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Thread: Difficulty ranking of 3 piano concertos please

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    Default Difficulty ranking of 3 piano concertos please

    How would you rate the following piano concertos, difficulty-wise?:

    Prokofiev 2nd
    Rach 3rd
    Brahms 2nd

    I know it's subjective, ultimately, but there must be some general consensus.

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    Senior Member Il_Penseroso's Avatar
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    Among all the piano concerti which I know:

    Ravel, Concerto in D for the left hand
    Liszt, first concerto in E flat
    Henselt, Concerto in f minor

    (the next would be Liapunov's second concerto if counted on four)
    Il y a de grandes flaques de sang sur le monde/ Où s'en va-t-il tout ce sang répandu (Chanson dans le sang - Jacques Prévert)

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    Senior Member moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Il_Penseroso View Post
    Among all the piano concerti which I know:

    Ravel, Concerto in D for the left hand
    Liszt, first concerto in E flat
    Henselt, Concerto in f minor
    (the next would be Liapunov's second concerto if counted on four)
    How about answering the question?

    There is no point in this but----Prokofiev, Rach and Brahms. But I'm no pianist and therefore ignorant and uninformed.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Senior Member Jeremy Marchant's Avatar
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    Personally, no idea, but this forum has...
    http://www.magle.dk/music-forums/168...-rankings.html
    Scroll down to the 24 Jan 11 posting (note the list is in ascending order of difficulty, so the Mozart concerti are deemed the hardest (quite right too!))
    To save others the trouble of looking this up, the answers given by this poster are:
    Rachmaninov 3 (easiest)
    Brahms 2
    Prokofiev 2


    Incidentally, I found this in approx two minutes by googling "difficulty ranking piano concertos"
    Last edited by Jeremy Marchant; Aug-06-2012 at 20:19.

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    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    For "general consensus", the Rach 3 has definitely entered the public mythos as being the most difficult in the standard repertoire, there is a hollywood movie about it after all. There are a lot large chords in quick succession and requires a lot of endurance, especially in its famous, climatic cadenza. I've fooled around with the score and some of it almost seems written to be difficult on purpose.

    The Prok 2 has its own torrentially difficult cadenza in an otherwise straightforward first movement, the second movement is very fast and requires relentlessness dexterity for its duration, and the fourth has very large leaps of the hands in quick succession which makes it very difficult to be accurate.

    Brahms 2 I can't comment on.
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    Senior Member moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Marchant View Post
    Personally, no idea, but this forum has...
    http://www.magle.dk/music-forums/168...-rankings.html
    Scroll down to the 24 Jan 11 posting (note the list is in ascending order of difficulty, so the Mozart concerti are deemed the hardest (quite right too!))
    To save others the trouble of looking this up, the answers given by this poster are:
    Rachmaninov 3 (easiest)
    Brahms 2
    Prokofiev 2


    Incidentally, I found this in approx two minutes by googling "difficulty ranking piano concertos"
    What you refer to is a sister forum to this one with the same owner. The opinion is by a member, somebody just like us.
    I then found an article by the pianist Pierre Arnaud Dablemont "The 5 most Difficult Piano concertos".
    His 5 were
    ;
    1. Prokofiev 2.
    2. Rach. 3
    3. Bartok 2.
    4. Brahms 2
    5. R.Strauss "Burleske".


    Wikipedia says that Rach.3 is famous for its technical and musical demands...it has the reputation of being one of the most technically challenging piano concertos in the repertoire.

    John Sarkis : "Rach No.3 is one of the most challenging compositions ever written for the piano. The work is infamous amongst great pianists as a technical monstrosity".

    Prokofiev No.2 . Prokofiev's biographer David Nice said in 2011 that Argerich wouldn't touch it, Kissin delayed learning it and Prokofiev, a virtuoso himself, got into a terrible mess trying to perform it on two occasions.

    You will notice that pianists who play these concertos are " specialists" like Earl Wild, Jorge Bolet, Shura Cherkassky ,etc.
    I don't know of many Mozart specialists playing these composers.
    But just listen to recordings and they are horrendously difficult.
    samurai and Ravndal like this.
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Marchant View Post
    ... Incidentally, I found this in approx two minutes by googling "difficulty ranking piano concertos"
    Yes. Thank you for that. I did too. It showed me some opinions from those people. I asked *here* because I was interested in what people *here* thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by moody View Post
    There is no point in this ....
    Indeed.

    However, people do often ask pointless questions. Someone asked me for my opinion, I gave it, and was curious about what others would think.

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    Senior Member moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dannwebb View Post
    Yes. Thank you for that. I did too. It showed me some opinions from those people. I asked *here* because I was interested in what people *here* thought.



    Indeed.

    However, people do often ask pointless questions. Someone asked me for my opinion, I gave it, and was curious about what others would think.
    Well.how about some comment on the fact that I made the effort.twice, to answer you query ??
    Fools talk because they have to say something, wise men talk because they have something to say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moody View Post
    Well.how about some comment on the fact that I made the effort.twice, to answer you query ??
    Oh. Is that the protocol? Sorry ... thank you very much for taking the time to respond.

    And thank you to everybody else as well. Very informative.

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    Senior Member Il_Penseroso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moody View Post
    How about answering the question?

    There is no point in this but----Prokofiev, Rach and Brahms. But I'm no pianist and therefore ignorant and uninformed.
    Oooops... Sorry and thanks for correcting me. I taught of the 3 most difficult concerti ever written!

    Ok:

    Rachmaninov 3rd: Technically very haunting!
    Prokofiev 2nd: I don't know and can't comment on.
    Brahms 2nd: Needs a great sensivity, the work is written not only for a virtuoso but a man with a great understanding of timber and texture in musical writing, so I think it's more difficult than Rachmaninov.
    Il y a de grandes flaques de sang sur le monde/ Où s'en va-t-il tout ce sang répandu (Chanson dans le sang - Jacques Prévert)

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    Yundi Li does a bang-up good job of the Prokofiev 2 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Edo de Waart on Youtube. It takes a while for the percussive second theme of the first movement to show up around 3:30, then things really take off after that.

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