Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty

Posted by: jon-nyc

Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/05/08 06:44 PM

Does anyone have an opinion on the relative difficulty of Schubert's Impromptus?

I'm most interested in the Op 90, but opinions on the Op 142 would be welcome as well.
Posted by: celegorma

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/05/08 07:34 PM

About the same to me.. but the longer ones are a little harder, mostly because it takes more time to learn.
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/05/08 07:43 PM

For what it's worth, jon-nyc, the RCM (Toronto) Syllabus, rates the Op 90 (D899) No 2 in E-flat major and No 4 in A-flat major as Grade X pieces, and the Op 90, No 1 in C minor as diploma level. The Op 90 No 3 in G-flat major is no longer in the Syllabus, but it used to also be rated at the diploma level.

From the same Syllabus, the Op 142 (D.935) No 2 in A-flat major is listed as Grade IX, the Op 142, No 3 in B-flat major and No 4 in F minor are Grade X; and the Op 142, No 1 in F minor is listed as diploma level.

I hope this helps somewhat.

Regards,
Posted by: gabytu

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/05/08 10:25 PM

Well, that explains why I am having so much trouble with Schubert. Gaby Tu
Posted by: ZPomeroy

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/05/08 11:13 PM

for any australians the schubert impromptu op.90 no.3 is about AMEB grade 8

Zac
Posted by: currawong

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/05/08 11:29 PM

I'm having somewhat of a Schubert binge at the moment - can't get enough of op.90/1 (C minor). So many lovely little twists and turns, and the two beautiful sections with the triplet LH chord accompaniment (74-82 and 152-160).
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/05/08 11:31 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
I'm having somewhat of a Schubert binge at the moment - can't get enough of op.90/1 (C minor). So many lovely little twists and turns, and the two beautiful sections with the triplet LH chord accompaniment (74-82 and 152-160). [/b]
currawong :

I'm working on that one myself, at the moment. We should compare notes!

Regards,
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/06/08 09:33 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
I hope this helps somewhat.

Regards, [/b]
It does, thanks.

Can you explain their grade system? i.e. is it I-XII then diploma?
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/06/08 11:37 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by jon-nyc:
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
I hope this helps somewhat.

Regards, [/b]
It does, thanks.

Can you explain their grade system? i.e. is it I-XII then diploma? [/b]
jon-nyc :

RCM (Toronto): Grades I through X, then diploma (ARCT).

In order of relative difficulty, then, according to RCM :

Grade IX : Op. 142, No. 2
Grade X : Op 90. Nos. 2 and 4; Op. 142. Nos. 3 and 4
Diploma (ARCT) : Op. 90. No 1; (Op. 90, No. 3 - no longer on any RCM list); Op. 142, No 1.

Regards,
Posted by: jon-nyc

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/06/08 01:53 PM

Thanks, Bruce.

How complete is the RCM Toronto syllabus? Is much of the standard repertoire rated?

It seems like a nice reference to have around. I refer to Hinson often for the same purpose, but its coverage is spotty (of difficulty ratings, that is).
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/06/08 03:26 PM

jon-nyc :

For those interested in such things as the relative difficulty[/b] of one piece from the piano repertoire compared to another, I find the RCM Syllabus very helpful. In actual number of pieces listed, it is much more comprehensive than anything I have seen from the ABRSM or the Trinity lists. [1]

In each of Grade X and ARCT lists, pieces are listed in :
List A : Works of J.S.Bach
List B : Classical Sonatas (Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart,)
List C : Romantic Repertoire
List D : 20th-century Repertoire
List E : (Later) 20th-century Repertoire

The ARCT list also has a separate listing of "Concert Etudes"

A new Syllabus has just been published replacing the last one published in 2001; my local music store expects it in this week. The last piano syllabus (2001) was published by Frederick Harris Music
www.frederickharrismusic.com
but I don't see the new Piano Syllabus on their website, but I presume they are still publishing for RCM.

[1] Examples :

Grade X[/b]

List A : 31 works by J.S. Bach
List B : 21 Sonatas by Beethoven, Clementi, Haydn, Mozart
List C : 50 pieces
List D : 49 pieces
List E : 47 pieces

ARCT (diploma)[/b]

List A : 41 works by J.S Bach
List B : 42 Sonatas by Beethoven, Clementi, Grieg, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert
List C : 86 pieces
List D : 66 pieces
List E : 100 pieces
Concert Etudes : from Weber to Ligeti, including such observations as
Chopin : any one except Op 25 No 2
Debussy : any one
Ligeti, Etudes for Piano, bk 1: any one
Liszt Paganini Etudes: any one except "La Chasse"
etc., etc., which makes a very large number of Etudes from which to choose.

Regards,
Posted by: Friday Harbor

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/06/08 05:15 PM

The Wiener Urtext website (Wiener-urtext.com) has a simple 1 - 5 ranking on all of their published music, as follows:

1 = very easy
2 = easy
3 = medium
4 = difficult
5 = very difficult

op. 90:
#1 is a 4
#2 is a 4
#3 is a 4
#4 is a 3-4

Op. 142:
#1 is a 4
#2 is a 3
#3 is a 4
#4 is a 4-5
Posted by: ctnski

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/06/08 06:41 PM

Does RCM Syllabus rank Schubert's three pieces, D. 946? Thanks. I would like to get the new edition, when it is available. I also consult Maurice Hinson's book, an invaluable and interesting resource, though he only grades pieces as elementary, intermediate, moderately difficult, and difficult. Very thorough, however.

Cheers,

Craig
Posted by: Ferdinand

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/06/08 10:53 PM

Wiener Urtext rates op. 142 no.4 as more difficult than op. 142 no.1. RCM rates no.1 as the more difficult.

I'd like to hear opinions of people who have played these. No.4 looks and sounds more formidable to me. I've always wanted to learn no.1. I learned op. 142 no.3 and was able to play it though not in a very polished way. What obstacles will one encounter on the path to learning no.1? Is it so tough I should give up on the idea?
Posted by: BruceD

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/06/08 11:13 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by ctnski:
Does RCM Syllabus rank Schubert's three pieces, D. 946? Thanks. I would like to get the new edition, when it is available. I also consult Maurice Hinson's book, an invaluable and interesting resource, though he only grades pieces as elementary, intermediate, moderately difficult, and difficult. Very thorough, however.

Cheers,

Craig [/b]
Craig :

RCM lists two of the Drei Klavierstücke, D946, numbers 1 and 3 as ARCT (diploma) level. The second of the three does not appear on any of their grade lists.

Regards,
Posted by: currawong

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 12:47 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
RCM lists two of the Drei Klavierstücke, D946, numbers 1 and 3 as ARCT (diploma) level. The second of the three does not appear on any of their grade lists. [/b]
The second of these pieces is another of my great Schubert favourites - I'm playing it at a small concert in a couple of weeks, actually. After that I'll do some more work on the op.90/1 and report back to you, Bruce \:\) .
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 03:52 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
RCM lists two of the Drei Klavierstücke, D946, numbers 1 and 3 as ARCT (diploma) level. The second of the three does not appear on any of their grade lists. [/b]
The second of these pieces is another of my great Schubert favourites - I'm playing it at a small concert in a couple of weeks, actually. After that I'll do some more work on the op.90/1 and report back to you, Bruce \:\) . [/b]
I love No. 2 as well.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 04:02 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Friday Harbor:
Op. 142:
#1 is a 4
#2 is a 3
#3 is a 4
#4 is a 4-5 [/b]
That "4-5" rating for #4 probably refers to the crazy fast scales. I've only seen one student daring enough to play it in a competition, and she absolutely nailed those scales. But it's not one of the best things Schubert ever wrote.

I personally find #3 nigh impossible to play well. It's almost Mozartian in terms of clarity and lightness, yet it is filled with Romantic richness of sound. It's one of my favorite pieces of all time, but I haven't found the time to seriously study it.

I also like #2 in this set. #1 is pleasant.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 04:12 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Friday Harbor:
op. 90:
#1 is a 4
#2 is a 4
#3 is a 4
#4 is a 3-4 [/b]
Op. 90 No. 2 has been my favorite since childhood. I've played through all four of these. The hardest part of playing these gems is the ability to play fast and soft simultaneously. One must have sensitive touch and lightness of tone in order to play these well.

I think #4 is the easiet of the set, followed by #3 and #1. #2 is not much harder.
Posted by: Craig137

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 05:02 AM

Whew! Thanks, AZNpiano & co. 90 #2 seems like is taking 4ever for this 3 yr. self-teaching student to learn... LUV this thread.
(After seeing all these 8 yr. olds playing it so perfectly. \:\( )
Posted by: terminaldegree

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 01:03 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Ferdinand:
Wiener Urtext rates op. 142 no.4 as more difficult than op. 142 no.1. RCM rates no.1 as the more difficult.
I'd like to hear opinions of people who have played these. No.4 looks and sounds more formidable to me. I've always wanted to learn no.1. [/b]
I presented all 4 of op.142 on my MM recital years ago. #1 is technically tough, but musically VERY tough. I've read that it was a long sonata movement which never was made into a whole sonata... the form is expansive and repetitive, so it takes imagination and great control to play well. #4 is musically straightforward, but I found it to be technically vicious! It's nowhere near a Liszt etude, of course, but you get SEVERELY punished for every technical foible-- it's very exposed... Typical Schubert: incessantly detail-oriented playing is required for a good performance.

I'm teaching #4 to one of my students now, and must admit it's a lot easier to handle 10 years later! The student is probably sick of my constant nit-picking... :rolleyes:
Posted by: gabytu

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 01:27 PM

I adore Schubert and have struggled--and I do mean struggled with a number of the Impromptus. Usually get just so far, then get bogged down. Put it aside, then come back to it weeks--or even months later.

Op90 #l. Beginning is deceptivly simple, then one gets to pages 4 and 5 ( -Schirmer's edition) and the repeated chords in the left hand, and the repeated octaves in the right hand take real stamina. Never have really mastered them.

Op 90 #2, scale passages in the right hand doable, but getting them smooth and flowing the way they should is something else again. Never did finish this piece. It is 10 pages long.
\
Op. 90 #3. Yes, started this about a year ago. Got bogged down with the left hand trills which never seem to come out right. Also, I can't get the marvelous rippling sound in the right hand. Will keep working at it.

Op.90 #4, seems easier, but I just don't seem to be able to get the right hand part up to speed. My playing is very choppy. Never did get to the Trio section.

Op 94 #3. Yeah. I can play that one.

Now that I know that they are grade 9 and l0, I accept the fact that they are way beyond my comfort level, but nonetheless, well worth the struggle. Gaby Tu
Posted by: David-G

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 02:40 PM

Thank you Jon for starting this thread, and Bruce for the info on the RCM ratings. This is really most helpful, as I don't have a teacher and so have no real way of rating my progress.

I was drawn to these by a recording of Op 142 No. 2. The trio section initially seemed daunting, but I was very gratified to find that with some serious practice I could cope quite passably with it. Although some serious work is still necessary to nail the passage around bars 65-69 in the trio.

I then looked at Op 142 no. 1, which I always found compelling when I heard it. After a lot of practice, I found that I could get through it, quite fluently in a lot of it, though with some serious struggles in one or two places.

I find with these Impromptus that I simply never tire of them. I can practice them over and over and over again, for months even, and continue to get as much delight from them as when I started. And sections like bars 159 to 178 of Op 142 no.1, which are sublime but tough to play properly with all the notes correct and phrasing to my satisfaction, gradually improve! I must say, I am astonished to find that I have been attempting a Diploma-level piece with some modest success.

So Ferdinand, I would definitely be encouraging. Have a go!
Posted by: ctnski

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 07:19 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by BruceD:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ctnski:
Does RCM Syllabus rank Schubert's three pieces, D. 946? Thanks. I would like to get the new edition, when it is available. I also consult Maurice Hinson's book, an invaluable and interesting resource, though he only grades pieces as elementary, intermediate, moderately difficult, and difficult. Very thorough, however.

Cheers,

Craig [/b]
Craig :

RCM lists two of the Drei Klavierstücke, D946, numbers 1 and 3 as ARCT (diploma) level. The second of the three does not appear on any of their grade lists.

Regards, [/b]
BruceD,

Thanks very much for looking that up for me. I see several older editions of the syllabus available on amazon, but since the new one is almost out, I will just wait a little longer. The pieces, D. 946, are my favorite Schubert, and I am heartened to see I am not the only one who finds these challenging.

Best regards,

Craig, presently in the Yellow Sea, laying undersea cable (isn't modern life grand?)
Posted by: Theowne

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 08:03 PM

The Op.142 No.2 is a relatively easy piece that sounds fantastic.
Posted by: Ferdinand

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 09:29 PM

Thanks David-G, terminaldegree, and AZNpiano, for relating your experiences. I will consider planning to think about deciding to approach op.142 no.1. (maybe)
Posted by: David-G

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 10:31 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by Theowne
"The Op.142 No.2 is a relatively easy piece that sounds fantastic."

For me the outer sections were relatively easy. The central section was and is a challenge. I am having fair success and it is extremely satisfying.

I would certainly agree that it sounds fantastic. And it is an excellent piece for demonstrating the qualities of my 1881 Bluthner, with the strong bass supporting and contrasting with the exquisite treble.
Posted by: Fleeting Visions

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/07/08 11:52 PM

I find capturing he charm of 142-2 to be quite difficult. Everything is transparent.
Posted by: Bassio

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/08/08 09:16 PM

To guys working on the Op.90 No.4 .. don't worry guys it will get eventually with hundreds of repetitions.

A tip I got from my teacher to help with evenness is to voluntarily 'swing' these arpeggios in a sense that you make the shortest time in the shift of the hand laterally to the next figuration.

After that play it in its regular time and you will notice a better performance in evenness when you get to these shifts.

A very nice piece and fun to play too. And in good hands it can work as a great show-stopper too. ;\)

And I agree it is the easiest of the four. The scales in no.2 for example scare the hell out of me and I don't approach this piece until now.

Marvellous compositions indeed!
Posted by: David-G

Re: Schubert Impromptus - relative difficulty - 04/08/08 09:35 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bassio:
A tip I got from my teacher to help with evenness is to voluntarily 'swing' these arpeggios in a sense that you make the shortest time in the shift of the hand laterally to the next figuration. [/b]
Bassio - I'm sorry, I don't quite understand this. Could you perhaps explain it a bit more clearly?