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#420035 - 09/25/05 01:32 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Emanuel Ravelli Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 687
Loc: Virginia
I might have to rethink this after looking at the Sorabji excerpt, but my top three in the hardest piece swepstakes have always been Stravinsky's "Three Movements from Petrouchka," Ravel's "Scarbo" and Brahms "Paganini Variations" (either book).
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Phil Bjorlo

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#420036 - 09/27/05 03:57 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
Ronel Augustyn Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 527
Loc: Bloemfontein,SA
Scary, really scary. What piece is that, so I could remember to never try playing it.....

It's weird how some things just LOOK difficult from the very beginning.

Hi from South Africa
_________________________
lallie

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#420037 - 09/27/05 06:53 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
jon-nyc Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 2022
Loc: the left bank -- of the east r...
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Citron:
I wouldn't say that this is the most difficult piece ever, but it's sure up there in the top tier:

Buson's transcription of the Bach Chaconne.

John [/b]
I wouldn't put it in the same league as Scarbo or the HammerKlavier.
_________________________
If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?

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#420038 - 09/27/05 06:54 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
jon-nyc Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 2022
Loc: the left bank -- of the east r...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Ronel Augustyn:
Scary, really scary. What piece is that, so I could remember to never try playing it.....
[/b]
Its from one of his Sonatas - i don't recall which.
_________________________
If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?

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#420039 - 09/27/05 07:29 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
jazzyd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/01
Posts: 1861
Loc: United Kingdom
Don't know about the hardest, but Finnissy's music seems quite tricky: Here\'s a page. Continued here.

What those sound like.
_________________________
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." - Aldous Huxley

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#420040 - 09/27/05 07:43 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City


koji
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#420041 - 09/27/05 09:16 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
BJenkins Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/03
Posts: 197
Loc: CA
oops, Ignore this \:\) I replied to the wrong thread

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#420042 - 09/27/05 12:40 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
 Quote:
Originally posted by Thracozaag:


koji [/b]
I think I just lowered my IQ by 30 points trying to figure that out. OUCH.

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#420043 - 09/27/05 12:53 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City
Yeah, and that's the easy page. :rolleyes:

koji
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#420044 - 09/27/05 01:01 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17778
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by jazzyd:
Don't know about the hardest, but Finnissy's music seems quite tricky: Here\'s a page. Continued here.

What those sound like. [/b]
I just listened to the excerpt of the Finnissy piece. I would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than listen to the whole thing. :rolleyes:
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Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#420045 - 09/27/05 01:04 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6180
Some compositions are best notated straight in MIDI.
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#420046 - 09/27/05 01:28 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Citron:
I wouldn't say that this is the most difficult piece ever, but it's sure up there in the top tier:

Busoni's transcription of the Bach Chaconne.

John [/b]
I wouldn't put it in the same league as Scarbo or the HammerKlavier. [/b]
Jon,

I wouldn't either. ;\)

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#420047 - 09/27/05 02:02 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Max W:
I think I just lowered my IQ by 30 points trying to figure that out. OUCH. [/b]
ICK!!! So quite a metric puzzle Nancarrow has presented us with, but how does it sound?

This is the sort of thing that made me a$$ itch in musical school. Composers just creating little self proclaimed 'ingenius' novelties and puzzles and calling them compositions. (disclaimer: I have not heard this work, nor any work by nancarrow. For all I know he's a genius, and I would love this piece if i heard it)

Is the mismatched meter really necessary? Could the desired "musical" effect he's hearing in his head NOT be achieved with conventional metric notation? It strikes me as nothing more than game playing and ego gratification. Where's the music? Seems to me its not about music at all, with this sort of thing. Its about invention and brain teasers.

Again, my apologies if I've mischaracterized this particular piece, but there are countless others that fit the description.

Another thing that would put me off playing piano works younger than myself is that how do I know there's any real music here to be played? Just because some guy with a PhD and a faculty position wrote it? Playing classical allows us to approach a work with the given that there is music there to be discovered. Current works do not guarantee any such thing. And so many of them are so intentionally demanding on the pianist, that the amount of work to prepare them is enormous, and for what? How does one play an inspired performance of a not-necessarily-inspired composition?

Ok there's my rant for the day. I do understand there is some great contemporary piano literature, but I also find there to be droves of crap flooding the field as well. (To be fair, I have no idea where nancarrow fits in that continuum).
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#420048 - 09/27/05 02:10 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by Siddhartha:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Max W:
I think I just lowered my IQ by 30 points trying to figure that out. OUCH. [/b]
ICK!!! So quite a metric puzzle Nancarrow has presented us with, but how does it sound?

This is the sort of thing that made me a$$ itch in musical school. Composers just creating little self proclaimed 'ingenius' novelties and puzzles and calling them compositions. (disclaimer: I have not heard this work, nor any work by nancarrow. For all I know he's a genius, and I would love this piece if i heard it)

Is the mismatched meter really necessary? Could the desired "musical" effect he's hearing in his head NOT be achieved with conventional metric notation? It strikes me as nothing more than game playing and ego gratification. Where's the music? Seems to me its not about music at all, with this sort of thing. Its about invention and brain teasers.

Again, my apologies if I've mischaracterized this particular piece, but there are countless others that fit the description.

Another thing that would put me off playing piano works younger than myself is that how do I know there's any real music here to be played? Just because some guy with a PhD and a faculty position wrote it? Playing classical allows us to approach a work with the given that there is music there to be discovered. Current works do not guarantee any such thing. And so many of them are so intentionally demanding on the pianist, that the amount of work to prepare them is enormous, and for what? How does one play an inspired performance of a not-necessarily-inspired composition?

Ok there's my rant for the day. I do understand there is some great contemporary piano literature, but I also find there to be droves of crap flooding the field as well. (To be fair, I have no idea where nancarrow fits in that continuum). [/b]
I agree. After quick read through without the piano (I don't have a piano at work), it seems typical of the the plink-plunk squeak stuff we here a lot of today. Rhythmically it's just a game because none of the beats really intertwine enough to do anything spectacular.

Just my opinion that usually doesn't seem to count these days.

John
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Nothing.

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#420049 - 09/27/05 02:33 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City
Actually, it's quite a cool sounding piece, imo (once you figure it out).

koji
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#420050 - 09/27/05 02:39 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
Actually, it's quite a cool sounding piece, imo (once you figure it out).

koji [/b]
Any recordings of it you can post?
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#420051 - 09/27/05 02:46 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City
It's my only one; I apologize for the horrible sound quality (and if you think it's hard to play normally, try playing it when it's been choreographed and you're following a dancer)


http://s46.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=314TQTL86Y2HA1F557SNR4OUHU

koji
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#420052 - 09/27/05 02:53 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
jon-nyc Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 2022
Loc: the left bank -- of the east r...
Nacarrow has some interesting stuff. I heard EHpianist and her partner play a four-hand transcription of one of the player piano pieces a few months ago. It was fantastic.
_________________________
If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?

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#420053 - 09/27/05 03:08 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
 Quote:
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
It's my only one; I apologize for the horrible sound quality (and if you think it's hard to play normally, try playing it when it's been choreographed and you're following a dancer)


http://s46.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=314TQTL86Y2HA1F557SNR4OUHU

koji [/b]
Thanks! hmmm.. well, ok, i only listened to it once, which is not enough for accessing ANY piece of music.

I guess it did sound more "interesting" than I would have expected. I do maintain that the mismatched meters werent necessary, and could have been scored conventionally. Seems scoring that way made it more difficult for the pianist, but since you were the pianist, you tell me, did the way he notated it actually end up being EASIER to read, or more difficult as I suspect?

Also, was this written expressly to be a dance work with choreography? That puts it in an entirely different context (part of a larger work). Some dance music can stand alone without the footwork, some cant. Also, I may be biased here, as I also studied dance seriously.

Well, I dont like the piece on first hearing. But thats just my subjective impression. My earlier remarks may or may not apply to this work, but certainly to others.

You do have my admiration, and my sympathy, for having accomodated this piece. Thanks so much for sharing.

But let me ask you, since you know it intimately: Do YOU enjoy the piece? Do you find it an inspired composition? Would you recommend it as a work for a pianist to learn, so as to be enriched by it?
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#420054 - 09/27/05 03:19 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City
It wasn't expressly written to be a dance work, but the fact that it was able to be choreographed so wonderfully the way it was, lends a great deal of credibility to the work, for me.
Would have I learned it were it not required for the concerts? no. Did I enjoy practicing it? no. Did I enjoy performing it with an amazing artist by my side? Absolutely.

koji
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#420055 - 09/27/05 03:28 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6180
 Quote:
Originally posted by Siddhartha:

And so many of them are so intentionally demanding on the pianist, that the amount of work to prepare them is enormous, and for what? How does one play an inspired performance of a not-necessarily-inspired composition?
Like I said, some compositions should just directly be written in MIDI and save every one else the pain. ;\)
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#420056 - 09/27/05 03:44 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Siddhartha Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/08/04
Posts: 1244
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Was Baryshnikov the artist to whom you refer? Yes, I imagine that would have been a spectacular experience.

It had been awhile since I read your bio. I forgot you were the pianist for that dance ensemble. Ugh! to be handed a work like that with no choice. That sure identifies the true professionals. Kudos.
_________________________
I was born the year Glenn Gould stop playing concerts. Coincidence?

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#420057 - 09/27/05 03:50 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1980
Loc: Salt Lake City
Yeah, it was Misha. I knew I was in trouble with that piece when Mei-ting told me it took him about 3 weeks practicing just that for 5 hours a day to learn it.

koji
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#420058 - 09/27/05 11:53 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
 Quote:
Originally posted by jazzyd:
Don't know about the hardest, but Finnissy's music seems quite tricky: Here\'s a page. Continued here.

What those sound like. [/b]
I just listened to the excerpt of the Finnissy piece. I would rather have a root canal without anesthesia than listen to the whole thing. :rolleyes: [/b]
That was the piece? And here I was thinking somebody recorded six kids running up to a piano in a hotel lobby and just banging on it. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#420059 - 09/28/05 12:19 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
C.V. Alkan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 827
Loc: Denver, Colorado
What a horrible composition. Who on earth would take the time to learn and record that trash.
_________________________
- Zack -

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#420060 - 09/28/05 12:26 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
Piana Justice Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 299
Loc: Greenville, NC
the Presto Adagio.
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#420061 - 09/28/05 12:27 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
C.V. Alkan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/05
Posts: 827
Loc: Denver, Colorado
 Quote:
Originally posted by Thracozaag:
Yeah, it was Misha. I knew I was in trouble with that piece when Mei-ting told me it took him about 3 weeks practicing just that for 5 hours a day to learn it.

koji [/b]
I don't even know how you would go about putting the hands together...
_________________________
- Zack -

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#420062 - 09/28/05 07:27 AM Re: most difficult piece ever
mrenaud Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 1313
Loc: Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by C.V. Alkan:
What a horrible composition. Who on earth would take the time to learn and record that trash. [/b]
It's fine if you say that you don't like it, but I don't think anyone has the right to say that the music is bad.
_________________________
I have an ice cream. I cannot mail it, for it will melt.

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#420063 - 09/28/05 01:01 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piana Justice:
the Presto Adagio. [/b]
Which presto? Which adagio?

_________________________
Sam

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#420064 - 09/28/05 01:50 PM Re: most difficult piece ever
Allazart Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 389
I think I'm going to write a very difficult piece.
Shouldn't be too difficult. \:D

I don't claim it's the most difficult but here's something that's quite challenging (mainly due to the tempo) but very musical (IMO).

Alkan's 'comme le vent'. His metronome mark is 'quaver = 160' and the dominant note values are triplet demisemiquavers so you have to fit 6 of them into each tick for about 4 minutes.

Very impetuous tempo, but it really does sound 'like the wind' at that speed. It's a pretty funny piece too (you almost want to laugh when listening to it)

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