Here’s the part when you get to hear all those show off pieces, when your ideas on the the max speed of piano playing are challenged, and your mind is blown. These are the pieces that pianists who play classical music hope to learn someday. You just don’t learn these overnight.
If you’re not familiar with the word “virtuoso”, it basically means someone who has massive skills. So when I talk about a virtuoso pianist, it means someone who can play the difficult stuff. Some of this stuff is gonna be slightly easier than others, but it’s still the music that experienced pianists learn or new pianists look forward to learning.
1. Transcendental Étude No. 1 by Liszt- The tempo marking on this one is just about the fastest tempo one can play (it’s up there). This is also from Liszt (the show off piano dude). It is nicknamed “Prelude” (an introductory piece), the first of his 12 études.
2. Fantasie Impromptu Op. 66 by Chopin- Fast finger work again, this time from Chopin. The rhythm is also something to master (kind of hard to explain briefly here but it’s not something you usually come across), and it lasts throughout the fast sections. He takes a break in the middle section to calm down, then back to the craziness. The part at 4:23 IMO would make epic music for a mysterious part in a movie trailer and then at the end it would be like “Coming May 2015”.
3. Rhapsody No. 1 by Brahms- Here’s another one with the craziness at the beginning, then a calm middle section, then back to craziness. It’s not quite as fast, except for the part at 2:48. One challenge in this one is interpreting the melody as it switches between hands.
4. Piano Sonata Op. 111 by Beethoven (first 10 minutes of video)– Beethoven’s last piano sonata, written when he was almost completely deaf (he had skills). It starts off all “mwuhaha” for the introduction, then he builds up to the madness. 1:44 reminds me of an earthquake, the way it builds and sounds like shaking in the lower register. You’ll notice a lot of lower notes used in this piece for the melody (the theme in 1:54 is heard throughout). They are played by the left hand (melodies are usually in the right hand), so pianists have to be ambidextrous.
There’s definitely a lot more virtuoso pieces out there, so some more pieces may be added to this playlist in the future. Stay tuned. 🙂