Least favorite pieces - Make your confessions here...

Discuss the piano literature and how to teach and learn it

Postby presto » Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:27 pm

There is already a topic about favorite pieces of music, which we all have, but I'm willing to bet that most people know of at least one piece of music that they DO NOT like.
Maybe the piece doesn't seem to make much sense at all (I certainly know of some that fit into this group), maybe it feels impossible ever to be able to play, or maybe the music is simply not pleasing to your ears.
Personally, I can't think of any particular title right now, but sometimes, when I'm perusing through a big book of sonatas, mazurkas, or such, just trying out a few measures to see what the pieces sound like, I often come across many that sound pretty dull, and a few that sound good.
Anyhow, this is the place to make your own confessions. I'm very curious to find out the results! ???




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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Fri Jun 03, 2005 8:24 am

This is a great topic, presto. I don't know why it didn't occur to me. I would hope that people will respond to it, not only with a listing of works, but also with some indication of why they don't like the works they list. That way, if the problem is technical in nature, perhaps they can get help here from those who have mastered that work or, at least, a better appreciation for it. :)
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Postby Beckywy » Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:03 pm

Not least favourite work, but least favourite genre - the French impression music - Debussy, Ravel, - doesn't have a point to it, but endless melody to me - no climax, complicated voicing...sounds like fuzzy water.
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Postby Stretto » Mon Jun 06, 2005 9:52 am

I can relate to thumbing through books and trying the pieces out while finding a few that catch my interest. Most of the works I have really enjoyed are the one's I chose after hearing them somewhere. I have learned to 'appreciate' a lot of works after understanding the general history and events of the time, the history behind the piece and composer, the form, and theoretical aspects of the piece. Relating the history of art during the same time frame as the musical work has helped me understand a work better as well.

I was assigned a Clementi Rondo once in college I really disliked. My instructor said that it's good to be able to perform pieces that one doesn't like and I really appreciate him pointing that out to me. I didn't like the piece because it starts out with a nice 'tuneful' section and then goes into passages that are as if they are pulled straight out of a technical excercise book. It seems to go back and forth between 'tuneful' and 'technical'. I don't care for pieces that use a lot of scale or excercise-like passages. Perhaps I'm lacking the knowledge as to why they are utilized.
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Postby pianoannie » Mon Jun 06, 2005 10:25 pm

Beckywy wrote:Not least favourite work, but least favourite genre - the French impression music - Debussy, Ravel, - doesn't have a point to it, but endless melody to me - no climax, complicated voicing...sounds like fuzzy water.

Fuzzy water!! Ha-ha! I've never heard it described that way before. Actually I love Debussy (well, not all of his works) and impressionistic music in general. I think I like that it is unpredictable and relaxing, and has such unique harmonies.

What I don't like: most of Bartok. It just sounds ugly to me.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Jun 07, 2005 3:19 pm

I would like to mount my rickety soap box and answer both Becky and PianoAnnie.

One of the commonest misconceptions in all music is the notion that Debussy always sounds like the piano is immersed in 30 feet of water. Aw, c'mon, guys, just how much of his stuff have you heard? Did you just listen to "Reflets dans l'eau" and then quit? Do me a favor and listen to these:

Isle of Joy
Fireworks and General Levine-Eccentric, from the Preludes.
Arabesque No. 2 in G
Danse
Pour le Piano Suite

And--non-piano--String Quartet, "Fetes" from Three Nocturnes for Orchestra, etc. etc. As for Ravel: the notion that he was primarily an "impressionist" (Debussy hated that word, by the way) is long obsolete. He used the genre, sure, in "Fountains" and "Miroirs", but how about the Sonatine (neo-classic all the way, with a terrific Finale)? Or Tombeau de Couperin, especially the Rigaudon and Toccata? Does the Bolero sound fuzzy to you?

I don't think you would want to judge Beethoven solely from the Minuet in G and Fuer Elise, or Bach from only the Anna Magdalena book, would you? They would come out as pretty insipid. Bartok? Yeah, it's hard to get used to a lot of the Hungarian scales and harmonies at first, but for some gorgeous music, try the Third Piano Concerto and the Concerto for Orchestra. His 'primitivism' period was mostly early stuff.

My own personal dislike is anything by Jane Smisor Bastien.

(....deep breath, end of indignant diatribe).

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Postby presto » Sun Jun 12, 2005 11:18 pm

Thanks for the compliment, Dr. Zeigler. :) It is an interesting topic, isn't it? I don't know why, but I find it funny somehow that we are who are supposed to be great music lovers have pieces that we don't like. Obviously not all musicians like every piece ever written, but the suprising part is when it turns out there are pieces by some of the established master-composers to which we don't take much of a liking. It's almost embarrassing to admit but it's true, and quite natural, I suppose, given our individual preferences and tastes. Oh, well!
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Postby Beckywy » Mon Jun 13, 2005 5:49 pm

Yes, this is a hard topic to post too, because anyone who posts a dislike to any piece or composer, would offend another who do prefer them.
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Postby K Green » Fri Jul 22, 2005 7:50 pm

Dr. Bill Leland wrote:And--non-piano--String Quartet, "Fetes" from Three Nocturnes for Orchestra, etc. etc. As for Ravel: the notion that he was primarily an "impressionist" (Debussy hated that word, by the way) is long obsolete. He used the genre, sure, in "Fountains" and "Miroirs", but how about the Sonatine (neo-classic all the way, with a terrific Finale)? Or Tombeau de Couperin, especially the Rigaudon and Toccata? Does the Bolero sound fuzzy to you?

Thanks, Dr. Leland. I totally agree...and I wanted to add one of my all-time favorite movements in music, the slow movement of the Ravel G major piano concerto. GORGEOUS.

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Postby Dan » Mon Jul 30, 2007 11:07 am

This is my first day on the forum so i'm making lots of posts, forgive me! I find this thread fascinating. When doing a royal conservatory exam you have to choose from separate lists of pieces: list A (baroque), list B (classical), list c (romantic) and list d (modern era). I have no problem choosing pieces i like in any list EXCEPT B. the ONLY piece i've ever tackled from list B that i've liked has been the Mozart K545 sonata in C. and that's because, well, it's mozart, and everybody recognizes mvmt 1 from Bugs bunny! All the rest: clementi, diabelli, kuhlau, etc sounds tralala to me. I have the HARDEST TIME finding pieces from this list that I like. I particularly dislike those pieces with LH running triplet accompaniment under little RH melodies...bluck.
I have to admit, though, i have never played any haydn. they look really tough.
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Postby Stretto » Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:31 pm

Don't worry about a bunch of posts all at once. I did the same thing when I first found the forums!

This thread could use some more posts as there's got to be a lot of pieces others find they don't like. It's a great topic.

While we're on the subject, I noticed I never mentioned it before on this thread, but I'll have to say at least when it comes to classical piano literature although I do really like classical music, there are more pieces I dislike or feel that are "so, so" than those that I do like. Perhaps I'm too particular.

On Haydn, since you mentioned it, I just realized I have hardly played any Haydn. The only piece I've done is Haydn Sonata in D Maj., Finale. Compared to others pieces you've mentioned you've played, it should not be real difficult but it seemed fairly nice and fun to play. Of course, everyone's different in musical taste.

Since the thread came up, I just thought of a "dislike" in pieces, (sorry to any of you out there who like it): Schumann's Scenes From Childhood. I dislike these and cringe when I hear them mentioned a lot as suggested to learn. They are o.k., I suppose. I do like some other Schumann music that I have heard, however.

Has anyone ever had to learn a piece they couldn't stand and then it set you against that composer for good? For example, I mentioned the Clementi Sonata I didn't like. It sort of gives me negative thoughts to here the name Clementi just because of that one piece, although I do like some of Clementi, just that one bad experience with one piece sort of casts a negative thought in any other Clementi pieces I look at. :D




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Postby Stretto » Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:36 pm

p.s.

Dr. Zeigler,
I didn't see where you have posted least favorite pieces of piano repertoire. Surely you have some least favorites ??? .

and
Dr. Leland,
You must have some others besides the Jane Smisor Bastien you can think of? ???

I'd be interested to hear lists of least favorites.




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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:19 pm

Stretto wrote:p.s.

Dr. Zeigler,
I didn't see where you have posted least favorite pieces of piano repertoire. Surely you have some least favorites ??? .

As I've become more familiar with the literature over the years, I've realized that familiarity does not breed contempt, but respect and, even, appreciation. Works that I used to dislike are now among my favorites. Thus, I would say that there are works with which I'm less familiar and some works that I'm very knowledgeable about and like more.

Also, of course, it depends to a great extent on the performance. If the performer's conception differs too much with my conception of the work, I'm less pleased with that performance, at least until I've had time to think about it.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:35 pm

Dan, do me a favor and try Mozart's C Minor Fantasia or the Sonata in A Minor, K. 310--both deeply emotional pieces. Or listen to the Requiem, the 40th Symphony, or the opera "Don Giovanni".

What about Beethoven? Everybody knows the "Pathetique" Sonata--nothing tinkly there. And the first movement of the "Moonlight", despite that insipid title that Beethoven never gave it, is quietly tragic, while the last movement is a thunderstorm. Please don't judge a whole era by a few pieces!

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Postby Dan » Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:07 am

Dr. bill: Oh, I'm not! I'm only commenting on the repertoire choices for that time period in the RCM rep. books. I love listening to classical period works.
BTW, I LOVE playing the first mvmt of the "Moonlight" although i'm afraid i don't play it very well. I was terribly excited the day i opened the music for the first time, and realized i could actually read it and learn it! There's a great scene in "Immortal Beloved" where Beethoven, knowing he is going deaf and that nobody is watching him, lays his ear down on the piano top and plays this piece. I love that scene, rips your heart out.
Question: how difficult is the K. 310? the K. 545 took me to the limit, and the first mvmt is still shaky!
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