longer made for its own sake, but composed with larger social, cultural, historical priorities in mind. I feel this piece is Liszt's most successul attempt at this, partly due to the fact that the backdrop was a literary masterpiece.

Some notes: I didn't pick any Chopin pieces because most of his pieces are those 10-minute long ones that are not extremely complex and cannot be said to be masterpieces on their own right. Also didn't choose from Bach or Mozart because I don't know them too well, and they are a little too far away.

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#380316 - 03/14/07 11:56 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Reaper978 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/05
Posts: 1325
The Art of the Fugue.

While the Dante Sonata is one of my favorite pieces, I wouldn't quite consider it the greatest of the genre.

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#380317 - 03/14/07 12:01 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Reaper978:
While the Dante Sonata is one of my favorite pieces, I wouldn't quite consider it the greatest of the genre.
Funnily, I was just listening to the Dante Sonata yesterday! I would have to agree with you, as much as I love the piece. I'll have to think about the other stuff in time, Xinito.
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#380318 - 03/14/07 12:04 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
The ERA: Today
The IDEAL: Getting pianos into people's homes

Fur Elise: It's sold more pianos than "Heart and Soul."

Rondo Alla Turca: inspires more adults to "get back into lessons" than anything else.

Fantasie Impromptu: #1 "demo song" built into the "Demo button" on digital pianos; and with its opposing timings in the left hand and right is one of the most frustrating pieces to actually LEARN -- no matter how many keys light up or flash to guide you.
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#380319 - 03/14/07 12:12 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Fleeting Visions Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
Going by period:
Baroque: Bach's Organ Works

Classical: Wanderer Fantasy, Schubert (Important predecessor to the Liszt Sonata)

Romantic: Liszt Sonata, S178

Early Modernism: Stravinsky-Agosti "Three Movements from The Firebird."

Mid-20th century: Barber, Sonata.

Late 20th century: Vine Sonata #1 (1990)

21st century: Nagel Piano Concerto (pardon me! :p )


My favorite miniature is...

the Mazeppa. Forgive me \:D
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Amateur Pianist, Scriabin Enthusiast, and Octave Demon

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#380320 - 03/14/07 12:13 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Okay I'll bite:

Beethoven - Sonata in Ab Major, Op. 110
Chosen because no other classical sonata presents such a rich and compact world. It has elements that are obviously secular (the scherzo), obviously religious (the fugue), obviously instrumental (the transition of the first movement), and obviously vocal (the recitative.) Quite simply, this sonata has it all.

Schumann - Kinderszenen, Op. 15
If anything typifies the romantic period, it's the character piece. This set strikes just the right balance of programmatic (the titles of the scenes) and abstract (that it's meant as a personal remembrance and not simply a musical portrayal of the scenes.)

Berg - Sonata, Op. 1
More fin-de-siecle angst per square inch than any other piano work ever written. It's tonal, but only just barely.


Honorable Mentions:

Bach - Clavierubung I
Let's face it. This publication was the summation of Baroque suite writing and Bach's ideas on keyboard playing.

Chopin - Etudes, Op. 10
Without these, we'd be lost in space.

Liszt - Années de Pèlerinage, Second year, Italy
I strongly believe that this, and not the sonata or the etudes, is Liszt's greatest achievement. The pieces in this opus display great virtuosity and poetry, and ample amounts of both at that!

Debussy - Preludes, Bk. 1
Nobody's piano sounded the same after these. Truly revolutionary as regards the sonic possibilities of the instrument.
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#380321 - 03/14/07 12:19 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Fleeting Visions Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
My turn!

Transcription Thread!

Baroque:

Bach-Liszt Organ Works (Not the chaconne...)

bach-Godowsky Cello Suites Honorable Mention.

Classical:

Beethoven-Liszt: Symphonies (Haha!)

Romantic:

Wagner-Liszt: Tannhauser Overture
Wagner-Liszt: Isolde Liebestod
Liszt-Liszt: Mephisto Waltz #1
Liszt-Busoni: Ad nos salutarem undam (Something like that!)

Variation Sets:

Bach: Goldberg
Beethoven: Diabelli
Liszt: Variationen uber das motif von Bach das crucifixus de das H-molle Messe und das cantate "Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen." (Something like that!)

Technical Studies:

Baroque:

Bach WTC I & II (See a pattern?)

Classical:

Clementi Gradus ad Parnassum

Romantic:

Liszt S139: Etudes D'Execution Transcendante

20th Century:

Rachmaninoff Etudes-Tableaux, but since that doesn't count...

Ligeti Etudes (late 20th century-reflects their aesthetic.)

Pieces on the theme "BACH"

Baroque:
Bach Prelude and Fugue on BACH

Classical:
Not familiar with anything.

Romantic:

Chopin Etude Op. 25 No. 12

Liszt Fantasia and Fugue on BACH (Not the prelude and fugue! ;\) )

20th: Not familiar with anything.

P.S. @Kreisler, I am of the opinion that the Schubert transcriptions are the pieces which show Liszt's understanding of the keyboard. After that, the Sonata and "the Master's 12 Etudes" follow, in my opinion. I have never really grown fond of the 2nd year of Annees de Pelerinage, despite the good material therein.
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#380322 - 03/14/07 12:39 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
VillageOrganist3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 115
Loc: UK
Three only? Impossible!

But if we must:

Bach 48

Liszt Sonata

Rachmaninov Sonata 2
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"Play Bach for me". (How Chopin ended his letters.)

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#380323 - 03/14/07 12:51 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3914
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Chinese Restaurant Menu Approach


Column A..........Column B...............Column C

A Bach work......A work by LvB........A Chopin work

WTC................Op. 106 (or 111).....Etudes

But I like Kreisler's answer, too
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There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#380324 - 03/14/07 12:56 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
AndrewG Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2506
Loc: Denver, Colorado
I simply cannot do just three. The minimum for me is 10...

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#380325 - 03/14/07 03:04 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
phonehome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 921
I also will bite

3 best BIG works

Beethoven: Sonata Op. 111

Liszt: Sonata

And I'll agree with Kreisler on Berg: Sonata No. 1

3 best miniatures (or group thereof)

Beethoven: Bagatelles Op. 126

Prokofiev: Diabolical Suggestion (it's like a cute little mini-masterpiece)

And since I left the Schumann Phantasie off my first list...
Schumann: Traumerai

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#380326 - 03/14/07 03:40 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Honorable Mentions: (from the Special K)

Bach - Clavierubung I
Let's face it. This publication was the summation of Baroque suite writing and Bach's ideas on keyboard playing.


never heard of it.
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#380327 - 03/14/07 03:46 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Fleeting Visions Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
Honorable Mentions: (from the Special K)

Bach - Clavierubung I
Let's face it. This publication was the summation of Baroque suite writing and Bach's ideas on keyboard playing.


never heard of it. [/b]
Contains, among other things, the six partitas for harpsichord.
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#380328 - 03/14/07 03:46 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1036
Loc: Massachusetts
I like how USAPianoTrucker responded so I'll offer similar choices:

moonlight sonata 1st movement or pathetique
Claire de lune
Revolutionary Etude

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#380329 - 03/14/07 04:11 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
Beethoven - Diabelli variations
Beethoven - Hammerklavier
Bach - Goldberg variations

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#380330 - 03/14/07 05:25 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Lots of liberties taken thus far, but I'll try to squeeze the three greatest pieces . . . out, and . . . take only one and a half liberties (can you catch them?).

Bach: 5-part fugue in C sharp minor, WTC (a fugue can be different than this in a billion ways by being less than this in a billion different ways, but it can't be more than this particular fugue)

Liszt - Les jeux d'eau à la Villa d'Este (in this, Liszt takes his revolutionary an-ornament-can-also-be-music approach to somewhere high, you lose the sense of altitude)

Mozart - Sonata in A minor (the best classical sonata)

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#380331 - 03/14/07 05:51 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
1) Bach BVW 883 (WTC Bk II F# minor) for the reasons stated in another recent thread; the best keyboard JSB ever.

2) I'll of course go along with the choice of LvB Op110. I was somewhat alone in touting this in "the most beautiful Beethoven sonata" thread a couple of months ago (lots of others were quite close with Op109!); Kreisler explains above my reasons for Op110 better than I ever could \:\) .

3) Prokofiev Sonata No 8. A masterpiece of 20th century piano writing: from the huge, tragic and at times truly cataclysmic 1st movement, the calm of the elegant, naive and humorous minuet, and finally the sparkling toccata-esque tour de force, incorporating an inspired and unexpected waltz-like interlude, interpolating themes from the previous movements, topped off with recap and a bravura coda. Simply stunning.

-Michael B.
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#380332 - 03/14/07 09:41 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Horace Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 505
 Quote:
Originally posted by apple*:
Honorable Mentions: (from the Special K)

Bach - Clavierubung I
Let's face it. This publication was the summation of Baroque suite writing and Bach's ideas on keyboard playing.


never heard of it. [/b]
he's talking about the 6 partitas. THey are part one of bach's four part "keyboard practice" series, or clavierubung in german.

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#380333 - 03/14/07 11:21 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21286
Loc: Oakland
I would name them Tom, Dick and Harry.
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Semipro Tech

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#380334 - 03/14/07 11:48 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3446
Loc: US
Bach: Goldberg Variations

Beethoven: Hammerklavier (Op 106). I also would consider Op 101 as the first of his late period sonatas to be a contender, a real departure point.

Liszt: Sonata


Sophia

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#380335 - 03/15/07 12:04 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by PoStTeNeBrAsLuX:
Prokofiev Sonata No 8.
You make great points about the Prokofiev, yet (IMHO) the 6th sonata has always been my favourite (after the 3rd and 4th).

Other contributions on this thread have been interesting and have intimidated me a bit. The subject quite put me on the spot. Still thinking about it...
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#380336 - 03/15/07 12:13 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21286
Loc: Oakland
Seriously, ignoring pre-piano music, the greatest pieces from three periods are probably the Appassionata Sonata, Carnival, and Carolina Shout.
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#380337 - 03/15/07 12:28 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
Seriously, ignoring pre-piano music, the greatest pieces from three periods are probably the Appassionata Sonata, Carnival, and Carolina Shout.
Good point. (I love Carolina Shout ;\) )

Harold Schonberg speaks of the great "trinity" (a word pregnant with meaning as a church musician) of early romantic piano music: the Chopin Bb minor Sonata, the Schumann Fantasie, the Liszt Sonata. I think he has a valid point. It's a three-way tie and indeed, between them the period is adundantly summed up.

I understand how you feel about Carnival (I happen to love it), but the Fantasie fits the bill just a mite bit better.
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#380338 - 03/15/07 01:07 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
sario Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 5
Loc: Illinois, USA
Brahms sonata No.3 also. Have you played it? Especially, greatest performance is Arrau's. Katchen is great too. Check out pianists discography at
www.greatconcertartist.com and let's post something. It's so quiet.

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#380339 - 03/15/07 01:22 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by sario:
Brahms sonata No.3 also. Have you played it? Especially, greatest performance is Arrau's. Katchen is great too.
No, I have not played it, though I have read through it. I did work on the Eb minor Scherzo, dating from around the same time. (Wonder what BIG sonata that was a refugee from? I don't think Brahms originally wrote it as a stand-alone.)

Katchen is quite special, though I think Kissin's is the greatest recent recording. Arrau bogs down in the last movement. It is not one of his better recordings. Perhaps when he was much younger... I don't think the Brahms F minor lends itself very well to the grand-old-man-of-the-piano treatment. We're not talking the Op. 118. This is young[/b] man's music and -like the D minor Concerto- I want to hear it played with all the strife and angst of a man my age. You gotta give 'em hell!
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#380340 - 03/15/07 07:11 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Fleeting Visions Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 1501
Loc: Champaign, IL
I'm not a big fan of the Brahms F Minor, although I really like Brahms Op. 1.

Actually, brahms Rhapsody in E-Flat recalls the opening of Op. 1. This would be a good ender for a recital which started with Op. 1, I think.

First and last works for piano.
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#380341 - 03/15/07 07:47 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
florhof Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 133
Loc: Germany
I remember Artur Rubinstein being asked what piece of music he liked most. His anwer: Always the one I am playing at the moment.

Actually I don't get the point of questions like "who/what is the best, fastest, greatest". In my opinion they lead to less than nothing.

----------

http://www.pianistenschule.de

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#380342 - 03/15/07 10:32 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8822
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by florhof:

Actually I don't get the point of questions like "who/what is the best, fastest, greatest". In my opinion they lead to less than nothing.
I wouldn't worry about it, nor take it seriously. We're just having fun, and of course nothing is binding. I have found it interesting to read what others have said in this thread, and it has certainly given me a few things to think about.
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Jason

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#380343 - 03/15/07 10:45 AM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Robert Kenessy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 394
Loc: Enebyberg Sweden
I take the liberty to enter five pieces, for each section of classical music
1) Baroque - Goldberg Variations (Bach)
2) Classical - Diabelli Variations (Beethoven)
3) Romantic - Polonaise-Fantasie (Chopin)
4) Modern - Out of Doors Suite (Bartók)
5) Postmodern - well, nothing that comes close to the five above
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.. it seems to me that the inherent nature [of the piano tone] becomes really expressive only by means of the present tendency to use the piano as a percussion instrument - Béla Bartók, early 1927.

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#380344 - 03/15/07 12:28 PM Re: If you were to name three greatest piano solo pieces in the classical repertoire...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Hey Florhof, don't you think that public declarations like that have already become more cliche than simple participation? Indeed, even stoic non-participation is by now, in the 21st century, more cliche than is simple participation.

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