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Thread: Piano Concertos Ranked by Difficulty

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammeredklavier View Post
    You don't understand piano-playing. We don't need your 2 cents lol.
    Without going into the subjective nature of such listings, it is interesting that difficulty in this list seems to be almost in inverse proportion to "musical worth" (in my subjective opinion.). You have the upper tier that's really of interest to piano nerds (again in my subjective opinion - but come on. Sorabji and Alkan?) and then on down the difficulty scale you come to works that are appreciated by a wider audience.

  2. #47
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    Fascinating thread. I have no competence to comment on the content of the posts, but it's an interesting topic, and the discussion is fascinating. Keep on disputing!
    Last edited by Eclectic Al; Apr-28-2020 at 20:32.

  3. #48
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Where does Tchaikovsky's Concert Fantasy in G fall on this list? Sounds to my ears like a monstrously difficult work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by collegefrosh View Post
    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!
    It is in the "extremely difficult" category so I don't see where your surprise comes from! The first movement is certainly technique heavy but quite pianistic, as long as you are up for it.

  5. #50
    Senior Member chu42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Where does Tchaikovsky's Concert Fantasy in G fall on this list? Sounds to my ears like a monstrously difficult work.
    Seems to me either to be in "extremely difficult" or the one below it

  6. #51
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    Interesting list.
    Maybe too much weight of rather obscure "contemporary" concertos in the first group that most people have only heard about but never listened to.
    Only three "real" repertoire works in the second group.
    I think you could add Mozart no 24, Gershwin's Second Rhapsody, Beethoven's Choral Fantasy, Dohnayi's Variations on a nursery tune, Messiaen's Turangila Symphony and a probably a dozen of romantic piano concertos that may, although forgotten, at least be as interesting as some of the newer stuff.

    If trying to be objective, my top 4 of hardest standard concertos would be:
    1. Rachmaninov 3
    2. Brahms 2
    3. Prokofiev 2
    4. Bartok 2

    Finally, the Schumann and Chopin 2nd are harder than one might think.

  7. #52
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    Default Most difficult piano concerto

    I’ve so enjoyed your list and all the subsequent reactions! It’s such fodder for passionate debate amongst lovers of the genre/pianists. What is evident, to my thoughts, is that the concept of “difficult” is so incredibly subjective and dependent on the criteria applied to the subject. We all read your list with very different eyes…as is clear from the discussions (the Mozarts being a clear illustration of this, as so often observed as being difficult in the sense of musicality). It seems redundant to make the observation that every pianist finds certain composers more comfortable/easier to play than others. Hence any list of this nature causing much heated and highly entertaining debate! For my part (as a failed musician/pianist, pretty good as a child/teenager but not good enough to pursue as a career, but a continued life long music devotee) I’m looking through the list based purely on my thoughts of technical difficulties alone. In my “heyday” I played the Schumann, Mendelssohn No.1, Beethoven 3 and a handful of Mozart’s…(badly admittedly!)…so the one placement that really screamed out to me, was the Prokofiev 1….easier than the Schumann?… as a huge teenage fan of Prokofiev, I had the scores of all 5 and remember only being able to play scattered pages, around the same time as learning the Schumann, which didn’t tax me too much. Just one thought. Many thanks again for creating this list…and also for including a few I’ve not heard before. I’m excited to look those up and get to know.

  8. #53
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    I love the Moszkowski 2 ( I presume you’re referring to the Op 59?)…I always think of it as being the result of the Grieg, Schumann and Mendelssohn 1, put into a blender. So many passages recall them throughout!…my only gripe with it is the 4th mvt’s main theme…it’s a tad Disney to my ears, though absolutely redeemed when it leads into the wonderfully Schumann-esque development! I always felt that he had either a conscious or subconscious leaning towards these works when writing it.

  9. #54
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    That's a very interesting list. I'll have to make an effort to listen to all the unfamiliar ones. Thanks for compiling it.

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    The Schoenberg Piano Concerto is supposed t be devilishly difficult, at least according to Mitsuko Uchida.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntone View Post
    The Schoenberg Piano Concerto is supposed t be devilishly difficult, at least according to Mitsuko Uchida.
    That one has long been one of my favorite works from the 20th century, as well as probably my favorite work of Schoenberg.

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