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Thread: Piano Concertos Ranked by Difficulty

  1. #31
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    I think my favorite "super difficult" concerto would have to be the Ginastera 1

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ajl0jpQvL6Q
    Last edited by chu42; Feb-24-2020 at 16:28.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    How are the MacDowell piano concerti? Not in difficulty, but quality. Worthy of a listen?
    Certainly the best American concerti until the 20th century! Very late-romantic in sound and technique.

    Melodically it's more like Brahms than anything we'd associate with America, but the orchestration is more...exotic
    Last edited by chu42; Feb-24-2020 at 16:29.

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  5. #33
    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chu42 View Post
    I think my favorite "super difficult" concerto would have to be the Ginastera 1

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ajl0jpQvL6Q
    wow, just started listening to this, liking it a lot, thanks chu42.

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  7. #34
    Senior Member Dimace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    David is an older guy, has been listening to classical music for decades, and has been a contributor here for the better part of a decade, and his avatar is a picture of Beethoven. He certainly knows that the Moonlight Sonata has three movements, and I'm sure he was factoring in all three when he wrote that. I initially read your post as very condescending but it appears your heart was in the right place.

    Anyway, I would like to echo his sentiment: the Moonlight Sonata doesn't provide any serious challenges of a virtuoso nature, in any of the three movements. It's fast, sure, but it's all scales and arpeggios. I'm sure I could learn it myself with my modest skills within the space of a few months.

    Also, on an unrelated note, I disagree with your flippant dismissal of the second movement, it's my favorite of the three!
    To the point! It is the best movement (and the most demanding) in this sonata.

    (Beethoven starts where the notes are ending. He has little to do with virtuosity, which, most of the times, is meaningless. I consider Liszt's and Rachmaninoff's concerts of medium difficulty in comparison to any of Beethoven's).

    (Very interesting list. Some works are unknown to me).
    „Es gibt drei Arten von Pianisten: jüdische Pianisten, homosexuelle Pianisten -- und schlechte Pianisten.“ V. Horowitz

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  9. #35
    Senior Member Sad Al's Avatar
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    Surely Bach D-minor concerto must be the most difficult because it is the best. (My 2 cents)

  10. #36
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sad Al View Post
    Surely Bach D-minor concerto must be the most difficult because it is the best. (My 2 cents)
    Bach never wrote a piano concerto, of course.

  11. #37
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Of the popular piano concertos the Rach 3 is considered formidable especially the alternative cadenza

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  13. #38
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    And the cadenza of no 1 is huge too


  14. #39
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimace View Post
    To the point! It is the best movement (and the most demanding) in this sonata.

    (Beethoven starts where the notes are ending. He has little to do with virtuosity, which, most of the times, is meaningless. I consider Liszt's and Rachmaninoff's concerts of medium difficulty in comparison to any of Beethoven's).

    (Very interesting list. Some works are unknown to me).
    I assume you play all four Rach concertos then? And the sonata 2? Interesting that the great pianist and teacher Gary Graffman described the Rach 3 as 'that old knuckle breaker!' No doubt a person of your virtuosity would disagree with him?
    Last edited by DavidA; Mar-17-2020 at 11:30.

  15. #40
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    The Ravel Left Hand always strikes me as difficult too. I note Yuja uses the music!
    Last edited by DavidA; Mar-17-2020 at 11:37.

  16. #41
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Just listened to this. Seems pretty tricky to me too. I would imagine it must rank among the most difficult of 'popular' piano concertos. Mind you, Miss Wang makes it appear pretty easy!
    Last edited by DavidA; Mar-20-2020 at 18:54.

  17. #42
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Well, I have put Rach 3 in the "Ridiculously Difficult" section, which is as far as it goes for standard concerti.

  18. #43
    Senior Member hammeredklavier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sad Al View Post
    Surely Bach D-minor concerto must be the most difficult because it is the best. (My 2 cents)
    You don't understand piano-playing. We don't need your 2 cents lol.

  19. #44
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    Having played a few of these, I want to throw in my thoughts.

    The biggest thing for me is that the Ravel left hand is really not that difficult. I learned the whole thing in about 2 months of light practice, on the side whilst learning some other repertoire. Perhaps that is just because I am very familiar with his playing style, having played Miroirs, Gaspard, Jeux D'eau and the trio already, but I think it should move down to difficult or maybe the very bottom of very difficult. The G major is also generally reputed as one of the easiest concerti among the pianists I talk with, though I have only ever sightread it. I would rank Saint-Saens 2 as harder than both of them.

    Also, Shostakovich 2 is a weird one. I have played it and accompanied a couple of people who played it, and it always ends up being weirdly more work than we expect. First movement, easy. Second, sightreadable. Third, easy at first... but then somehow it just takes forever to really polish those 6ths, 3rds and octaves. From a technical standpoint, I think it is harder than any mozart concerto, or at least the 7 I have played and accompanied. I also think that it's not a walk in the park, musically--it has to be legitimately quirky and fun, which not everyone can pull off!

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  21. #45
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    I'm surprised the Moszkowski is ranked so low. I played the saint-saens in high school and it is nowhere NEAR how tough Moszkowski is. The first movement alone seems to throw every technique in the book at you. Definitely an underrated concerto in my opinion!

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