Major Solo Work Ideas

Posted by: hsheck

Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 03:35 PM

Hey! I'm currently preparing for college auditions and I'm having a difficult time finding the right "major work" that is required. It must be at least 10 minutes long. Any suggestions? (Please no Chopin. I'm already required to learn two of his pieces. )
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 03:38 PM

What are the audition requirements?
Posted by: hsheck

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 03:58 PM

1. A piece by Bach
2. Beethoven or Mozart sonata.
3. One fast and one slow piece by Chopin.
4. A major work at least ten minutes long.

I have the first 3 requirements chosen. Just need the 4th.
Posted by: debrucey

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 04:06 PM

An estimate for your level would be helpful.
Perhaps a Scriabin sonata? 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 are all about 10-12 minutes.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 04:23 PM

To be honest, I don't understand how someone planning to audition for Curtis, one of the most prestigious music schools in the world, can seemingly be unfamiliar with piano literature.

In the days before YouTube and IMSLP when one had to purchase everything or take it out of the library I could understand this, but not in today's world. If one is serious enough and love's music enough to want to make it your career, I'd think you would have listened to more music by this time.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 04:28 PM

What are you playing for the first three?
Posted by: hsheck

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 04:45 PM

I believe you have miss interpreted the meaning of my question. My knowledge and understanding of repertoire is quite advanced and I am fully aware of the difficulty required to be admitted to Curtis. The problem I am having is choosing the best piece for ME. There is quite a vast collection of 10 min compositions to choose from.

Here is my program so far-

1. J.S. Bach WTC D Major Prelude and Fugue
2. Beethoven Sonata Op. 27 No. 1
3. Slow Chopin: Mazurka in C sharp minor Fast Chopin: Etude in C sharp minor
4. My teacher recommended Chopin's Fantasy in F Minor but I feel this may be too much Chopin. Thoughts?
Posted by: trigalg693

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 04:48 PM

Are you looking for something harder than the rest of the stuff on your list or the same level?
Posted by: debrucey

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 04:48 PM

Yes that's definitely too much Chopin. I would hope you'd want to show to them that your interests are broader than that.
Posted by: hsheck

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 04:54 PM

Haha exactly my thought. Possibly Liszt's Mephisto Waltz? Maybe a contemporary piece such as a Prokofiev Sonata? smile
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 05:11 PM

Originally Posted By: hsheck
I believe you have miss interpreted the meaning of my question. My knowledge and understanding of repertoire is quite advanced and I am fully aware of the difficulty required to be admitted to Curtis. The problem I am having is choosing the best piece for ME. There is quite a vast collection of 10 min compositions to choose from.

Here is my program so far-

1. J.S. Bach WTC D Major Prelude and Fugue
2. Beethoven Sonata Op. 27 No. 1
3. Slow Chopin: Mazurka in C sharp minor Fast Chopin: Etude in C sharp minor
4. My teacher recommended Chopin's Fantasy in F Minor but I feel this may be too much Chopin. Thoughts?
I'm glad to hear you're familiar with the piano repertoire.

As far as what piece would be best for you, aren't you and your teacher far more familiar with your playing, your strengths and weaknesses, your personal likes and dislikes, etc. then PW members?(Actually all 50,000 members put together)If you don't want to play the Chopin Fantasy, I'd ask your teacher for other suggestions or ask him which of the compositions you're familiar with would be good choices.

For starters you should really love the pieces you're playing and you would know that better than anyone else.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 05:20 PM

I suggest something in a completely different style to the other pieces - how about Spanish? El Corpus en Sevilla from Albéniz's Iberia, Book 1 is fun, colorful, brilliant and makes a satisfying conclusion to your program. And it lasts 9 - 10 minutes.
Posted by: hsheck

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 05:24 PM

You are 100% correct in your observation. I shall take this question to my teacher so we can find something I enjoy playing. smile Thank you!
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 05:25 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
you should really love the pieces you're playing


This is so important.
Posted by: hsheck

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 05:26 PM

Ah yes! Great pieces. I will discuss this with my teacher. Thank you!
Posted by: BDB

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 07:08 PM

I suspect that a major work could be multiple movements. I suggest you look into something newer than your other pieces.

Just remember, as long as you keep the guy in the black hood with the big axe happy, you will come out okay!
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 07:12 PM

I am not quite sure that your slow Chopin and fast Chopin are substantial enough for Curtis.
Posted by: asthecrowflies

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 07:30 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
I suggest something in a completely different style to the other pieces - how about Spanish? El Corpus en Sevilla from Albéniz's Iberia, Book 1 is fun, colorful, brilliant and makes a satisfying conclusion to your program. And it lasts 9 - 10 minutes.


+1. it's fun and a beast.

Some other ideas
- Ravel - Sonatine
- Bach-Busoni - Chaconne
- Schubert - Bb Impromptu (op 142 #3)
- Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
- Alban Berg's Sonata
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 07:30 PM

Estampes - 2 & 3
Posted by: bennevis

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 07:37 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I suspect that a major work could be multiple movements. I suggest you look into something newer than your other pieces.



I was going to suggest Carl Vine's Piano Sonata No.1 (lasting around 15 minutes), but not many pianists are comfortable in that idiom, though it is hardly avant-garde. Or Barber's Piano Sonata......
Posted by: asthecrowflies

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 07:41 PM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
As far as what piece would be best for you, aren't you and your teacher far more familiar with your playing, your strengths and weaknesses, your personal likes and dislikes, etc. then PW members?(Actually all 50,000 members put together)If you don't want to play the Chopin Fantasy, I'd ask your teacher for other suggestions or ask him which of the compositions you're familiar with would be good choices.

For starters you should really love the pieces you're playing and you would know that better than anyone else.


It's called crowd-sourcing. the kid is just looking for ideas, no need to lecture him/her just because s/he asked our opinions! smile
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 07:52 PM

Originally Posted By: asthecrowflies
[...]
It's called crowd-sourcing. the kid is just looking for ideas, no need to lecture him/her just because s/he asked our opinions! smile


Given the context and the nature of the question, it seems pretty strange to me to seek advice on pieces best for him/her ("The problem I am having is choosing the best piece for ME.")from complete strangers on an internet forum who know nothing about his skills, abilities and interests.

So, yes, some people might well think that he does need to do some thinking for himself and that his questions should be directed at people who know something about him as a musician.

Posted by: DanS

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 08:00 PM

I think something 20th century (or 21st) would be a good idea....Estampes, Images, Miriors, Sonatas by Scribin, Prokofiev, Berg, Griffies etc would all be acceptable choices...maybe Rzewski 4 Pieces (a favorite of mine)?
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 08:07 PM

Originally Posted By: asthecrowflies
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
As far as what piece would be best for you, aren't you and your teacher far more familiar with your playing, your strengths and weaknesses, your personal likes and dislikes, etc. then PW members?(Actually all 50,000 members put together)If you don't want to play the Chopin Fantasy, I'd ask your teacher for other suggestions or ask him which of the compositions you're familiar with would be good choices.

For starters you should really love the pieces you're playing and you would know that better than anyone else.
It's called crowd-sourcing. the kid is just looking for ideas, no need to lecture him/her just because s/he asked our opinions! smile
Except the OP agreed with the post you quoted and seems to have realized the approach I suggested was the appropriate way to proceed.

If he's familiar with a reasonable amount of the piano literature, he and his teacher are, I think, markedly better sources of possible pieces than posters who know little or nothing about him or his playing. If he is reasonably familiar with the piano literature he already knows the suggestions given.

Especially when people suggest a single piece, even if they knew the poster very well which they of course do not, my first thought is ...of all the hundreds of possible pieces why did you choose that one?
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 08:15 PM

If we're talking about Curtis-level repertoire, then you'll need something like:

2nd Rachmaninoff Sonata
Liszt Vallee d'Obermann, Dante Sonata, Don Juan
Prokofiev 6th sonata
Stravinsky Petrushka
Barber Sonata

I know of someone who auditioned for and was accepted to Curtis last year. In middle school and high school, she won and placed in several regional and national competitions, had given several solo recitals and concerto performances, was featured in a "From the Top" broadcast on NPR, and had participated in at least two important festivals (PianoTexas and IIYM.) I don't know if she auditioned at Curtis with these works, but her repertoire in the past few years included Beethoven Op. 22 and Op. 57, Rachmaninoff Corelli Variations, Chopin Rondo in Eb Op. 16, Kapustin Variations Op. 41, etc...

Keep in mind that Curtis (and most other top-tier schools) don't just look at the audition. They look at your performance experience as well, as evidenced by participation in festivals and competitions over the course of several years.
Posted by: debrucey

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 08:18 PM

Oh! The Berg sonata is a great idea, why didn't I think of that? lol
Posted by: BDB

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 08:42 PM

Read what Kreisler says, and think about whether a top-notch school is for you. The reputation that makes people think that a school is top-notch is often on the basis of the reputation of the instructors as performers, as well as the reputation of the alumni. A great performer may not be a great instructor, nor a great match for you. The school's ability to cherry-pick their students means that many of the alumni did not need especially great instruction. It is all too easy to turn out great alumni when you can pick great students. It is much more difficult to take good students and make them great.

I recently tuned for a Juilliard graduate in piano who felt she got very little from her time there. I had talked to her because she had a top-notch piano that sounded terrible in her room, and I had hoped that she would have had at least a little background in what can be done to make a piano sound better. But she said all they wanted her to do there was learn repertoire. It was not enough in either of our opinions.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/14/13 11:07 PM

How about a couple of [i]devilishly]\i] difficult works, and known? Wondering if it would be interesting to throw something like that to the list (and provide scores for the jury)... ? Each one lasts more than 10 minutes so you're fine there, and each one is definitely difficult, so you're covered there as well!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hk-FjRbyhd8

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grGh-U26Db4
Posted by: ABC Vermonter

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/15/13 08:04 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
If we're talking about Curtis-level repertoire, then you'll need something like:

2nd Rachmaninoff Sonata
Liszt Vallee d'Obermann, Dante Sonata, Don Juan
Prokofiev 6th sonata
Stravinsky Petrushka
Barber Sonata

I know of someone who auditioned for and was accepted to Curtis last year. In middle school and high school, she won and placed in several regional and national competitions, had given several solo recitals and concerto performances, was featured in a "From the Top" broadcast on NPR, and had participated in at least two important festivals (PianoTexas and IIYM.) I don't know if she auditioned at Curtis with these works, but her repertoire in the past few years included Beethoven Op. 22 and Op. 57, Rachmaninoff Corelli Variations, Chopin Rondo in Eb Op. 16, Kapustin Variations Op. 41, etc...

Keep in mind that Curtis (and most other top-tier schools) don't just look at the audition. They look at your performance experience as well, as evidenced by participation in festivals and competitions over the course of several years.


I bet you were talking about Chelsea Wang. Heard her once in a NYC competition; she is very good.

At Curtis level, I bet many use something like Barcarolle for their slow Chopin. The fast Chopin ones are also rather long and, of course, difficult.
Posted by: trigalg693

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/15/13 12:30 PM

Eh, I think op.10 no.4 is adequate for "fast Chopin" unless they were looking for something longer. Aside from the most infamous 4 etudes that one is probably the hardest?

How about Scriabin 5? It's VERY hard and might even give you some breathing room because even people who know that piece well probably can't pick out any mistakes.
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/15/13 07:29 PM

I can pick out mistakes in Scriabin 5 and I'm nowhere near the level of Curtis faculty.

Originally Posted By: trigalg693
How about Scriabin 5? It's VERY hard and might even give you some breathing room because even people who know that piece well probably can't pick out any mistakes.
Posted by: HorseMom

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/15/13 11:36 PM

Schumann Symphonic Etudes.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/16/13 08:40 AM

I can pick out mistakes in the Scriabin 5th Sonata and I'm nowhere near the level of Kreisler.
Posted by: JoelW

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/16/13 01:05 PM

I can pick out mistakes in 'Hot Cross Buns'.
Posted by: hsheck

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/18/13 11:47 PM

Today I discussed with my piano teacher the repertoire for my Curtis Institute of Music Audition. Here is what we decided.:)

1. J.S. Bach WTC D Major Prelude and Fugue
2. Beethoven Sonata Op. 27 No. 1
3. Slow Chopin: Mazurka in C sharp minor Fast Chopin: Etude in C sharp minor
4. Copland Piano Variations
Posted by: Orange Soda King

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/18/13 11:57 PM

That'll be just fine. smile Good luck and play well. Let us know how it went! Where else are you auditioning?
Posted by: hsheck

Re: Major Solo Work Ideas - 02/19/13 12:01 AM

Thank you Orange Soda King! I'm pretty excited to start working on these pieces. smile I'm also looking into Eastman and Wartburg College at this time.