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#592763 - 02/05/09 12:26 AM How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
My teacher wants me to pick out a couple lyrical Chopin preludes to learn this semester and I've already decided on Opus.28 no 9 and 23. Both of these have a few challenging spots, but all in all they're fairly straight spots and just getting the notes down shouldn't take to long at all. Now while I was giving each of the Preludes a listen through to decide which I wanted to do, I really started to like Chopin's opus 45 prelude in C#m. It's a beautiful piece and doesn't seem to be to extremely difficult but would be a very fun stretch piece for me this semester. But I want to know, based on what I'm currently learning, would the opus 45 prelude be a feasible prelude or should I save this piece for one I'll learn either over the summer or in the fall? I feel that it'd be doable, but I haven't played it so I'm hoping to hear from someone who has.

I understand that the term difficult is very subjective and varies per student, but I'm hoping I can get a general answer to the question. I'll talk to my teacher about this one soon, but I figure if I can get advice here first that'd work just as well. My teacher says that I definitely have a strength for lyrical pieces and feeling the music, so the question is more about the pure technical challenges presented here rather than the musical ones.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592764 - 02/05/09 01:21 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
The cadenza at bar 80—an un-Chopinesque feature in a rather un-Chopinesque piece—has got to be the most technically difficult spot.

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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#592765 - 02/05/09 01:22 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6682
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Hi John -

The Opus 45 Prelude is much easier than the Brahms Ballade you are working on. You should be able to handle it. The only challenging part is the cadenza. And yes - I've played the piece and it wasn't difficult to learn. You do, however, need to spend time figuring out the fingering that works best for you (write it in).
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#592766 - 02/05/09 01:29 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
Okay, thanks. I thought it'd be easier than the ballade, but I just started that one and it'll take me awhile to get it finished. It's not even a piece I'm learning for this semester, I expect it to take me to long to get it to a performance quality. Thanks for letting me know, sometimes it's hard to tell from just the sheet how difficult something will be. I'll start working on it then as I really do love it. And I was playing the first few bars a little bit ago and I could tell that the fingering written in were gonna be awkward for me and I'd probably want to find my own more comfortable solutions. Thanks!

I presumed that the cadenza would be the hardest spot, that was the main spot I was worried about. But it's played only a little faster than the speed I have the Brahms at now and the notes are significantly easier than the brahms, so I think I'll be fine. Thanks!

And out of curiosity steven, what makes you say this is a un-chopinesque piece?
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592767 - 02/05/09 11:31 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
BruceD Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18608
Loc: Victoria, BC
The other problem to face in the Op 45 Prelude is that it requires very careful use of the pedal along with good finger legato. There are many measures where the RH resolves a semi-tone up, a half-beat "late" over an already established harmony in the LH. Getting that resolution to go smoothly without blurring can be a challenge.

One tip my teacher gave me for the cadenza: Make a photocopy of the cadenza magnified several times. It's amazing how much easier it is to work on the cadenza when it's in larger-sized type.

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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#592768 - 02/05/09 11:57 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
I was noticing those half step resolves on the and of the 2nd beat today when I played through the first page and a half. I think this piece is the perfect stretch piece for me right now. It's something that's just on the edge of my fingertips, but has such beautiful music and the fingering and flow of the piece is all so natural that it'll be a joy to learn. I'm excited.
and that tip on the cadenza. I might try it when I get there, thanks!
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592769 - 02/06/09 12:09 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by xxmynameisjohnxx:
And out of curiosity steven, what makes you say this is a un-chopinesque piece? [/b]
It has always had an austere quality to me, as opposed to the transparent, immediately accessible, "catchiness" that's so typical of Chopin. Any sense of melody seems to derive obliquely from repetition of motifs; the harmonies feel elusive and unpredictable; and the cadenza is thoroughly uncharacteristic device in Chopin's compositions. The expansive figurations, which look on paper like they might have been penned by Brahms, have a sweeping yet oddly unhurried and almost meandering sort of momentum.

It's hard to put into words, but IMHO this Prelude just doesn't "feel" like Chopin.

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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#592770 - 02/06/09 12:22 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
Okay. I'll trust your opinion since you've probably played more chopin than anyone else on this forum. :]. Thanks! I still think it's an incredibly beautiful piece and I love it.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592771 - 02/06/09 12:24 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
Elene Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 1425
Loc: Land of Enchantment
I am very interested in that tip about enlarging the copy to make dealing with those teeny little notes easier! I can think of another piece or two where I should try that.

That cadenza doesn't seem so uncharacteristic to me, though. Not so very different, for example, from parts of the 10/3 etude? But I totally agree with Steven-- this piece has always seemed like Brahms to me. And yes, it has an elusive quality; it wanders amorphously, though lushly, and I'm not sure it really works. But an interesting experiment, at least.

Music was going through a style shift at the end of the 1840s, and who knows what Chopin would have sounded like had he lived longer. For the most part I prefer the earlier, more melody-based, more lucid, less heavy style, myself.

Elene
_________________________
Semi-Pro Musica

Blog: http://elenedom.wordpress.com
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#592772 - 02/06/09 12:37 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
I've always liked wandering harmonies in pieces. This once has some very fun harmonies. I think that in the first page and a half I counted like...4 modulations. Something like that. Maybe it's just me.
And I was thinking that the cadenza was rather similar to the triton jumps in 10/3, just using a different formula for the leaps. haha.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592773 - 02/06/09 12:38 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
"Amorphous" is a very fitting description!

While climactic passages are hardly rare in Chopin's works (and the con bravura of 10/3 does come to mind), I was thinking of how unusual an explicit cadenza is—e.g., following a fermata, marked as cadenzain the score and printed in small notes in the manner of Liszt.

John, I didn't mean to suggest I don't like Op. 45. I think it's very forward-looking, just as Elene suggests.

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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#592774 - 02/06/09 06:53 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
This piece looks surprisingly difficult on paper, but once you get into it it's actually fairly simple. The only hard parts so far are the big stretches in some of the right hand chords [but all of the big ones are rolled so I'm fine] and getting the syncopation. Everything else is pretty simple....I haven't started looking at the cadenza yet though, but I don't expect it to be to difficult, it'll just take some work.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592775 - 02/06/09 07:27 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19926
Loc: New York City
Have you listened to all/most of the preludes on youtube? For me, there are many other lyrical preludes more beautiful than Op.45...just personal opinion of course.

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#592776 - 02/06/09 07:37 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
I have a recording of them all on my computer. I spent a couple of hours listening to all of the preludes and I really fell in love with opus 28. no 23 and the opus 45. There's just something about it that I absolutely love.
Which ones do you find more beautiful? Just out of curiosity. I'll likely learn more preludes this semester than the 2 I'm working on now. :].
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592777 - 02/06/09 08:54 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
What about op.28 no.9 and 15?

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#592778 - 02/06/09 08:55 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
9 is one I'm thinking of doing after my current set although I don't like it as much as 23 or opus 45. and 15 is overplayed....my teacher played it for me and said she thought it'd be a bit simple and that it's played to much.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592779 - 02/06/09 09:03 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
GreenRain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/08
Posts: 888
Loc: Somewhere in Europe
no.15 is simple lol? It's much harder to play with emotion than no.23 or 9.

What about no.2? It has a special sound:)

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#592780 - 02/06/09 09:12 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
I know it's harder to ply with emotion, but technically it's easier. My teacher says that playing with emotion is one of my strongest aspects at the piano, so the lyrical pieces should be challenging and emotional. I personally find playing the melody line of 23 harder than the lines in 15. But that's just me.
And no 2 was another consideration. Perhaps once I finish my two current ones. :]. But again, it's easier than both the ones I'm working on now.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592781 - 02/07/09 08:29 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19926
Loc: New York City
 Quote:
Originally posted by xxmynameisjohnxx:
I have a recording of them all on my computer. I spent a couple of hours listening to all of the preludes and I really fell in love with opus 28. no 23 and the opus 45. There's just something about it that I absolutely love.
Which ones do you find more beautiful? [/b]
I like #1,4,6,13,17,21. But I think you should choose the ones you like. Or ask your teacher about playing a Nocturne if he wants you to work on something lyrical.

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#592782 - 02/07/09 01:03 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
I forgot about 1, :p . Looks like it'd be fairly difficult though, much harder than either of the ones I'm learning right now. Perhaps after I finish my current 2. And 4 is to easy, and 6 and 13 were ones I considered but decided to veto. haha. 17 my teacher said might be to hard for me right now, and I also forgot about 21. 21 would be good fun, or so it looks.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592783 - 02/07/09 02:09 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
John,

I think you can expect Op. 45 easily to be as difficult as any preludes that have been mentioned here (including, probably, 28/1) and its cadenza significantly more so.

Regarding the cadenza you said, "I don't expect it to be to difficult, it'll just take some work."

Absolutely! (But isn't that the definition of "difficult"? ;\) )

Like some of Chopin's other "late period" pieces, I found that Op. 45 grew on me significantly over time and with repeated exposure. Another great description Elene used besides "amorphous" was lush, which I completely agree with despite my characterization (of the dearth of traditional "melody," for the most part) as austere.

In this regard, its paradoxical passion—ripe yet restrained—and inscrutable charm have much in common IMHO with the Impromptu Op. 51.

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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#592784 - 02/07/09 02:22 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
Well basically what I was meaning when I said I don't expect it to be to difficult, but will require work, was that it's doable for me. Not impossible. I'll probably end up analyzing the chords and play it that way, I think well in chords. :].

Those are all good descriptions of this piece, I like amorphous. The piece modulates so much and doesn't really follow a standard harmonic progression. But when played well I think this piece is incredibly beautiful.

And it's good to know that you think it wouldn't much harder than no.1 or the other I mentioned. Perhaps after I finish this one I'll start one of those. I'm really liking chopin preludes right now. They're fairly short, short enough to be learned in just a few weeks, but are sooo musical so so fun to play.
I can already play both hands of no.23 separately without a problem, I just need to get the hands together now and then focus on interpretation.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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#592785 - 02/08/09 10:55 PM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
Deus ex Pianoforte Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 346
Loc: California
 Quote:
Originally posted by Elene:
That cadenza doesn't seem so uncharacteristic to me, though. Not so very different, for example, from parts of the 10/3 etude?[/b]
Yeah, that section (in sixths?) all but ruins that etude for me. It seems so out of place. I think the cadenza works for this prelude, however.

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#592786 - 02/09/09 12:10 AM Re: How difficult is Chopin's opus 45 C#m prelude?
xxmynameisjohnxx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/08
Posts: 625
Loc: San Diego
You don't like the part in sixths in 10/3? I love it. Oh man. :]. It adds just the right amount of bite to a very beautiful piece.
_________________________
Chopin: Nocturne No. 15 in Fm. Op. 55 no.1.

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