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)

  • admin
    December 3, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Thanks Taneyev. Your comment caused me to look for another version and now I know much closer as to how this piece should sound!
    (see the post “Enlightened Comments”

  • Taneyev
    December 2, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    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”.

  • Jim
    December 16, 2008 at 7:03 am

    Well I certainly think so!!!


  • Alex
    August 18, 2008 at 4:05 am

    Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!