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Thread: Etudes? Impossible works

  1. #1
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    I saws this thread on 8notes.com recently and it makes me wonder about 1 thing.

    Ok first off I just want to say that these etudes are definitely on the top for skill rating. Secondly I want to know out of curiosity if anyone can play the etudes "Wilde Jagd" and "Feux Follets". Seriously if you can play these, then ur either lying or ur a god.
    Virtuosity is sometimes really essential in works, as a means to convey the profoundness and complex emotions of the piece.
    But lets get real... with music such as the Feux Follets... I'm assessing that only 1% of the total piano playing population in this world will manage to pull it off. Or even less than that.
    Than if that's the case, why write such difficult stuff in the first place?
    Imagine that, a work that only few people will ever get the privelege to play in the world...
    Does that make the work more valuable? :blink: And as I'm seeing it now... lesser and lesser people are churning out recordings of these complete bizzare studies... Liszt or Chopin or whosoever.
    If I didn't remember wrongly, Ashkenazy was the last to ever make a complete recording of it.
    So, in the long run... (jokingly )nobody will play these pieces anymore ( But seriously speaking, the playing standard of today has dropped tremendously as compared to yester-years...The greatest pianists don't come from this century, so do the teachers.)
    Man! Should we ever entertain such impossible works? And should people write difficult stuffs like these in the first place?
    I'm supposed to say 'NO!' , but the temptation of conquering a 'problematic' work as Feux is all too tempting to me.

    What do u think? U think Music ought to be difficult to be profound? And would u actually stick it out and sweat through the piece? And with that, you'll probably waste 1 whole year just trying to get the notes rolling( when u can do a whole lot more...this's the whole real truth. ) Or would u even not bother to look at the score? :blink:

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    Feux Follets is hard? I guess you've never seen a score of a piano work by Sorabji. Or Roslavets.

    It's known that when Marc-André Hamelin saw a page of a work by Roslavets said "Oh, My God".

    That must be a hard work to pull off.

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    Senior Member Hexameron's Avatar
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    Manuel, do you realize you're replying to a thread over two years old?

    While we're on this, though, DW's original post is fraught with overstatements and exaggerations. Any professional pianist nowadays can play Feux Follets. How well they play is a different subject. If they really wanted to they could play any piano work from Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov etc. It's much more accurate to say, though, that 1% of the population will be able (or would want) to play Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum or Alkan's entire Op. 39 or Busoni's Piano Concerto.

    Although I think difficulty is relative, since Mozart can be the most difficult for even the great pianists, I would say that difficulty can indeed make a piece more profound. However, I would further add that this is only possible in the right hands. Some composers write for the sake of virtuosity. I won't name names *cough* Scriabin *cough*. But I think a good composer can enrich the profundity of a piece with virtuosic and technically demanding sections, as long as the ideas are for the sake of the music and expression. Liszt's Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H is a pianistic nightmare but its effect is all the greater because of the menacing polyphonic clashes and torrential wide leaps of octaves that are employed. I believe this work is "profound" and yet if it was in a completely fixed dynamic and at a slower speed, the depth would be lost. Just as a Chopin nocturne needs rubato and lyricism, this Liszt piece needs the virtuosity in order to thrive and speak.
    Last edited by Hexameron; Feb-03-2007 at 00:12.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hexameron View Post
    Manuel, do you realize you're replying to a thread over two years old?
    I'm new here and was lurking. Sorry.

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manuel View Post
    Feux Follets is hard? I guess you've never seen a score of a piano work by Sorabji. Or Roslavets.

    It's known that when Marc-André Hamelin saw a page of a work by Roslavets said "Oh, My God".

    That must be a hard work to pull off.
    It isn't that Feux Follets is particularly hard note-wise but control is, bearing in mind you should only use the pedal with great care. It's all even lightness, difficult to bring off seamlessly, especially the arpeggios in the closing bars. What's also difficult is, like much of Liszt's music, it has to be played as if it takes no effort at all.

    I've only learned three of those studies - Feux Follets because it is. Ricordanza for the extreme evenness and lightness of the right hand, and could play #11 reasonably well. I practiced (rather than played) the H-moll Sonata for endurance and fast octaves.

    I appreciate that being able to play extremely difficult things would appeal to the pianist-warrior mentality! but I look on these studies as a means to an end, though you do end up with a few repertoire pieces, obviously!

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    Manuel, no need to apologize. It's an interesting topic and as far as I know there's no time limit on replies

    It's an interesting notion. I'm reminded that Paganini was the only person who could play many of his works when he first wrote them. Now many accomplished violinists play them routinely. But the original post specifically mentioned etudes. Since these are studies isn't their playability and virtuosity second to the composer's intent which I assume is to make a study of a particular melody/key etc?

    I'm not a musician so I probably shouldn't even be replying

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    Since these are studies isn't their playability and virtuosity second to the composer's intent which I assume is to make a study of a particular melody/key etc?
    Etudes are not planed to develop virtuosity only. Many of them are desserve great attention as mere music works also, and when I say this I'm thinking in pieces like Chopin's Op.10 Nº 3. It's not only finger dexterity what you need to face those works and succeed, but also a great dose of musicality.

    I just don't seem to enjoy virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity. To the point that when I played Czerny (et al.), after the technical matter had been solved, I put my effort in making enough expressive inflections to make those pieces not only harder, but also more beautiful.

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    In honor of Lisztfreak I'll post a gem from Sorabji's oeuvre:

    http://imslp.org/wiki/Sonata_No._1_%...ru_Shapurji%29


    Regards!


    Giovanni

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    Yes. I think I'll give that one a miss! It's as "bad" as some of Stockhausen's Klavierstucke. It has one good point though - if you play a duff note in a Chopin study, people will notice it. If you made a mistake in this piece, would a listener notice?

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    Senior Member oisfetz's Avatar
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    Exactly Frasier; tht's the beauty of modern music. As a player,you can play absolutely
    what you want or liked to you at the moment, and hell with scores. Nobody will notice.
    And there's no more wrong notes. All are wrong.

  11. #11
    Member Azathoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oisfetz View Post
    Exactly Frasier; tht's the beauty of modern music. As a player,you can play absolutely
    what you want or liked to you at the moment, and hell with scores. Nobody will notice.
    And there's no more wrong notes. All are wrong.
    Ouch...y'know, it's not all bad.
    Weep not for little Leonie,
    Abducted by a French marquis!
    Though loss of honor was a wrench
    Just think how it's improved her French.

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    Well... some performers prize virtuosity over musicality =/ but there are some reeeally hard pieces that arre emotionally deep and touching.. for example, Liszt's Mazeppa (flying hands, anyone?), Rachmaninov's piano concertos (the cadenzas are sooo "easy" to play ) and actually ome of Scriabin's works are quite nice too. Oh and I nearly forgot-- Chopin's etudes are wonderful stuff as well.

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