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Joined: Mar 2020
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And as an bonus question: which is harder technically: the Ossia Candenza vs chopin ballade 4 coda

I am inclined to go with the chopin for both of these, I think the technical challenges in Rach 3 are mainly in the 3rd movement, as an aside I know it is not productive to be comparing a mvmt from a piano concerto to a large scale solo piano romantic work, but I am just curious. Surely they both test different techniques, but parts of the chopin seem dreadfully difficult from a technical standpoint. Excluding the coda, the big textural transformation of the theme, fully orchestrated on the piano, with simultaneous voices and interweaving lines may be just about the most polyphonic section in a chopin piece, and it is deceptively tricky, not to mention the counterpoint sections.

With the Rach 3, you have the orchestra to rely on, and there are breaks in between the virtuosic sections. I think chopin ballade no 4 is harder but Im curious to hear your thoughts.

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Maybe I'm thinking this just because I don't play the Rachmaninoff and so I'm just not able to compare them that way, but.....

I wonder, what makes you want to compare them that way?

But, there's a related question that I do think I can more easily imagine why we might wonder, and which I can answer, which is, if someone can play one, could he also play the other? Or, if he can't play one, could he still play the other?

And I'm sure the answers to those are yes, and no.
They're both mega-challenging, and I think the capability for a given person to play either one is essentially the same as for the other.

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For comparison, I just sightread the first 24 measures of each, and can report that the Chopin is much harder.

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I don't think you can tell by that.

There have been lots of things that I couldn't really tell exactly how hard they were (or weren't) until I started working seriously on them.

.....and some passages, I couldn't even tell they were hard at all till I started really trying to play them.

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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I don't think you can tell by that.

There have been lots of things that I couldn't really tell exactly how hard they were (or weren't) until I started working seriously on them.

.....and some passages, I couldn't even tell they were hard at all till I started really trying to play them.
Oh, I just said that as a joke, since the opening bars of the "Rach 3" are so very simple compared to what follows. Should have included a smiley! smirk blush whistle

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The first movement of the Rach 3 is more manageable than it first appears but I still think it's much harder than the 4th ballade. Maybe easier to cover up some mistakes with the orchestra pounding away in the background but there are some passages that are just quite hard to find comfortable fingerings on in my experience. The coda of the ballade is I think comparable but at least it's over quickly instead of dragging on for 15 minutes smile

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Originally Posted by MathGuy
Originally Posted by Mark_C
I don't think you can tell by that.

There have been lots of things that I couldn't really tell exactly how hard they were (or weren't) until I started working seriously on them.

.....and some passages, I couldn't even tell they were hard at all till I started really trying to play them.
Oh, I just said that as a joke, since the opening bars of the "Rach 3" are so very simple compared to what follows. Should have included a smiley! smirk blush whistle
If you include a smiley it's kind of like a comic explaining the joke. Much better the way you did it.

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Both are Mounts Everest, but Chopin is without oxygen.


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Originally Posted by dolce sfogato
Both are Mounts Everest, but Chopin is without oxygen.
I'd use supplementary 'O's.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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Not having attempted the Rach, I guess I can't say for sure, but I would suppose that the Rach is much more difficult. I am starting to play around with the Chopin and while it is far from "easy", it doesn't seem impossible either.


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I have not played the Chopin, but the Ossia cadenza is not the most awkward or difficult part of the Rachmaninov, in my opinion. Getting the cadenza up to speed is difficult if you prefer a fast tempo, but it's also relatively straightforward.

Last edited by computerpro3; 05/09/21 03:54 PM.

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