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Thread: Most playable and enjoyable things by R. Schumann

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Default Most playable and enjoyable things by R. Schumann

    Apart from the Kinderszenen and the easier album for the young, which pieces by Schumann are the most playable and enjoyable?

    How are the Fantasiestucke op. 12 and op. 111? I like those from what I've heard, a lot.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    The op 12 are entirely "pianistic" -- i.e completely hand-friendly, readily readable.
    They are the only I've had direct experience with, I don't directly know and have never looked at Op. 111

    [[That said, there is always, for about any pianist, a particular configuration or harmonic vocabulary which is totally accessible to them while for another pianist of equal ability, the same piece(s) will lie outside their reflexes as to what they readily grasp, either reading, or in actually negotiating the keyboard. One pianist's direct in can be, for another equally competent player, a puzzle to read and finger-knotty. This has less to do with overall breadth of understanding and having covered various repertoire and all to do with more innate and varied thinking patterns, one individual to the next.
    ...which is why, FYI, this sort of question always irritates me, and why FYI, the only wholly appropriate answer is to advocate your reading them through and seeing what you find them to be, for you, as an individual pianist.]]

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    Senior Member Novelette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    Apart from the Kinderszenen and the easier album for the young, which pieces by Schumann are the most playable and enjoyable?

    How are the Fantasiestucke op. 12 and op. 111? I like those from what I've heard, a lot.
    I love playing Schumann: Gesange Der Fruhe, Op. 133.

    The first movement alone: not necessarily difficult but contains a few wide spans. Touchingly beautiful, in my opinion. The third movement is a lot of fun to play, though I tend to play it more slowly than I probably should. The fourth movement is a bit repetitive, but still nice. Etc., etc.

    Schumann's piano music is usually quite difficult: thick textures, huge leaps, massive spans, etc.

    The Op. 12 would be a great set to take up, likewise with Op. 111: Hreichgott plays these works.

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    Senior Member Il_Penseroso's Avatar
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    If you're looking for some easy or better to say not very difficult to play, I'd recommend Albumblätter Op.124: 20 short pieces from different years of Schumann's life. The work is also recorded by various pianists. I have Jörg Demus, good rendition. You may find the collection very enjoyable and in some cases not as easy as it seems on the paper.

    Anyway for me Kreisleriana Op.16 is Schumann's greatest work for piano, such a masterwork!
    Tutto nel mondo è burla

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    Senior Member hreichgott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Novelette View Post
    The Op. 12 would be a great set to take up, likewise with Op. 111: Hreichgott plays these works.
    Just Op. 12 for now but thanks
    I do adore them -- they are so gorgeous and full of character, and not as hard as they sound. No. 2 "Aufschwung" is great if you need a Big Stormy Loud Thing that isn't overly difficult. But FYI Op. 12 no. 5 "In der Nacht" has taken me as long as Op. 12 no. 1, no. 2, no. 3 and no. 4 put together. My teacher says "Traumes-Wirren" is of similar difficulty as "In der Nacht".

    Maybe 40% of the difficulty is in the notes themselves, the other 60% in the details -- exact phrasing and articulation make a big difference in how these sound. I could play them decently after that first 40% of the work, but the other 60% is important.

    Papillons and Abegg Variations were suggested to me as equivalent or easier than Op. 12.

    Carnaval is REALLY FUN to listen to, no idea about difficulty though (does anyone have an idea?)
    Last edited by hreichgott; Jul-06-2013 at 22:14.
    Heather W. Reichgott, piano
    http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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    Senior Member Ravndal's Avatar
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    I bet it's quite difficult to play trough Carnaval. Every piece is so unique, and so different in a way. Some of them is highly technical as well.

    Anyone here played Variations on a theme of Beethoven, WoO 31?
    "That as s."

    - Mark Twain

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hreichgott View Post
    [...]
    Carnaval is REALLY FUN to listen to, no idea about difficulty though (does anyone have an idea?)
    I obviously have no idea how hard it is to play. Going by the recordings I have heard, it ain't real easy to express. You know there are shadows, pale shadows... how 'visible' do you make them, and by what means?
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member Klavierspieler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hreichgott View Post
    Carnaval is REALLY FUN to listen to, no idea about difficulty though (does anyone have an idea?)
    I'm not sure, but I seem to remember hearing that it was considered nearly unplayable in its time.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klavierspieler View Post
    I'm not sure, but I seem to remember hearing that it was considered nearly unplayable in its time.
    Carnaval is difficult, some 'symphonic' writing, counter-intuitive as 'piano music,' and here is the big thing, (literally big thing / big deal): any of the larger sets of variations in the repertoire take at least the same mental and physical stamina as a 'healthy' concerto at the least.

    In a concerto, one is usually dealt a number of configurations, a unity of thematic material, regardless of development. A set of variations are a series of shorter pieces, often requiring a huge shift of skill-set in negotiating the keyboard as well as a psychic shift of mood of the material from one variation to the next -- add to that the "prima assoluta" of getting the tempi of each just so that the entire set of variations as one work keeps up its overall momentuum.

    To sustain all that, now that I have written it out, is I think a greater test of musical concentration and sheer physical endurance (Stamina, Stamina, Stamina) than is demanded of the player when performing most concerti.
    Last edited by PetrB; Jul-07-2013 at 17:23.

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    Senior Member Novelette's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    Carnaval is difficult, some 'symphonic' writing, counter-intuitive as 'piano music,'[...]
    Often very difficult, if I may say so. The Paganini section is tricky, I've worked on it a few times before, but a candid realism quickly convinced me that I'm not prepared enough to play this... Yet.

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    If you're looking for some easy or better to say not very difficult to play, I'd recommend Albumblätter Op.124: 20 short pieces from different years of Schumann's life. The work is also recorded by various pianists. I have Jörg Demus, good rendition. You may find the collection very enjoyable and in some cases not as easy as it seems on the paper.
    I definitely agree with this. Albumblätter is among my favourite Schumann works. I also recommend Bunte Blätter, opus 99. It's very similar : a set of miniatures, not very difficult, very poetical. I have both performed by Denes Varjon (Naxos). Here's an excerpt :


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