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Old 03-11-2015, 05:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default most difficult piano piece/greatest pianist?

What do most pianists consider the most celebrated difficult classical piece of all time, and who do you consider the greatest pianist? My personal favorite is Evgeny Kissin playing Rachmaninov piano concerto 2, but I am sure many would disagree.
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What do most pianists consider the most celebrated difficult classical piece of all time, and who do you consider the greatest pianist? My personal favorite is Evgeny Kissin playing Rachmaninov piano concerto 2, but I am sure many would disagree.
Definitely a very difficult piece.
There is a host of very difficult piano literature, too many to name. It is somewhat subjective, but makes for a fun discussion. Here are a few that are technically difficult.

Chopin's E-Minor Prelude
Foo Follets by Liszt
Prokofiev's 8th sonata

Pianists: Historical - Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Pederwaski 20th century: Vladimir Horowitz, Richter, Marguerite Long. Current: Lang Lang, Kissin, Ashkanazy, Helene Grimaud, Krystian Zimerman

Last edited by ejw; 03-12-2015 at 02:12 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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lisztomaniac,
Are you a pianist by chance? This could be a fun thread if more would be involved. I play piano, though I am more accomplished on the organ and play harpsichord as well.
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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As for pianist, I'd go with Marc-André Hamelin.
As for piece, pick one from his "12 Études", perhaps "Triple Étude, after Chopin" or "Étude à mouvement perpétuellement semblable, after Alkan".

But I'm no pianist, so my opinion is irrelevant.
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Old 03-12-2015, 02:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I honestly have no idea about the most difficult piece--nowhere near that level yet--but Glenn Gould is certainly one of the greatest pianists.

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Old 03-12-2015, 03:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm no pianist, so my knowledge of the repertoire is limited, but as far as that knowledge does go, I've read that many of Ligeti's etudes are notoriously difficult to play because of his love for writing complicated polymeter. I've never found a performance of L'escalier du Diable on YouTube that sounds fully right. My first exposure to the Ligeti etudes was through the Aimard recordings, so that might skew my perspective a bit.
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Old 03-13-2015, 06:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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As for pianist, I'd go with Marc-André Hamelin.
As for piece, pick one from his "12 Études", perhaps "Triple Étude, after Chopin" or "Étude à mouvement perpétuellement semblable, after Alkan".

But I'm no pianist, so my opinion is irrelevant.
Hamelin playing Alkan.



Beautiful composition, too.

Speaking of Marc-André Hamelin, Circus Galop would be up there if it was written for people to play.

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Old 03-16-2015, 02:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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lisztomaniac,
Are you a pianist by chance? This could be a fun thread if more would be involved. I play piano, though I am more accomplished on the organ and play harpsichord as well.
Hi ejw, I am not a pianist (no technical music talents whatsoever) but I am a piano fanatic--it's my favorite instrument. Unfortunately I don't have the savvy to distinguish between grades of very difficult pieces but I appreciate the craft a lot.
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You appreciate and recognize good piano music and love the piano, you are more musically savvy then you think. Do you happen to enjoy organ and harpsichord as well?
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Old 03-19-2015, 12:54 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I honestly have no idea about the most difficult piece--nowhere near that level yet--but Glenn Gould is certainly one of the greatest pianists.

I agree, Gould was a fine pianist. He was also accomplished as an organist.
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