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#447257 - 11/12/08 09:15 AM Favorite endings
babama Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/08
Posts: 800
Loc: Netherlands
What are some of your favorite endings in piano music?

I have a thing for endings. Not necessarily only the few last measures, but simply the way a whole piece comes to an end.
Be it beautiful, subtle, fading out... or stormy, spectacular, bombastic endings. Both type of endings can give me goosebumps all over.

It's fascinating how composers sometimes come up with some 'new', short, yet fitting melodies to end a piece.

A good example is Schubert - Impromptu Op 142 No. 4, I just love that ending! \:\)

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#447258 - 11/12/08 09:20 AM Re: Favorite endings
dannylux Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/06
Posts: 1815
Loc: Connecticut
The last minute of Manuel Maria Ponce's Balada Mexicana has Ponce pulling out all the Romantic stops and letting his little inner-Liszt shine through.

What a glorious work!


Mel
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#447259 - 11/12/08 09:44 AM Re: Favorite endings
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by babama:
I have a thing for endings. Not necessarily only the few last measures, but simply the way a whole piece comes to an end.
Be it beautiful, subtle, fading out... or stormy, spectacular, bombastic endings. Both type of endings can give me goosebumps all over.[/b]
Me too! I love endings (well that doesn't mean I don't like the rest as well... \:D )
The 142/4 is a good one, definitely.

 Quote:
Originally posted by babama:
It's fascinating how composers sometimes come up with some 'new', short, yet fitting melodies to end a piece.[/b]
Or something harmonically surprising. For example, in Chopin's Souvenir de Paganini, after 4 minutes of A (tonic) - E (dominant) harmonics, close to the end there are two bars in which the subdominant appears. I never had the same feeling of revelation or freshness with a main functional chord \:D

Shifting from minor to major is also a device I like. For example Glinka-Balakirev's Lark moves from Bb minor to a sudden surprising appearance of Bb major in the last bars, but still alternating with the minor subdominant. Very nice effect, too.

Then I also like the endings which elevate a piece into spiritual dimensions. For example, in Liszt's Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen. After lots of variation on the chromatic line, at the end you have the sudden, completely unexpected (at first hearing) appearance of the solemn final chorale "Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan". I don't know if anybody can resist this goosebump moment.

In terms of bombastic endings, there are so many good ones. A device I like a lot is a powerful re-appearance of a main theme, e.g. in Brahms' Haydn variations (which have just been mentioned in the two-piano thread), often with spectacular figuration - e.g. the broken octaves accompanying the re-appearance of the pilgrim's theme at the end of the Wagner-Liszt Tannhauser overture.

Maybe another nice ending is the "casual" ending, in which the composer seems to suggest: "it's over - so what?". Examples could be Schubert Moment musical #3, Chopin 25/9, ...

Busoni sonatina #6 just comes to my mind - yet another type of ending? This last page or so is quite anti-climactic and gives a surprising, "serious" aftertaste to what would otherwise be "just" a brillant paraphrase.

Oh, I guess I'd rather stop for now. I like endings, did I mention this? \:\)
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#447260 - 11/12/08 10:19 AM Re: Favorite endings
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
One that I always liked was the ending to the first (inferno) movement of Liszt's Dante Symphony. In the last couple pages, he's pretty firmly established in the key of g# minor and he's all set to make a nice, easy landing in that key to finish out the movement when out of nowhere he throws in a huge d-minor chord, a tritone away, which sounds so (gloriously) "wrong". g# minor briefly "battles" it out with d-minor until surprise, the "wrong" key of d-minor wins and he ends the movement with a grand (almost grotesque) fortissimo statement of the opening theme. What a way to end a movement depicting inferno!!!

Yes, I realize its not piano music, but I always loved that one...
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What you are is an accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been a thousand princes and there will be a thousand more. There is one Beethoven.

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#447261 - 11/12/08 10:21 AM Re: Favorite endings
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by babama:
Be it beautiful, subtle, fading out... or stormy, spectacular, bombastic endings. Both type of endings can give me goosebumps all over.[/b]
Me, too—but, all things being equal, I would prefer that the type of ending match the music that has come before it!

I think that Chopin's endings alone could be a great topic for treatise. For me, they range from the mostly sublime to the occasionally ridiculous.

Among my favorites are those exultant climaxes most typified by the Ballade Op. 47, the Polonaise-Fantaisie and the Allegro de Concert. The ending of the Polonaise Op. 53 spectacularly incorporates and extends the themes of the piece (which is another recipe for very satisfying conclusions). The Nocturne 9/3 has one of the loveliest and most dream-like codas of Chopin's early works.

The endings that I dislike generally involve bombastic closing chords that don't relate to the music that came before and disturb the mood created up to that point. I think the Fantaisie Op. 49, for example, is marred by a blunt fortissimo plagal cadence that seems completely disconnected from the highly imaginative thematic and motivic material of this masterpiece and disrupts the peaceful repose that had been reached.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#447262 - 11/12/08 10:36 AM Re: Favorite endings
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8695
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
I think the Fantaisie Op. 49, for example, is marred by a blunt fortissimo plagal cadence that seems completely disconnected from the highly imaginative thematic and motivic material of this masterpiece and disrupts the peaceful repose that had been reached.
Do you feel this way about the Barcarolle also?

(I'm treading water whilst trying to think of a favourite ending...)
_________________________
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#447263 - 11/12/08 10:44 AM Re: Favorite endings
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianovirus:
Then I also like the endings which elevate a piece into spiritual dimensions. For example, in Liszt's Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen. After lots of variation on the chromatic line, at the end you have the sudden, completely unexpected (at first hearing) appearance of the solemn final chorale "Was Gott tut das ist wohlgetan". I don't know if anybody can resist this goosebump moment.[/b]
I love the use of the chorale too, but what happens after -- from the octave alberti bass onwards -- strikes me as somewhat too pompous. I really love the work overall, but that ending always leaves me feeling a little strange.

Does anyone know the original noisy endings of Liszt's B minor Ballade and B minor Sonata? The former works well enough, but the latter is almost comical -- unintentionally.

The ending of Brahms's Second Piano Sonata strikes me as another oddity -- it doesn't seem to resolve anything.

Ok, I've been complaining about strange endings, so I suppose I should write about endings that I actually like. The ending of Brahms's B minor Rhapsody Op. 79 #1 is a personal favorite. The feeling of finally finding peace (with a hint of melancholy suggested by the flattened second) after all the restless striving is just incredible.

The ending of Brahms's Eb Rhapsody Op. 119 #4 is also striking -- almost an outburst of anger. Maybe Brahms was simply giving the world a final "#*&@ you!"

The ending of Chopin's Second Ballade is so simple yet so poignant.

I love two Debussy endings that seem to disappear into the aether: La danse de Puck, and Les Fées sont d'exquises danseuses.

The ending of Beethoven's Op. 110 Sonata really makes the piece -- though I have reservations about how it is approached.

The ending of Brahms's Ballade in B Op. 10 #4 is wonderful in how it merges the principal themes of the two sections. A heartbreaking end to an underappreciated gem!

Ok, anyone know the name of the Satie piece that makes fun of bombastic endings by loudly repeating V-I[/b] and then simply I[/b] ad nauseum? I only heard it once, but it really cracked me up!
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#447264 - 11/12/08 10:48 AM Re: Favorite endings
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8695
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Janus Hyde:
Does anyone know the original noisy endings of Liszt's B minor Ballade and B minor Sonata?
Yes. 'Nuff said.
_________________________
Jason

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#447265 - 11/12/08 10:49 AM Re: Favorite endings
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
Hmm certainly there are many great endings in the piano literature.

A pretty much interesting ending is the ending of Debussy's La serenade interrompue. After he curses, the poor fellow just loses hope and leaves in despair. Excellent programmatic music (from someone who hated to be called impressionistic!).

Can anyone also forget the 'return of the devil' (in the lower bass line) at the end of Liszt's Sonata with the resisting ascending chords. Brilliant.

And for pure drama, we just head to Beethoven and many of his sonatas. ;\)

Will think about it for more examples \:\)

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#447266 - 11/12/08 10:58 AM Re: Favorite endings
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Another favorite of mine is Chopin's Nocturne in B Op. 32 #1 -- sudden and unexpected.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#447267 - 11/12/08 11:00 AM Re: Favorite endings
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
Do you feel this way about the Barcarolle also?

(I'm treading water whilst trying to think of a favourite ending...) [/b]
I'm Janus Hyde, and I heartily approve your pun.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#447268 - 11/12/08 11:02 AM Re: Favorite endings
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Janus Hyde:
Does anyone know the original noisy endings of Liszt's B minor Ballade and B minor Sonata?
Yes. 'Nuff said. [/b]
hmm .. want to hear that. Any youtube link?

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#447269 - 11/12/08 11:04 AM Re: Favorite endings
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by Janus Hyde:
I love the use of the chorale too, but what happens after -- from the octave alberti bass onwards -- strikes me as somewhat too pompous. I really love the work overall, but that ending always leaves me feeling a little strange.[/b]
I know exactly what you mean (and I remember reading this ending characterized as pure pomp in a literature survey as well). I had a brief thought a while ago of using just the chorale part as encore for a private recital, but it really only works in context of the long musical voyage happening in the piece, otherwise it's only pompous and nothing else. I think it may also be partly an epoch issue, because such emotional outburst is in our days often seen as something strange or embarrassing. This is also why many people can't stand the poetry from these times (I can only speak for the German-speaking part) which has similar indulgence in emotions which may seem exaggerated or even artificial from a bit of a distance. So I would say this ending can only work if both artist and audience allow for a moment complete loss all reflective distance and full indulgence in spiritual ecstasy. I also think this works very well in the organ version (it's a bit hard for a pianophile to admit this \:\) ). In any case, this is definitely one of the endings which may be seen as over the top for many listeners.

I didn't know that there were previous versions of the B minor ballade and sonata.

And I have many of the suggested endings to check out now...
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#447270 - 11/12/08 11:20 AM Re: Favorite endings
babama Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/08
Posts: 800
Loc: Netherlands
When I first heard Rach's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini the end seriously made me laugh. Over the top orchestral bombast that builds up and suddenly stops for a few quick piano notes at the very end. I thought that was quite humoristic. \:D

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#447271 - 11/12/08 11:24 AM Re: Favorite endings
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1708
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Yeah. Witty endings are cool.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

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#447272 - 11/12/08 11:40 AM Re: Favorite endings
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8695
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by babama:
When I first heard Rach's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini the end seriously made me laugh. Over the top orchestral bombast that builds up and suddenly stops for a few quick piano notes at the very end. I thought that was quite humoristic. \:D
Yeah, certainly a lot wittier than Rachmaninov's ending to the Chopin Variations. Pure unadulterated bombast. (But isn't there an alternative ending?)

This qualifies for that delicious quote in Charles Rosen's 'The Romantic Generation': The creation of awe through bombast.
_________________________
Jason

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#447273 - 11/12/08 11:52 AM Re: Favorite endings
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by sotto voce:
I think the Fantaisie Op. 49, for example, is marred by a blunt fortissimo plagal cadence that seems completely disconnected from the highly imaginative thematic and motivic material of this masterpiece and disrupts the peaceful repose that had been reached.
Do you feel this way about the Barcarolle also?

(I'm treading water whilst trying to think of a favourite ending...) [/b]
Yes, but only with respect to the sudden blast of fortissimo. The rhythm and the cadence itself seem organically connected to the piece, so I don't find it nearly so disturbing.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#447274 - 11/12/08 11:53 AM Re: Favorite endings
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
This qualifies for that delicious quote in Charles Rosen's 'The Romantic Generation': The creation of awe through bombast. [/b]
Didn't he invent that statement to mis-use it for Busoni?!
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#447275 - 11/12/08 11:58 AM Re: Favorite endings
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8695
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianovirus:
Didn't he invent that statement to mis-use it for Busoni?!
Yes, Busoni and Stokowski. Stokowski okay, but Busoni? Rosen sure knows how to push my buttons!
_________________________
Jason

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#447276 - 11/12/08 12:03 PM Re: Favorite endings
pianovirus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/07
Posts: 940
Loc: Basel, Switzerland
 Quote:
Originally posted by argerichfan:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianovirus:
Didn't he invent that statement to mis-use it for Busoni?!
Yes, Busoni and Stokowski. Stokowski okay, but Busoni? Rosen sure knows how to push my buttons! [/b]
My buttons, too. \:\)
While we're at it, I love the ending of the Bach-Busoni Chaconne, too!
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#447277 - 11/12/08 12:08 PM Re: Favorite endings
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Coda of Chopin's Ballade 1.

The last 4-5 minutes of Rach 3.
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#447278 - 11/12/08 01:39 PM Re: Favorite endings
William A.P.M. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 554
Loc: Ecuador
Very nice topic: My nominees for this subject hoping that others can agree or at least experience the music again or for the 1st time:

Chopin- last 2 minutes of his 4th Ballade are pure genius and really wonderful music to listen to.

Kapustin- the last minute or so of his 2nd sonata is pure virtuosity and it has one of the best glissando endings of any piece i've ever heard. great stuff!

Scriabin- his ending for his op. 59 poem is the most nostalgic and mystic ending he had written up until that point in my view. The last bar is played 'ad libitum' and this is the freedom the pianist has to make this bar so powerful.

Liszt/Horowitz: The last 2 minutes of the 'Scherzo und Marsch' are virtuoso writings and extremely appealing to ears. Horowitz' reworking of the 19th Rhapsody is also amazing, and the ending is pure genius as well.

Sorabji- the last 2 minutes of his gigantic 'Opus Clavicembalisticum' is some of the most complex writing and extremely virtuosic. The last chord of the piece, with a dynamic of FFFF is just unbelievable and ends this piece with a golden seal!

Scriabin- Vers La Flamme! The ending speaks for itself, it is death, it is light, it is purely angelical in my point of view. Playing the last 3 bars has always been a mystery to me. How am I really supposed to play it , or what is the pianist supposed to be feeling?

my 2 cents .. =)

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#447279 - 11/12/08 01:45 PM Re: Favorite endings
eromlignod Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/04/04
Posts: 379
Loc: Kansas City
Chopin's Scherzo no. 1 in Bm.

Don
Kansas City

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#447280 - 11/12/08 02:06 PM Re: Favorite endings
phonehome Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 921
Beethoven Op. 111. WOW. WOW.
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 3
Sibelius: Violin Concerto

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#447281 - 11/12/08 02:12 PM Re: Favorite endings
esp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/04/08
Posts: 19
[QUOTE]Originally posted by babama:
[QB] What are some of your favorite endings in piano music?

My favourite ending is the final section of Schumann's Arabeske, Op. 18. It's slow, simple but beautiful. Another one is Brahm's Intermezzo Op. 118, No. 2. I guess I really like the II7 chord, and they both end with notes similar to the beginning of the piece.

Although it's not piano music, I would also like to share my other favourite ending in organ music: Franck's third Choral in A minor. It has a very different ending from the two pieces above. The final section restates the main chorale theme with a "triumphant" ending.

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#447282 - 11/12/08 03:25 PM Re: Favorite endings
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
 Quote:
Originally posted by William Penafiel:
Very nice topic: My nominees for this subject hoping that others can agree or at least experience the music again or for the 1st time:

Chopin- last 2 minutes of his 4th Ballade are pure genius and really wonderful music to listen to.

Kapustin- the last minute or so of his 2nd sonata is pure virtuosity and it has one of the best glissando endings of any piece i've ever heard. great stuff!

Scriabin- his ending for his op. 59 poem is the most nostalgic and mystic ending he had written up until that point in my view. The last bar is played 'ad libitum' and this is the freedom the pianist has to make this bar so powerful.

Liszt/Horowitz: The last 2 minutes of the 'Scherzo und Marsch' are virtuoso writings and extremely appealing to ears. Horowitz' reworking of the 19th Rhapsody is also amazing, and the ending is pure genius as well.

Sorabji- the last 2 minutes of his gigantic 'Opus Clavicembalisticum' is some of the most complex writing and extremely virtuosic. The last chord of the piece, with a dynamic of FFFF is just unbelievable and ends this piece with a golden seal!

Scriabin- Vers La Flamme! The ending speaks for itself, it is death, it is light, it is purely angelical in my point of view. Playing the last 3 bars has always been a mystery to me. How am I really supposed to play it , or what is the pianist supposed to be feeling?

my 2 cents .. =) [/b]
Thanks! You filled in some great ones I couldn't seem to think of when I posted. \:o Though I haven't heard Opus Clavicembalisticum. \:D
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#447283 - 11/12/08 04:08 PM Re: Favorite endings
musiccr8r Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 268
Loc: Denver
Ahhh, endings. The right ending somehow wraps itself back and makes the entire piece better, retroactively. And there are many pieces I'd play just to be able to get to the ending. I love the end of Prokofiev's Prelude #20. It is so seemingly random, but perfect!!!! Actually I like the ending on a lot of his preludes.

If you are bored (sorry for the self-promotion) I'd love feedback from you ending lovers on some of my work.... in C. Lounge, page 2 or maybe 3 by now, under the title "feedback/sharing"...the ones with my favorite endings are the Fortune Teller, Knife Thrower, and Clowns.

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#447284 - 11/12/08 07:40 PM Re: Favorite endings
akonow Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/08
Posts: 589
Loc: Los Angeles
When I read your post, Schumann's Carnaval immediately came to mind. It's absolutely stunning how everything just culminates in the Marche des "Davidsbündler". It's as if Schumann has been alluding to the ending in every section and the final section seems almost inevitable. Schumann's genius isn't recognized as often as it should be, in my opinion. \:\)

Mendelssohn's Variations serieuses have a nice ending too.

The ending of Elgar's Cello Concerto Op. 85 always interested me. I don't really know how to describe it.

And, of course, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies No. 6, No. 14, and No. 15 have delightfully explosive endings.
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Bach - WTC I in C major & C minor (BWV 846-847)
Mozart - Sonata K 282
Chopin - Polonaises Op 26
Schumann - Fantasiestücke Op 12

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#447285 - 11/12/08 08:03 PM Re: Favorite endings
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Another good one: The end of Horowitz's revision of Rach's Sonata 2. (sorry if this has been mentioned already)

As someone mentioned, the Liszt/Horowitz HR 19 has a great ending as well.

 Quote:

Originally posted by akonow:

And, of course, Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies No. 6, No. 14, and No. 15 have delightfully explosive endings. [/b]
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Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#447286 - 11/12/08 08:27 PM Re: Favorite endings
William A.P.M. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/09/08
Posts: 554
Loc: Ecuador
other pieces worthy of mention, in my opinion, of great endings:

Villa-Lobos- the last 3 minutes of his Rudepoema are simply stunning and so violent that I simply love it. Hearing it will leave you thinking " How the heck is one supposed to play that?"

Schumann's Traumerei is one of those pieces that ends in such a powerful melancholy tone. Very few pieces can reach me inside the way this piece does. It's really a dream!

Liszt/Horowitz- The reworking of the Mephisto Waltz is also rather amazing, especially the ending with such a display of virtuosity.

Sorabji- The last entire minute of his piece "Concerto per suonare da me solo" is so bombarbed by a flashy display of interlocked chords, your ears cannot be unplugged. It is very percussive too and perhaps that is what makes this ending quite unbelievable.

another 2 cents =)

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Chopin Op28 No 20
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