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#597990 - 01/01/06 06:38 PM What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
pianomad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 309
Loc: USA
It's the new year, and one of my resolutions is to stop procrastinating and stay on top of all my music. I'm a day into it, and I'm frustrated by the practicing. So I'm taking a breather to vent to the forum about:

The first four measures of the 4th movement in Brahms' F minor sonata for piano and clarinet (or viola). The entire sonata could go without a hitch, and yet I arrive at these four measures and break out in a cold sweat and feel like it never goes well. I know a pianist who's recorded this, and I've discussed this with other pianists, and they all have similar attitudes towards these measures. (The pianist who recorded it took many takes, with most attempts followed by a loud expletive.)

So, do you have a favorite Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
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"Moralists have no place in an art gallery" ---Han Suyin

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#597991 - 01/01/06 07:09 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
Chopin Scherzo No. 2 - in the middle there is a fast section in E major. No matter how much I practice it, it seems that my right hand doesn't want to "fit" in that key! My hand feels over-stretched, fingers feel overcrossed - or something (it is hard to describe). It is weird - I've not had that feeling in other pieces.
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#597992 - 01/01/06 07:11 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
TheAsianPianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/05
Posts: 129
Loc: Michigan
Well, whenever I try to play Moonlight Movement 3 I just can't get the timing right with both hands for measures 9-13. Also, I think that I play the last couple measures too fast and without much clarity for Rach's G Minor Prelude, and when I try to slow it down it just sounds chopped up.
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Asian Invasion

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#597993 - 01/01/06 07:55 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
jon-nyc Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/05
Posts: 2022
Loc: the left bank -- of the east r...
My Achilles heel? I'd say its gotta be Liszt, Chopin, Beethoven, and Ravel.

\:D
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If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?

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#597994 - 01/01/06 07:56 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
kcoul058 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/27/04
Posts: 972
Loc: UBC, Vancouver, Canada
There's this one part in the Prokofiev 3rd sonata I play that has these alternate note passages in the RH and a low bassy ostinato in the LH that I just can't seem to get nailed down, and a few measures later there's this repeated note pattern that is tough at full speed too because it depends so much on having a good action.

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#597995 - 01/01/06 08:23 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
8ude Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 2050
My two achilles heel composers are Ravel and Prokofiev.
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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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#597996 - 01/01/06 08:36 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
LWpianistin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 500
Loc: VA/MD/England...long story...
in general it's Handel and Bach (although i like playing Bach...to a certain extent).
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That's right...I have the same birthday as Mozart. If only it meant something and I could have one thousandth of his genius...in my dreams, i suppose.

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#597997 - 01/01/06 09:51 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
Fiorentino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/03
Posts: 262
A certain left hand passage in the Schubert Wanderer Fantasie, 1st movement.

*shakes fist in general direction of Schubert's grave*
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#597998 - 01/02/06 07:01 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
Max W Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/02
Posts: 2846
Loc: RHUL
 Quote:
Originally posted by 8ude:
My two achilles heel composers are Ravel and Prokofiev. [/b]
Amen to that!

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#597999 - 01/02/06 08:24 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
andrewp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/04
Posts: 494
Loc: united kingdom
I'd have to say most pieces by Chopin - much to my regret.

Whilst I can get my fingers around many of the intermediate-dificult ones, I can't make the music breathe in a natural way. My Chopin is stiff and clunky.

More at home with Bach, Beethoven and Schumann.

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#598000 - 01/02/06 10:00 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1096
Loc: San Francisco, CA
La Leggierrezza - ai yi yi...

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#598001 - 01/02/06 11:02 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
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 Auntie Lynn:
La Leggierrezza - ai yi yi... [/b]
But its such a wonderful piece!
_________________________
If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?

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#598002 - 01/02/06 11:11 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
vitamin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/05
Posts: 39
Loc: UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
My Achilles heel? I'd say its gotta be Liszt, Chopin, Beethoven, and Ravel.

\:D [/b]
You have three feet! ... you could always take up the organ :-)
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vitamin

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#598003 - 01/02/06 11:33 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by whippen boy:
Chopin Scherzo No. 2 - in the middle there is a fast section in E major. No matter how much I practice it, it seems that my right hand doesn't want to "fit" in that key! My hand feels over-stretched, fingers feel overcrossed - or something (it is hard to describe). It is weird - I've not had that feeling in other pieces. [/b]
Yup the same for me here! The whole piece goes without too much of a hitch until I get here then it's like I've started unraveling a ball of yarn.

Oh my other things that are broken...

Moonlight 3rd movement
Chopin's 1'st Ballade Last few pages
Schubert's B-flat Sonata Op. Poth. The last movement.

Why does this happen?
I think we take too much for granted, make grand assumptions, and don't work as hard on these more difficult sections. The rest of the pieces aren't as difficult as these sections, therefore we breeze right through, and when we get here, we want to keep slipping along quickly.

John
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#598004 - 01/02/06 01:44 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
John Citron said:
 Quote:
Why does this happen?
Maybe because those passages are just really difficult! ;\)

For me, I DO practice a lot on the harder sections - so it is all the more dissapointing when they don't go as planned.

End of Chopin's first Ballade - oh[/b] yeah...!

vitamin said:
 Quote:
You have three feet! ... you could always take up the organ :-)
:D

Two is plenty enough! Although it might just work...hmmm....
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Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#598005 - 01/02/06 02:46 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
pianomad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 309
Loc: USA
Well, for me it happens because I psyche myself out. I think "here comes the passage that I've worked much harder on than anything else in this piece; whatever you do, don't screw it up like you probably will..."
_________________________
www.elclandestinomusic.com

"Moralists have no place in an art gallery" ---Han Suyin

"Paint's not really a great thing to bring into a museum" ---Adam Sorenson, The Shape of Things

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#598006 - 01/03/06 03:48 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
Opus_Maximus Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/04
Posts: 1458
haha...good question

The only piece that has ever really "defeated" me is Liszt's mephisto waltz no. 1.

I studied this piece about 2 yrs ago and left it unfinished...no matter how hard I worked I could simply not get the double note trill passage that comes up right after the lyrical second section of the piece. The only way I could sucessfuly play it was if I divided the hands, which sounded disgusting.

Maybe in 2 years it will be nicer to me. \:\)

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#598007 - 01/03/06 04:32 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
TheMadMan86 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/05
Posts: 341
Loc: Evansville, Indiana
one word baroque

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#598008 - 01/03/06 08:59 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
Bassio Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/24/03
Posts: 2480
Loc: Alexandria, Egypt
Don't know, but i think my mozart pretty sucks!

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#598009 - 01/03/06 11:27 AM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
The "animato e molto leggierro" sections of Grieg Concerto 1st movement. The end of each one, just before the run in thirds....

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Sam

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#598010 - 01/03/06 03:59 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
Oh another piece that always "defeats" me - the Scherzo from Chopin's 2nd Sonata.

Parallel thirds, parallel fourths, octaves, rapidly repeated (large) chords, contrary motion, big stretches, awkward key. It's ALL there. Intensive practice always left me feeling worn out.

I've actually performed it quite a few times, but never to my satisfaction.
_________________________
Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#598011 - 01/03/06 08:47 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
Jeff135 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/05
Posts: 912
Loc: Oregon
Hmmm...

I have never been a very good Boroque player...

I would say the Prok 2nd is my Achilles Heel =D
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#598012 - 01/03/06 09:25 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
SinspawnAmmes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/04
Posts: 147
Loc: Houston, TX
My biggest Achilles' heel is strangely in a relatively easy piece. In the first movement of Bach's 3rd partita, there's a section where the main theme is transposed up a fifth (from A minor to E minor), and on the left hand, I have to play an A with 4, a D-sharp with 1, and the G below the A with 1! To play it, one would have to slide the hand over, but I always overshoot it, and I actually did so when recording it. I've never quite been able to pull that off, though I can do most things.
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Demi me, please!

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#598013 - 01/03/06 09:40 PM Re: What is your Achilles' heel in the piano repertoire?
WCSMinorCircuit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/04
Posts: 1124
Loc: California
All of Gaspard de la Nuit by Ravel. I swear... I mean, my hands can play it fine, it's just my brain doesn't comprehend it. So in turn, when I play it for people they think I do a fine job of playing it, but they don't understand the amount of awkwardness I have to go through to play it.
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