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Thread: Rachmaninov vs. Chopin

  1. #1
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    Default Rachmaninov vs. Chopin

    Hey,

    I made a little poll for you to vote for who you like best out of these two piano monsters: Chopin and Rachmaninov. I'd appreciate your vote!

    I think it is rather obvious who I votes for.


    http://snappoll.com/poll/154957.php

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Newbies vonK's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I've voted Rachmaninov because he is really great. I like his piano concertos much better than the ones of Chopin. Okay Chopin is also a good composer but sometimes I just hear too much of it and it gets a boring.
    Sorry all fans of Chopin.
    Für mich fängt das Paradies an wenn ich in den Saal komme... - H. von Karajan

  3. #3
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    I don't think it's fair to make me choose between the composers of my favourite piano concertos. I adore Chopin's two but I also love Rachmaninov's No 2 and No 3 with equal relish.

    I think that if I add Rachmaninov's 2nd Symphony, albeit not a piano work, then the vote has to go to him.

  4. #4
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    Why are we being asked to vote among only two composers noted for their piano works? It seems very artificial. There are several others that could be included. The main composers who have made notable contributions in the keyboard area (solo, chamber, concerto) are, in rough date order,:

    1. J S Bach
    2. Mozart
    3. Beethoven
    4. Schubert
    5. Chopin
    6. Mendelssohn
    7. Schumann
    8. Liszt
    9. Brahms
    10. Tchaikovsky
    11. Debussy
    12. Ravel
    13. Satie
    14. Grieg
    15. Rachmaninov
    16. Shostakovich

    I know there are some other very good ones, like Alkan, but they are not that well-known generally.

    My top 10 vote for these purely as piano composers (not their overall rating) would be, in order of preference:

    3, 4, 7, 2, 5, 8, 15, 10, 9, 14


    Topaz
    Last edited by Topaz; Dec-18-2006 at 18:23.

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    Senior Member Hexameron's Avatar
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    Well, I picked Chopin for both my preference and my opinion of the superior piano composer. There's simply no question about it as far as who the greater piano composer was. Chopin changed the piano forever with his Op. 10, he influenced just about every piano composer after him, and pretty much anyone who touches the piano today will eventually play something of his. There's no need to lecture about it since plenty of material has been written by better writers than myself.

    I personally prefer Chopin above Rachmaninov, though, because of Chopin's consistent quality. Every form he touched was crystallized. Find me a better set of etudes than the Op. 10 and 25. Who wrote better Ballades than those perfect four? The Scherzi and Polonaises are all individual masterpieces and the Nocturnes are what taught the 19th century barnstorming piano virtuosos like Liszt to fuse lyricism with virtuosity. His Preludes and Mazurkas are unsurpassed in their ability to evoke such quiet intimacy from the piano. Every composer from Schumann, Brahms, to Debussy and Scriabin were influenced by him. Rachmaninov, as great as he is, just doesn't compare. Nevertheless, the Rach's music is still monumental and outstanding, and on some days I just need his etudes-tableaux and piano sonatas.

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  7. #6
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    Chopin has my vote (other composers whose piano works I particularly enjoy are Ravel, Debussy and Satie).
    "Look here, I have given up my time, my work, my friends and my career to come here and learn from you, and I am not going to write a petit menuet dans le style de Mozart." - Ralph Vaughan Williams to Maurice Ravel

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    Rachmaninov's concertos are miles ahead of Chopin's, especially in orchestration. Those are the only comparable works I have heard from these two so I'll wote for Rachmaninov.

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    Senior Member Hexameron's Avatar
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    It looks like poor Freddy will always get the flames for his immature piano concertos. Don't forget that Chopin wrote them between 1829-1830; he still had 19 years of stellar masterpieces. Frankly, I don't weigh his piano concertos that important when his Ballades and Nocturnes are up for comparison; they speak volumes of his abilities.

    Only considering the piano concertos from these guys is like only considering two Mozart and Beethoven piano sonatas. Rachmaninov's and Chopin's preludes would be a better start for comparison. It's a tough one, though, when comparing the piano sonatas. Both composers did an excellent job, but I still think Chopin wins with his No. 2 and 3.

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    I do not believe there is a "Best" composer. It is really very subjective, and each person has a different taste which corresponds with whom they consider to be their favorite.

    Chopin is great. Although I too tend to get bored after listening to him for an extended period of time. Rach's style just suites my personality better. Except for that horrid 1st symphony......... But everything after that is superb!

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    I disagree with the above comment that there is no "best composer", on the basis that it's all too personal a choice. While any two people will likely disagree, the sum total of all consumers' preferences should give a fairly reliable picture of who's best. It's not easy in practice to work this out, but in principle the notion is clear.

    I fully agree with Hexameron, who I believe has the same view as me about Chopin, both from a personal and objective basis of assessment. I reckon there's little doubt that Chopin would - on the above premise of all looking at all consumers' preferences - be considered a greater piano composer than Rachmaninov. Don't be fooled just by Chopin's piano concertos. There's a lot more to Chopin than these Concerto works. There are excellent sonatas, ballades, scherzos, etudes, preludes, polonaises, waltzes, nocturnes, mazurkas, If you set up a decent playlist of the best among this lot - plus barcarolle, berceuse, fantaise-impromptu - you'll see what is meant. It is outstanding. I happen to like Rachmaninov a great deal, not just for his piano works. But in terms of the all-time greats of piano music I doubt that he's in the same league as Chopin.

    I can only say again that one's opinion does change the more you listen. What may sound great at first can begin to pall after a while.

    In my view Beethoven is the undoubted King of piano. I reckon Mozart or Chopin would probably come very close second, with Liszt, Schubert, Schumann close up behind. I wouldn't argue over the exact rankings here. These are the top drawer piano composers. Some might argue that Debussy should be included, and I wouldn't argue with that, although speaking personally only a few of his works have strong appeal.

    Beethoven's 5 piano concertos and 32 piano sonatas have never been exceeded in quality as an overall package, taking into account the large volume too. But listen to some late Schubert piano works (Impromptus and the last 4 piano sonatas), and there is hardly anything better written for the piano, albeit on a smaller overall scale than Beethoven. Schubert's late piano repertoire is truly magnificent material, as too is much of Chopin, Schumann and Liszt.

    The lesson I have learned is don't make hasty judgements about composers you reckon you don't like, as one's opinion is almost bound to change unless and until a good bit of the learning curve has been travelled. I could die of embarrassment when I recall some of the naive things I used to believe, and say, about some aspects of classical music, all based on a very much narrower experience than now.


    Topaz
    Last edited by Topaz; Dec-19-2006 at 14:14.

  13. #11
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    Oh dear, again its down to personal choice, I prefer Liszt to both Rachmaninov and Chopin, I have great difficulty with Rachmaninov, I do keep trying, but he just does not get me involved ,, so of the two would go for Chopin

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    The Rachmaninov Concertos are far superior, yet Chopin makes a piano sing and uses it to its optimum capabilities. That's why Chpin gets my vote. He is also a very versatile composer, being able to write in any mood, wheras Rachmaninov is stuck in some romantic fairytale! This is a essensial quality that all great composers must have.
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Also, the recapitulations of Chopin are absolute perfection, wheras Rachmaninov could have been more carefull in that department.
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    They're styles are too different. The Romantic essence of Chopin, oppose to the brooding melancholia of Rachmaninov.

    I'd say Chopin is ideal for solo piano, although I do not appreciate his concertos much.

  17. #15
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    If Rachmaninov had never lived or written music, the world would be short a few good tunes.

    If Chopin had never lived or written music, post-Chopin piano music history would have unfolded in a completely different way, such was his impact on piano music and "raising the bar" in terms of virtuosic demands on pianists.

    Along those lines, I voted for Chopin solely on account of his role in music history.

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