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Thread: Famous Learning Speeds

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    Default Famous Learning Speeds

    I can think of a few examples of famous pianists who would learn a complex piece in one sitting or just look at a score and be able to play it from memory, but are there any renowned players who were known to labour over learning works?

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    I've heard Curzon labor a time or two...
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    Horowitz once said that he had a conversation with Rachmaninov, in which Rachmaninov told him that when he couldn't learn some virtuoso piece in one evening, that he would doubt his own technical prowess.
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    Senior Member Webernite's Avatar
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    Josef Hofmann was dyslexic and rarely learned new works after his early 20s.

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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    I'll bet a fair number of famous performers have struggled committing certain complex pieces to memory... but its not something most will talk about much, as opposed to those who memorize certain things quickly. When I talked to GFA winning guitarist Jerome Ducharme around a year ago, he said the pieces he was currently learning (I forget what they were) were the first pieces he had come across in his life that he was struggling to retain in his memory. Member Ravellian has expressed difficulty memorizing a Prokofiev Concerto and a Scriabin Sonata. At this stage it usually takes me a solid month at least to completely memorize a 'virtuoso piece' of any substantial length. Though certain pieces I have memorized much faster. (I suspect that when I was younger my memory was better).

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    Senior Member Air's Avatar
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    Wasn't there a famous anecdote of Martha Argerich learning either Prok 3 or Rach 3 in a day or a week? Forgot which one though, and exactly how long.

    Either way, I'd say that's a pretty fast learning curve, considering how darn difficult these two concerti are.
    Last edited by Air; Oct-09-2011 at 21:50.
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