Thank you to those who donated to Piano Society in 2017.

Conquering Beethoven, One step at a time

Discussion in 'Repertoire' started by Caters, Aug 1, 2019.

  1. Caters

    Caters New Member Trusted Member

    Jan 29, 2018
    Likes Received:
    Last Name:
    First Name:
    I am a very advanced pianist if you don't know already. I have decided that on some days, I will play the most challenging piece by Beethoven that I know of. It will only be on some days because the first movement alone is exhausting even when played slow. No, it isn't a sonata. No, it isn't a concerto either. Let me give you a hint. It is a transcription of one of the most well known pieces. Got it yet? No? Well this will give it away:

    Ba Ba Ba Bum, Ba Ba Ba Bum

    That's right, I'm tackling Beethoven's fifth symphony. Specifically, the Liszt transcription.

    Here is the PDF of the transcription I am learning:

    I played the first movement of it yesterday hands separate, and believe me, it is hard. Way harder than the Pathetique Sonata hard. But since when has a hard piece stopped me from learning it? Never.

    In a way, the left hand is much easier in the first movement. Sure, it is almost all in octaves. But there are a lot of long notes, unlike with the right hand. Even when I play it very slowly, my fourth and fifth fingers of my right hand get quite tense. And it is hard to find a place to release that tension because there are way fewer rests and long notes than there are for the left hand.

    In the places where a 10th or larger interval is written, in the left hand, I simply double the bass note which happens to get my left hand into comfortable octave position every time. For the right hand, I still need to figure things out. Some of the diminished 7th chords are pretty uncomfortable as well, especially those that have the root doubled an octave higher. So I omit one of the notes, specifically the seventh.

    Do you have any suggestions for finding a place to release the tension? Because my first go at it, looking for rests hasn't really helped, at least not for the right hand. For the left hand though, that combined with the long notes seems to work to release the tension. But the right hand has way more short notes and fewer rests than the left hand(that is to say, it is almost constant eighth notes).

Share This Page