Editor: Ernst Herttrich
Fingering: Hans-Martin Theopold
Urtext Edition, paperbound
Pages: 27 (VI, 21), Size 23,5 x 31,0 cm
Order no. HN 813 · ISMN M-2018-0813-0
Level of difficulty (Piano): difficult (Level 7/8)
“Obermann”, the epistolary novel by the French Romantic Senancour, inspired Liszt to write the first volume in his collection “Années de Pèlerinage” (HN 173). A wanderer is searching for his ideals in the solitude of the Swiss mountains. The composer was able to identify with these ideas to such a great degree that he prefaced the eighth piece (“Le Mal de Pays”) with an extract from the novel’s 38th letter. It is this text which also accompanies our edition of the sixth piece “Vallée d’Obermann”. To aid comprehension we have also included translations of the French orginal into German and English. Now the most important composition in the “Années I” is also available in a separate Henle urtext edition.
The three quotations from Senancourt Henle give us provide an invaluable context: would that all publishers were this thorough.
[Piano Professional, 2006]
De nieuwe losse uitgave van Henle biedt alles wat je maar kunt wensen. Niet alleen een prachtig historisch voorwoord, maar ook de originele citaten die Liszt bij de eerste uitgaven liet afdrukken. Bovendien wordt een vertaling gegeven van een tekst van De Senancour met een annotatie van Liszt, waardoor een muzikaal-literaire romantische wereld van weleer voor ons ontsloten wordt.
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||difficulty||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