Rigoletto - Concert Paraphrase
Urtext Edition, paperbound
Pages: 28 (VII, 21), Size 23,5 x 31,0 cm
Order no. HN 978 · ISMN M-2018-0978-6
Level of difficulty (Piano): difficult (Level 9)
Liszt drew on three themes from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” in this glittering virtuoso work; its climax is the finale with the theme in the quartet from Act III “Bella figlia dell’amore”. If one ignores the fact that at this point in the opera the betrayal of Gilda's love is made known, the work offers no sign that it was written at a time of deep depression: Liszt’s hope of legally marrying Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein was slowly disappearing. Maybe Liszt's opera paraphrases are therefore to be understood as memories of happier times in Weimar.
Henle here continues its superb rebranding of Liszt works, familiar and less so, providing a wealth of excellent background information as well as lucidity, elegance and practicality. ... It is extremely useful here to have creative yet practical fingering for the extended quasi cadenza flourishes by none other than Marc-André Hamelin. This is quite a coup for Henle, and indeed the edition is well worth purchasing for Hamelin's input alone.
[Piano International, 2011]
De uitgave van Henle is zonder meer ideaal. De virtuoze omspelingen zijn in een kleiner notenbeeld gestoken dan de vocale partijen. Dat biedt direct een (visueel) inzicht in de structuur van de compositie.
[Piano Wereld, 2011]
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|
"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