Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2
Urtext Edition, paperbound
Pages: 35 (VII, 24, 4), Size 23,5 x 31,0 cm
Order no. HN 803 · ISMN 979-0-2018-0803-1
Level of difficulty (Piano): difficult (Level 8)
We have begun with numbers 2 and 6: in the coming years we will be producing editions of all of Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsodies”, brilliant pianistic excesses and a favourite with all virtuosos. Hungarian folk music was a source of inspiration for Liszt throughout his life. The best known example is the “Rhapsodies hongroises” for piano, which made the charac-teristic syncopated rhythms of the puszta melodies and the fiery temperament of the czardas famous throughout the world. The popularity of these very demanding showpieces for the piano is shown by the countless arrangements which even include transcriptions for orchestra.
Again, Henle’s preface is most informative, entertainingly reproducing both a complaint from pianist Heinrich Ehrlich (that Liszt had pinched his tunes) and Liszt’s subsequent disclaimer. The text itself adds several cadenzas Liszt later scribbled out for pubils Antonia Raab and Lina Schmalhausen – the first, although very short, manages to be tiresome but the others are fascinating options for pianists wanting even more notes to play.
[Music Teacher, 2006]
This edition brings some amazing revelations, including a dozen new passages that Liszt added to the piece, presented in a single edition for the first time. It includes fingerings that are both recreational and also practical, wonderful notes and well-written, inspiring commentaries. A real treasure trove of inspiration that makes one totally rethink the piece. But there’s no spoon-feeding – the edition leaves room for originality.
[International Piano 2006, Awards 2006, Best Sheet Music, New Edition]
Finally, tremendous gratitude and thanks to Herttrich again for an absolutely inspirational new Liszt second Hungarian Rhapsody, complete with a pull-out insert that presents fascinating extensions to various fermatas in the work which Liszt sketched for various pupils. … Even if students decide to ignore the many suggestions for extended passagework in this edition, they will unquestionably find the revelatory fingerings by Andreas Groethuysen extremely helpful. … Moreover, the beautiful layout, and the fascinating but unobtrusive footnotes, make study here a complete pleasure. Strongly recommended.
[International Piano, 2006]
Eigentlich kaum zu glauben, dass Listzts “Ungarische Rhapsodien”, diese genialen Klavierexzesse und Lieblinge jedes Virtuosen, bislang noch in keiner ordentlichen Urtext-Ausgabe zu haben waren. Henle macht nun mit den Nummern 2 und 6 den Anfang.
[Piano News, 2006]
De nieuwe Urtext van Henle biedt niet alleen een uiterst overzichtelijke bladspiegel voor deze Olympus der virtuositeit, maar geeft als extra bonus een inlegvel met enige door Liszt voor zijn leerlingen Raab en Schmalhausen gecomponeerde varianten en cadensen.
The levels of difficulty of the
piano music published by G. Henle Publishers
The levels of difficulty of the piano music published by G. Henle Publishers
|1||easy||Bach, Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, nos. 4 and 5|
|2||Bach, Well-Tempered Clavier I, no. 1 Prelude C major|
|3||Beethoven, Piano Sonatas op. 49,1 and 2|
|4||medium||Grieg, Lyric Pieces op. 12, no. 4|
|5||Schumann, Fantasy Pieces op. 12, no. 1|
|6||Chopin, Nocturnes op. 27, nos. 1 and 2|
|7||difficult||Beethoven, Piano Sonata op. 10, no. 3|
|8||Beethoven, Piano Sonata op. 81a|
|9||Schumann, Toccata op. 7|
Guide to the levels of difficulty
"I don't know what 'difficult' means. Either you can play or you can't" – this was the rather terse comment by the great violinist Nathan Milstein, on being asked about the unbelievable difficulty of Niccolo Paganini's Caprice no. 1.
The relativity of the evaluation of difficulty in music immediately becomes clear. Yet I gladly take up this great challenge, presented to me by G. Henle Publishers. For I am aware of how useful a guide like this can be, both from my own experience as well as that of many colleagues. In particular so as to be able to identify "appropriate" works. For example for music teachers, who teach at very different levels, from beginners to those preparing for music conservatories, but also for all those interested amateurs for whom this guide is intended.
After careful deliberation I have settled on nine levels of difficulty, which I have divided into three groups: 1–3 (easy), 4–6 (medium), 7–9 (difficult). A number of parameters have been considered when assessing the level of difficulty. I have not just looked at the number of fast or slow notes to be played, or the chord sequences; of central importance are also the complexity of the piece's composition, its rhythmic complexities, the difficulty of reading the text for the first time, and last but not least, how easy or difficult it is to understand its musical structure. I have defined "piece" as being the musical unit of a sonata, or a single piece in a cycle, which is why Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" Part I comprises a total of 48 levels of difficulty (each prelude and fugue is considered separately), Schumann's Sonata in f sharp minor op.11 only has a single number. My assessment is measured by the ability to prepare a piece for performance.
While assessing the pieces, it became clear that the medium level of difficulty (4–6) is the trickiest. Now and again this means that a piece is judged as a "3/4", even if it only deserved a "3" as far as piano technique is concerned. An example of such a "borderline" case (easy/medium) is Schumann's "Scenes from Childhood" op. 15 Von fremden Ländern und Menschen or at the other end "6/7" part of Bach's "English Suites". And of course within a main category there are also "from-to" evaluations (e.g. 7/8).
Any evaluation of art or music will always be subjective, even if the aim was to be objective. Despite the fact that I have endeavoured to be as careful as possible, I am all too aware that the results of my work can be called into question, and am therefore grateful for any suggestions you might have.
Prof. Rolf Koenen © 2010