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Piano Freaks Only!

Chopin Madmen of the piano redux Piano Piano Freaks Only!

Madmen of the piano redux

In an earlier posting titled “Madmen of the piano” I focused on composers. Here let’s focus on the pianists.

I’ve recently spent a lot of time updating my Chopin collection; seeking out the greatest pianists I can find.  The more I listen to these virtuosic dynamos … the more amazed I am that the human body can accomplish these feats. How can fingers move so rapidly? How can the rythym and timing of striking the right note go on and on … when it’s different between the two hands? – Sometimes a variable speed, rythm, reach and tone going on between the two hands. I don’t get it. I mean… they don’t all have a touch of Tourettes Syndrome do they!?

(*I remember reading that some Tourettes people have much faster reflexes and mechanical movements than normal)

Just listen to, and watch, what 10 fingers, 2 hands, 2 wrists and forearms can do!

(My vote for the “impossible” goes to Cziffra in the video)

Claudio Arrua plays Chopin’s Etude #1 op. 10

 

Georges Cziffra – Chopin Etude Op. 25 No. 2

 

Martha Argerich – Chopin prelude 16, op. 28

 

Vladimir Horowitz – Franz Liszt / Tarentella


You have to see this to believe it!


Beethoven Diabelli Opera/Vocal Piano Piano Freaks Only!

Piano Freaks Only!

UPDATE: As a result of the two comments above (thanks again Taneyev!) – I’ve replaced the “sleeping pianist”! with the master Maurizio Pollini

If you Google stuff like: Greatest Piano pieces or Greatest Piano Compositions; you’ll find a wealth of information. And you’ll almost always find in the list: Beethoven’s Variations on a theme by Diabelli. It’s a really strange story.

This guy Diabelli who wasn’t exactly a shining star in the composition world at the time! – Asked all the “Greats” of the day, to compose some variations on this roughly 1 minute piece. Then he would use the proceeds for charitable donations. (perhaps a forerunner of Bob Geldorf!?)

So what does Beethoven do? He composes 33 Variations on this piddly little theme! (*the critics evaluation of Diabelli’s initial effort range from praise, all the way to this trashing by critic William Kinderman, who says: “Banal, trite, a beer hall waltz”)

The full story is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabelli_

(AND you get to listen to bits of Beethoven’s Masterwork)

First we have the original piece by Diabelli, followed by Beethoven. I’ve only included 6 of the 33 variations he did. Afterall … how many “Piano Freaks” are there out there?!

Diabelli theme

 

Now … here’s what “The Man” – The Big B … did with them. NOTE: Some of the variations are often included in the most difficult to play categorie.

11-ludwig-van-beethoven-33-variationen-var-3-listesso-tempo

 

13-ludwig-van-beethoven-33-variationen-var-5-allegro-vivace

 

14-ludwig-van-beethoven-33-variationenvar-6-allegro-ma-non-troppo-e-serioso

 

29-ludwig-van-beethoven-33-variationenvar-21-allegro-con-brio-meno-allegro

 

32-ludwig-van-beethoven-33-variationen-var-24-fughetta-andante

 

40-ludwig-van-beethoven-33-variationen-var-32-fuga-allegro


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