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10 most difficult pieces for piano

You were given a life sentence and there is only a piano in the cell? Then we have something for you… from Liszt to Scriabin-10 of the most technically complex works ever written for the piano.

1.Franz Liszt-La Companella

The work La Campanella, which means “bell” in Italian, is a piano transcription of the eponymous violin piece by Niccolo Paganini. The etude is considered one of the most complex compositions ever written for the piano. The “Campanella” texture includes huge jumps in the left hand, while the right hand gets complex passages at a very fast pace.

In this video, the virtuoso pianist lang lang plays this piece as easily as if it is not much more complicated than the “Dance of little ducklings”.

Maurice Ravel — “Gaspard of the Night” (“Night vision»)
When Ravel was working on the Gaspard de la Nuit Suite, he deliberately wanted to make it the most technically difficult piece of the piano repertoire. He said that when writing, he focused on Balakirev’s” Islamey”, wanting to surpass it in complexity. One of the leading pianists said that playing this piece “is like solving infinite square equations in my head.”

Will Kaikhosru Sorabjee — Opus Сlavicembalisticum
It is even more difficult to play this work than to pronounce its name. Opus Clavicembalisticum consists of 12 actions with a total duration of more than 4 hours. The composer himself described his work as follows: “the Last 4 pages are as disastrous as anything I’ve ever done — harmony stings like nitric acid, and counterpoint grinds like the mills of God.”

Conlon Nancarrow — ” Studies for mechanical piano»
The works of American composer Conlon Nancarrow for mechanical piano are among the most deliberately complex, insane pieces of music in the piano repertoire. They are designed to be played on a mechanical instrument, not performed by live pianists. But that doesn’t mean that no one tried…

Fryderyk Chopin-Etude Op. 10 No. Four
Unlike Chopin’s gentle Nocturnes, this etude does not leave the pianist a chance to rest. Marked presto con fuoco (fast, with heat), it requires an extremely fast pace and constant mobility in both hands.

Daria, Jam’s cool piano teacher:

“The most difficult part of performing this piece for me was the Coda, after which there is a crazy passage all over the keyboard up and then down. By the end of the work, you are usually exhausted, and here the climax falls on the last page. And, of course, like any etude, No. 4 took a lot of time to develop the necessary technical skills.”

Charles Valentin Alkan-Concerto for solo piano
Alkan’s concert is rarely played live, and there are good reasons for this. An epic 50-minute job requires unprecedented technique and physical endurance. Alkan’s melodies are not as pleasant and memorable as those of Chopin or Liszt, but he certainly knows how to best demonstrate virtuoso technique.

Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin – Sonata for piano No. 5
Alexander Scriabin’s fifth Sonata maximizes the technical capabilities of both hands, but the main burden falls on the pianist’s brain. The Sonata was received with bewilderment by many contemporaries. For some of them, it became the point at which they refused to accept the composer’s work.

Igor Stravinsky — 3 fragments from “Petrushka” for piano
3 fragments from “Parsley” are called one of the most complex piano compositions. All parts include numerous glissandos, tremolos, and quick shifts through 2 octaves. As they say, the work is not for the faint-hearted.

Sergei Prokofiev-Concerto No. 2 for piano
The second piano Concerto is Prokofiev’s most dramatic work. Of particular difficulty is the cadence of the first movement, which consists of three stanzas and requires the pianist to make frequent and wide jumps with both hands. And Yes, it lasts as long as 5 minutes, followed by 2 more tense parts.

Gyorgy Ligeti — ” the devil’s Ladder»
Well, what is the list of the most difficult works for piano without Ligeti? The etudes of this Hungarian composer frighten novice pianists. The devil’s Ladder is particularly terrifying, and not because of the name. The work is a masterpiece of dynamics that develops from pianissimo to 8(!) forte.

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