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Madmen of the Piano

Balakirev Enlightened Comments! Thanks Madmen of the Piano Piano

Enlightened Comments! Thanks

Here’s another example of why I love to get comments: Because sometimes they are so enlightening! – the commenter really knows what they’re talking about. The same person who commented on the post:  “Better Brahms”-  had this to say about the first version of Balikirev’s Islamey (played by Paul Wee): About Islamey, it’s played too fast. The excesive tempo make confuse and without meaning the piece. And on the slow parts he/she fall into mannerisms and use excesive rubato “a la Chopin”.

Too fast indeed! With “mannerisms” too! The Wee version runs 8:02



So … I went “shopping” for a better version! I found this one by Lang Lang who is pretty well respected.(it runs 9:19) Much better methinks! Thanks again Sergei

Lang Lang_15_Balakirev Islamey (Oriental Fantasy)


NOTE: I originally posted this in “Madmen of the Piano” and mentioned how some consider it one of the hardest of all piano pieces to play

Balakirev Chopin Liszt Madmen of the Piano Piano Rachmaninoff

Madmen of the Piano

Madmen of the Piano (*and the piano’s supreme emotional power –  Inspired by, and dedicated to  Tam from Retravision in Byron Bay, because he just loves the wild piano stuff! )

Liszt, Chopin and Rachmaninoff

(*Yes indeed … there are lots of other ‘Madmen Pianists’ – but these guys take the cake)

I was thinking the other day – What instruments convey the most ‘intensity’? Drums? Electric guitar (ala Jimmy Hendrix!) … maybe the Sax? (John Coltrain)

For me it’s the piano. Done by the “Masters.”

Here are some intense pieces; some supremely difficult to play: Pieces that blend that ‘wild’ quality – with emotional glory!

Sorry Tam! I didn’t do what I originally intended; which was to introduce only the purely ‘berserk’ numbers. I know you love ‘em … but hey – I might lose listeners!

Dear listener – if these pieces move you, click on the Title on the right, “My Personal Bias” You’ll find gorgeous piano pieces without as much intensity.

Chopin Ballade #1


Rachmaninoff prelude in G Minor (played by “THE Piano man” – no .. not Billy Joel !! but The Big H – Horowitz)

Rachmaninoff prelude in g- minor Vladimir Horowitz-piano


Liszt erlkonig-op1


Chopin Fanstasie Impromptu in C sharp minor


Rachmaninoff preludes-no-10-in-b-minor-lento


Liszt hungarian rhapsody no-2


Here’s another one. This piece is often mentioned in the “hardest to play” category. It is surely “Intense”!

Islamey an Oriental Fantasy by Mily Balakirev. And here’s what a critic said:

Despite some dismissal that the work is merely a showpiece, Islamey has had a lasting impact on piano solo music; Ravel once remarked to a friend that his goal in writing Gaspard de la nuit was to compose a piece that was “more difficult than Balakirev’s Islamey.”

Balakirev Islamey (Oriental Fantasy)