10 Amazing and Stunning Piano Pieces

good piano pieces to learn

10 Amazing and Stunning Piano Pieces

carpe_noctem , Updated July 17, 2014

The piano has clearly been a wildly popular instrument ever since its first introduction to the music scene, as both a solo instrument and an accompaniment. Its instant popularity led to a massive influx of solo piano pieces being written – some a violent explosion of color and motion, others a slow, melodic meditation. Some pieces were less than a minute in duration and some hours long (in fact, there was a rumor circulating recently as to the existence of a post-modern piece whereupon one note is played every hour, and pianists take shifts to keep the performance lasting for weeks, months at a time).

Yet while I’m sure many of you are familiar with hundreds of beautiful, instantly recognizable pieces, this is a list of ten pieces which rival even the most famous pieces in beauty, yet have slipped under the radar. Of course, some of these will be known to some of you, but hopefully everyone will find something new here. At some point in my life, I have played all of these pieces (of course, not all up to concert standard!) and each one has been immensely rewarding in its own way.

This is probably one of the most famous pieces on the list – and hence I will put it first – however you might not have known it by name. Chopin was a great lover of the piano, and he has a multitude of fame following him in Etudes, Preludes, Nocturnes, Polonaises, Ballades and Waltzes. But for me, it is his Scherzos that really show off his compositional talent for the piano. This one in particular is a glorious exploration of the range of the piano, with almost every key used at some point, and long flowing passages running from one end of the piano to the other. It is a little louder than most of Chopin’s repertoire, however it is complemented brilliantly by a mellow slow section in the middle, and the whole piece fits together perfectly (plus, if you dislike Classical music, Yundi Li is always funny to watch perform!)

Learn to play it! Buy the sheet music for Chopin’s Complete Preludes, Nocturnes & Waltzes at Amazon.com!

Philip Glass has been an extremely influential composer in late 20th Century music, yet very few people can name a single piece by him. He is essentially a minimalist composer (yet he detest the title himself) and this piece strongly echoes that fact. The video above is of Metamorphosis I, the first in the set, however according to Glass, Metamorphoses I – V are meant to be listened to in succession, and I strongly endorse his perspective. Each new piece is a slight development of the last, adding new ideas and complicating the main themes, however it retains its overall structure, returning to its roots at the end, with Metamorphoses I and V all but identical. It is a very simple, yet very moving set of pieces, and one that should not be overlooked by anyone.

Listen to this incredible modern composer anywhere! Buy Glassworks at Amazon.com!

Liszt is a Romantic composer that is (and most certainly was) revered around the world. He caused a ripple to spread through the European music scene for two main reasons. First was that he was one of very few composers of his caliber who was also a virtuosic performer, and second was that his pieces were considered all but unplayable, famously quoted as requiring four hands to play his simplest pieces. This is his only piano sonata, and it lasts more than half an hour, yet it ranges from simplistic emotion to technical ferocity, with a huge demand on the performer not only physically, to withstand the full half hour, but also mentally, as the emotion required in this piece is immense. It is full of color and musical poetry, evoking galleries of mental image and passion.

Shostakovich is one of the greats of 20th Century music, a time in which musical expression was being overshadowed by musical exploration, and while it was unquestionably a time of brilliant musicality, this is one of the shining gems of the time. The piano line complements the orchestra exquisitely, and the scale of this piece is immense, and yet consistently beautiful. This recording is by Shostakovich himself, and so it has a certain validity of expression, as every note is played exactly as the composer intended. However, this piece was written for Shostakovich’s son, as a birthday present and for him to perform at his graduation ceremony from Moscow Conservatorium. When your father composes you a piece like this for you to do more practice, it might be time to find a new way to impress him. Unfortunately, this is not a complete version of his performance, but I strongly urge you to look this up on YouTube yourself if you enjoy it, the full version is magnificent.

This piece is replete with Russian cadences and beautiful melodic bass lines, and as characterized by much of Rachmaninoff’s music, is based heavily on musical expression rather than melodic lyricism. For Rachmaninoff himself, he wished for every person performing his pieces to have their own perspectives, and as such used very few dynamic, tempo or expressive markings. Famously, his first piano concerto has no key signature, yet is absolutely full of accidentals (sharps or flats that are not exclusively specified in the key signature), and so mistakes were so simple to make, they became commonplace, and hence a new part of the music. As such, his musical repertoire is a rich tapestry of expression, with each interpretation bringing wildly different variations to the same piece. This piece is particularly brilliant, because he combines the strong bass chord line with flowing, mellifluous passages, to create a detailed contrast.

Brahms is a very well-known composer, yet suffers from obscurity when you get down to the details. Many of his pieces are recognizable to a degree (especially Brahms’ Lullaby, which, interestingly, he composed as a gift to a friend to celebrate the birth of her son) however few of his pieces are known by name. This Rhapsody is a technically uncomplicated, yet very contrasting work – it has been likened to a sort of collage, as it contains many themes throughout, each of which could easily be expanded into a work of their own, yet Brahms chooses to include them briefly and move on to the next idea. As a result, far from being a slap-dash array of musical ideas, it is a dense and varied musical journey, ranging from slow and melodious to powerful and triumphant. This piece is a wonder to play in concert, as it changes emotion almost instantly in places.

Traditionally (but of course, not exclusively), the 2nd Movement of a concerto is the slow movement, and this is no exception. Ravel was a 19th Century Impressionist composer, who focused heavily on melodic development and textural structure. This piece is beauty in its simplest form, with uncomplicated lines weaving together between the pianist and the orchestra. It’s difficult to describe without sounding extremely pretentious, but Ravel’s entire Concerto is a testament to his mastery of Impressionist sounds, and this movement firmly exhibits his brilliance.

In my opinion, this will be the most recognizable piece on the list, yet I feel it merits inclusion for one very important reason: this particular version is a performance by Arthur Rubinstein, who is undoubtedly one of the greatest pianists of all time. Sometimes the piece itself may be overshadowed by the interpretation, and while this is without question a magnificent piece, Rubinstein lends to it a certain elegance and majestic stylization, which is very rare in the more recent recordings. This is one of Tchaikovsky’s masterworks, a glorious compositional triumph, and it definitely deserves a mention.

Carl Vine is an Australian post-modern composer, and if you are willing to accept dissonance, this is one of the most beautiful pieces in Australian history (yes, there’s more than one….). It starts off a little slow, but it builds up at a perfect rate to become deeper and richer in texture, adding layers and layers while the melody continues to build before a bristling climax at around 3:16 which just continues to build until it suddenly drops to nothing and the rest of the piece is a beautiful, melodious exploration of the piano. I am guessing that very few of you will have ever heard of this piece before, but I guarantee, it is a wonder in every way

This piece has always been my personal favorite, and hence I am finishing my list with it. I first heard this piece when I was eleven at a piano concert in the Sydney Opera House, being played by my piano teacher’s star pupil, a fourteen year old. It became my immediate goal to learn this piece as soon as I could (half because I fell instantly in love with it, and half because I wanted so desperately to beat that fourteen year old), and on my thirteenth birthday I got my wish, performing this piece at the Sydney Opera House for an audience of 1500 people. I have always shared this piece with friends and family every chance I get, either through playing it for them, or forcing them to go listen to it on the internet, and I can only hope you enjoy it as much as I did and still do.

Unfortunately, a list of 10 greatest piano pieces of all time is a sheer impossibility, as is a list of the 10 greatest performances. But it is without question the performance that turns a piece from great to breathtaking, not the other way around, and this is one of my favorite performances of all time, from the late great Victor Borge.

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Chopin is my idol.

Piano music always gives me the chills.
I recently watched Amelie and the soundtrack has made me longing for some new piano compositions. So, thanks!

Amelie has beautiful and catchy soundtrack. also the movie features my fave actor Jamel Debbouze.

Simeon ten Holt also writes beautiful piano pieces. Canto Ostinato is my favorite piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9L6Sz1H9go

Thank you for including a performance by Victor Borge, the man was a genius and great entertainer who brought classical music to a much wider audience. Here in Oz, if composer Carl Vine (number 2) played cricket for Australia, we’d all have heard of him, but since classical music is his thing he’s not likely to get much notice here, so thanks for bringing him to my attention at least.

Hah first post bitchesssss
hungarian rhapsody all day

this isn’t your mothers house . oh forgot ….bitch. (see I’m down with the cool guys too!)

I see you forgot to press “Refresh” before you posted Kid.

Your not brock, so stop acting like him

have you considered that perhaps this is brock —posting under a different name, since he managed to fuck his reputation up in less than a month—and that he really is a punk fuck?

I think you’re onto something there oliveralbq. Perhaps he is a series of multiple personalities – all of them fucking annoying!

yeah i am under 30 different names on this site can you seriously get a life i am not like you at all retard

Correct brock, you are not like me at all. (a) I interact with people on a social and intellectual level (b) I have a long term relationship with a person of the opposite sex (c) I do not feel the need to spew bile upon every person who may dare suggest my pithy comments are not worthy of instant glorification & (d) I am not a twisted little emotional cripple who gets their rocks off by calling people ‘retards’.

yeah on conclusion you suck

Chopin’s nocturnes are my fave. Great list. Bonus was the best I think.

The Pirates of Carribean theme should have found a place somewhere. It has a very catchy feel and is also played in ceremonies of major sporting events like the FIFA cup.

i don`t want to sound like a dick but this is boring

Oh I think it’s a little too late for that.

Brilliant. Lerker wins comment of the day. No, in fact, comment of the year.

wow ask him to give you a candy maby if you`re lucky you can get a kiss from him

Ah brock. I won’t be too long with this since I think arguing with you would be akin to arguing with a five year old. Maybe when school goes back into session we who follow this site won’t be subject to your inane, semi-literate comment posts (see how I tried to use small words there so you wouldn’t become too confused). I’ve been trying to guess why you feel that everyone wants to read what you have to say, but I’m at a loss. Maybe (see, that’s how you spell it) because you have no friends, or maybe you don’t get enough attention at home. Either way, I won’t get into a debate with you, I have a five year old at home I can do that with, and I would probably have a more intelligent debate with him than with you at any rate. I would suggest reading more to improve your spelling and grammar, but I don’t know if the Cat In The Hat is in print anymore, that would probably be a struggle for you anyway.

Gasp! I’ve been told off!

Oh snap! You just got burned on the oven by brock!

well, welcome to the “brock-yelled-at-me club”
we are traumatized for good now — what, sir, are we gonna do? this situation is so severe, and detramental to my well being, that im considering starting up a suport group to help us.

there will be free punch and pie.

we’ll get through this.

Geodude I choose you!

ok that DID crack me up .

Yes, Cat in the Hat is still in print.

I think I have it figured out – brock is here because his mommy took his video console away.

I hate to tell you this brock, but your comment is 100% hypocritical. 1) You have proven to me countless times before how big of a dick you are, so you don’t have to worry about sounding like one. Lerker is right. 2) Almost all of your comments are boring and riddled with poor grammar. My cousin can write better than you; he just turned three.

I wonder how old brock is.

Well, it depends on how you look at it. He acts like he is about three, but is probably a teenager or somewhere around that age spectrum. Obviously, he is desperately looking for a life, and he may have just found one on the internet.

yeah man the writing of the comment which takes about 1 minute gives me new life

It took you a minute?!

He was too busy polishing his pokeballs for the first half a minute.

Hans zimmer is my favorite composer. Hans zimmer is in the list of top 100 living geniuses. Hans zimmer should have been given a place here. Hans zimmer rocks.

who’s hans zimmer?

Hans Zimmer is the brilliant mind that created the music for a large amount of amazing screenplays. A few examples (and some of my favorites) are Thin Red Line, Gladiator, and Inception. If I recall correctly, he also wrote the music scores for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean.

wow, this list makes me regret quitting piano lessons when I was 10

“La Campanella” is not from Franz Liszt, but from Paganini.

Oh Ive always wanted to say this, so thank for the amazing oportunity: FAIL.

Yes, Paganini wrote the original version, but what’s here is Liszt’s paraphrase of it.

Amazing list!
Would have loved to see some Micheal Nyman, though.

Yea I agree that man is AMAZING. I’ just recently saw The Piano

What a great LISZT-oh my, I’m sorry, but it is worth giving a liszten to.

i guess it’s a subjective issue, but i dun really like the La Campanella, would have placed brahms or rach in first place. nevertheless, music always is subjective.

btw, do you think you can kindly make another piano list which shows the top 10 hardest piano pieces to play? always wanted to hear how those hard pieces sound like.

man, i wish i was as talented as them. my freaking parents won’t allow me to have any instruments. if they did, it’ll be a different story. now, i’m a hip hop emcee (seriously), but if i can turn back time, i would certainly ask my parents to buy me a piano and give me some piano lessons. all i can do know is to make awesome hip hop lyrics and maybe, sample some of these piano songs so that i can make a hip hop beat but i know you guys will be pissed if i do. 😛 Seriously, I don’t know why talents like these are not recognized. Freaking record companies. Anyway, thank you for this great listen and i hope i don’t get thumbs down for my hip hop statement. It’s weird that a song called Luv Letter by DJ Okawari and a hip hop act called Nuttin’ But Stringz made me change my whole outlook on Classical music.

Great list, as always !
However, I love “La Campanella”, but that video is all about speed.
I personally like this execution more 🙂
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0ATAI75b2s&fe…

It’s personal taste anyway 🙂
And sorry for my English
My favourite one is one that I can’t find on youtube.
It’s the original 1851 version and comes from Liszt: Piano Works Vol.1 (1983)
Keep up the good work 😉

My mom had a music/jewelry box with La Campanella on it. Thanks for bringing that memory back.

Whenever im a bit upset and i want to get really mad i listen to boulez’s piano sonata #2.

where is yiruma?

You really should have given the name of the absolutely astounding pianist who is playing Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor. Valentina Lisitsa, is simply fantastic. Those of us who are not familiar with classical music would not know who she is.

all i was doing right now (and something i wish everyone did, to eliminate redundancy) is scrolling over the days comments ,to see if anyone adressed it.

you beat me — and i thank you. this yellow-haired chick is incredible.
i can play “chop-stix” on a piano, and boston’s “foreplay/longtime”, “hollyann” and “smoking’ ” on an organ — and that is all —- that shit took me years to learn.

this girl is awesome.

Absolutely. Her performances of Rachmanninoff’s Op 39 No6 in A minor are simply stunning.

I actually have an email from her regarding a wonderful performance she gave in London, 2006. Not many artists bother replying to fanmail thesedays, but Valentina is a true Lady.

I’m glad that you included Tchaikovsky…he’s got to be my absolute favorite. My daughter loves piano pieces so she will get a kick out of this list.
Great job.

Quite frankly, I think he should have been #1

I was hoping for a list like this, all these composers and pianists are amazing. The bonus was a great end. 🙂 I have to say Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor Op. 23 was my favourite, it was strong and powerful yet moving and I hope I can learn it some day in the distant future. I also liked Glass’s Metamorphosis, even if it was quite simple. Liszt’s La Campanella was a great listen too. You must have been very talented playing that at 13! All these pieces are really great, I’ve never heard of most of them, so thanks!

In my humble opinion, Franz Peter Schubert is one of the greatest composers for the piano.

I know that his piano works is somewhat underrated compared to his chamber works, lieder and symphonies; and less popular than Chopin and Liszt. But upon discovering them, I found them quite in the league between those two, and in some ways, superior.

Take for example his Impromptu in G flat. His flowing melodies, song-like tunes made me see angels singing in heaven. His Wanderer Fantasie is a huge influence in Liszt Sonata in B.

His last three piano sonatas, D.958, D.959 and D.960 are some of the greatest piano sonatas ever composed. Especially, his last composition, D.960, it is stunning and very beautiful. The 8 Impromptus, and Moment Musicaux are charming, innovate little pieces. The piano four-hands, Marche Militaire and Fantasy in F minor are heavenly.

I am saddened that he died at early age of 31. What more beautiful pieces could he possibly create? If he live maybe 10 years more, and given time to innovate, maybe he would be greater than Beethoven? Oh, sigh..

Philip Glass simply sucks a mean ass !
and it rhymes, also!

“In fact, there was a rumor circulating recently as to the existence of a post-modern piece whereupon one note is played every hour, and pianists take shifts to keep the performance lasting for weeks, months at a time.”

I think you’re thinking of John Cage’s ASLSP (written for the organ, but sometimes played on the piano). While a performance lasting days is possible, “typical” performances (of there is such a thing as a “typical” performance of a Cage work) last several hours.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_Slow_As_Possible

Other works of similar infamy: Satie’s “Vexations” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vexations

Nice list! (Although I would have added the Prokofiev Toccata Op. 11 as well…)

This is such a coincidence the pianist was on last night, such a good film. The film is about the polish pianist W?adys?aw Szpilman. It shows his life experience in Warsaw. Although it’s mainly about the nazi occupation it does have piano scenes.

Outstanding film! The scene where he plays for the German officer always sends a shiver up my spine.

Love that movie 🙂

was hoping tht film would be mentioned

Amnyc beat me to it but Sorabji’s piano music is worthy of any list such as this. Although Clavicemballisticum is probably his most famous work – 12 movements lasting nearly five hours – there are many others: Gulistan, The Perfumed Garden, the piano Sonatas, the Transcendental Etudes. Although his music is fearsomely difficult to play, and almost as challenging to listen to, there is an extraordinary beauty to his works which merits any serious student of music’s attention.

For the curious, a small selection of this composer’s voluminous output can be found here: http://www.sorabji-files.com/music.php

Of particular interest is Jonathan Powell’s performance of the first five movements of Clavicemballisticum live in New York – an excellent rendition arguably as good as John Ogden’s seminal recording on Altarus. As Sorabji himself said, Clavicemballisticum has “harmonies that bite like nitric acid and rhythms that grind like the Mills of God”.

Nice list, though my favorite (Franz Schubert’s Ständchen – or, in english, Serenade) isn’t included.
Piano is such an incredible instrument, though sadly it isn’t used to its full potential nowadays as often as it could.

Many years ago, I had the privilege of attending a recital by Claudio Arrau, and one thing he played was Liszt’s Sonata in B minor. He was over 80, a small and fairly frail-looking guy, but he still made it look easy.

Great list. Love hearing new music.

Pop music is my favorite genre, but classical is a close second. I love the theme for From the New World by Antonin Dvorak. It is so slow and soothing.

I am not into piano music big time, but the list was well written, and I take my hat off to anyone that submits a list, its hard work and involves many hours of research.

Liszt is the man. First true rockstar, chicks would scream and it is reported that some actually threw panties at him. He was like the Jim Morrison or Beatles of the 1800’s.

Or you could say he is like the Justin Bieber of the 1800’s. Oh wait, no, that’s not right…Justin Bieber got a water bottle thrown at him, not panties. My mistake.

Thanks for including Shostakovich. I think he’s a very underappreciated composer, and the Second Piano Concerto is my favorite piece by him. I’ve loved it since I first heard it in Fantasia 2000.

Do you have a facebook fan page or any other way to contact you?

THANK YOU! La Campanella is also my favorite piano piece as well- and same here too; fell in love with it during my choir days as a youth- so fluid and powerful- your taste is impeccable subby.

I was glad to see Bach wasn’t #1

Some very outstanding music here, but only in part. The list is incomplete and thoroughly subjective as some of the real great piano pieces are not there. I agree with Pee, Schubert was one of the greatest and he deserves a place on this list. Bach isn’t even mentioned and his piano pieces were revolutionary in their time and extremely influential for piano music development for generations of composers. Does ‘The Well-Tempered Clavier’ sound familiar? Beethoven doesn’t even get an honorable side bar comment, and his Piano concertos are breathtaking. Tchaikovsky’s piano concerto No.1 shouldn’t even be on that list. It has a most marvelous beginning, however the beautiful theme from the beginning isn’t adequately continued or brought back and the whole concerto becomes boring after a while. Well, this is subjective on my part, but I am not alone in that assessment. All in all, not a list to my taste, but then I am subjective as well.

Phillip Glass? Seriously? Mozart composed better music when he was 5. Glass is a no talent hack.

this is a different direction of music, if mozart was on this it would be another dull list riddled with the same crap over and over till number 1, glass is minimalist and his music is so much more powerful with so much less content, that takes skill to write and invoke such emotion with so little substance.

thank you listverse, always coming up with awesome stuff

Oh I’m sorry, I thought this was Lesverse.

When will you write a list about operas? I bet you’ll put wozzeck first.

I love music. Informative list. How about doing a list on amazing and stunning guitar pieces?

Ya, but that would cause too much controversy.

In order to satisfy me alone, it would have to have:

Voice of the Soul by Death
Soothsayer by Buckethead
Epilogue by Opeth

and those are just immediately off the top of my head. If you include songs with singing as well, then theres:

22 Acacia Avenue by Iron Maiden
Children of the Damned by Iron Maiden
Wasted Years by Iron Maiden
To Bid You Farewell by Opeth
Perennial Quest by Death
Destiny by Death

and again, these are just immediately off the top of my head.

This is making me want to write a list of moving metal pieces…

I recommend these should deserve at least… *at least* honorable mention (in no particular order)—

Islamej by Balakirev
Piano Concerto no 5 by Prokofiev
Scherzo No 1 in b by Chopin [in place of Scherzo no. 2]
Goldberg Variations by Bach
Sonata No. 29 “Hammer-Klavier” in H by Beethoven
Piano Concerto 2 (or 3) by Rachmaninoff
any of the Piano Concertos by Brahms

Thumbs-up this comment if you agree.

Brahms Piano concerto #1 is the greatest piano concerto ever written

Thank you, carpe_noctem, for the most beautiful list we have ever had.
I am intimately familiar with each and every selection on the list, and some are capable of bringing tears to my eyes immediately…La Campanella for one, but not exclusively.
The Minor keys always tear at my heart, I don’t know why…but I can never get through anything written in a Minor key without feeling a visceral pain in my chest…a welling of tears in my eyes.
When I lived in Los Angeles I attended concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for years and years…before I could afford tickets, I would work as an usher, just to be able to hear the music.
I would love a follow-up list with vocals. I have my list of favorites, but would love to see yours.
I have a funny story about a Philip Glass concert. It was the late 80’s, early 90’s, and I don’t now remember the name of the piece, but the it was being played by the LA Phil, plus some additional pieces. The music began, and it had a disharmonic structure to it, the audience was, at first, restless. Slowly, however, the music became to be in exact harmony with the beating of the human heart.
The entire audience became one with the music, which lasted about 15 or 20 minutes. When the piece stopped, it stopped dead, and there was a pause…and then the whole audience gasped as if they were having to get back to their own rhythm.
It was amazing. It got a standing ovation, of course.
I’ve never experienced anything like it again.

If organ counts, then “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” is number one. If not, then it’s still number one.

Oh, and by number one, I meant, number one greatest song of all time.

Number 9 (Philip Glass’s Metamorphosis) was heard in Season 2, Episode 2 of Battlestar Galactica. Great piece of music and so eerie.

I never watched that program, (although I am familiar with the story & plot-line) but I can understand how the music would be appropriate.
Glass’ work is all somewhat eerie, beautifully so, and can fit into niches other composers work never could hope to. He hones in on something in the psyche that sends chills down your spine…and yet, it’s so lovely, you feel as if you could listen to it forever.
Amazing stuff.

Thought I recognised it. Battlestar Galactica’s soundtracks have a number of really good piano pieces. Definitely have a listen to “Battlestar Sonata” (on the Season 2 soundtrack). And even better, “Elegy” and “Dreilide Thrace Sonata No. 1” from the Season 4 soundtrack.

Good choice for the number 1 spot dude, Also, thank you for such a wonderful list. I just peed on my musical pants while watching the japanese guy play that piece (what’s his name btw?).

Stupid me. I should have tabbed the video. He’s Yundi Li. And correction, he’s Chinese :))

I’m a Chico Marx fan myself.

Borat dummy jumps on you with an unwarranted waist-hug and yelps while jumping,
“Yessss! BORAT LUV the Chico. “

wow —-
its been a looong time since i thought about the windham-hill artists.

at the point of my life when i was listening to these guys (like….when i was 8 or 9 — 1998, 99, etc), i preferred the guitarists — — will ackerman and alex de grassi were great, but michael hedges opened my eyes up to a different style of music —– well into high school, listening to boston, velvet underground, who, hendrix, the doors, the misfits — etc etc….every now and then i’d pop in a windham-hill cd

m.hedges’ “ariel boundries” was a favourite, as was “deep breakfast’ (ray lynch), and one by michael manring (bassist)…….i didnt have a favourite by winston. i loved all of them. autumn, winter into spring, december, and of course, linus and lucy—the music of vince guaraldi. all spectacular.

i got a chance to see one of the label’s tours, “winter solstice” at the univ. of alabama,in ’96 or ’97 — and even though m.hedges died shortly thereafter, winston blew everyone away. what an intreresting and talented cat.

my friends all thought i was a weenie, but between michael hedges and george winston,

Thank you very much for not placing Bach, Beethoven or Mozart in the list. I feel everyone knows of those composers as well over shadow most other composers. This statement is not to be confused with malcontent with those composers, they are undeniably phenomenal

Yes, I liked that they included some composers that aren’t extremely well known…at least not to me.

There should be gold starz or something next to the ‘ole’ originals’ that make their apparitions suddenly visible as authors and are from “The List Universe” distant past. Have not seen carpe_noctem here in a while. Or have I? Anyway, Hellooo! It’s cool to see a personalized lists like this, even if the classical divides so many.

You’re not Lundi Li are you? Cuz that would be like “In Yo face 14yr old star pupil. “, “Booyah!”

Cool list. I don’t really listen to much classical music, but I’m a sucker for a great piano piece, especially when it comes to Liszt. Here’s my favorite:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLHU2ES51uw

No Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence?

That, like a good portion of Sakamoto’s stuff, was composed for a larger ensemble, and he’s later done piano only versions by himself. But a great composition nonetheless. For those who haven’t heard it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWuptY2C9Xg

I wish I had the skills to play like that! :p

What? No Moonlight Sonata?

Geez how do we get the thumbnail?

Unfortunately, I’m so over the piano. I had dreams of greatness, and failed, and gave myself a tendon injury in the wrist. I spent way too much of my life in a room by myself rather than interacting with people. I can still play, but rarely do. I then got into composing and have had a few pieces published, but no-one performs my music. I’m also a keen choir singing, but when I got back from Korea one conductor didn’t want me at all, and the other (a new conductor since I was in it) wants me to audition, which scares me shitless. (I’m not a solo singer – I know that.) I’m scared that if I don’t accomplish something in the field of music, then all that time spent in a room by myself (exacerbating an already shy disposition) will have been utterly wasted.

About half and hour ago ABC Classic FM played a performance by the Australian Youth Orchestra recorded in 1984. There were probably classmates of mine in that.

The only piece on the list I listened to all the way through was the bonus. I’ve been a big Borge fan for years. Maybe I should have persisted with the Vine sonata – I’ve met him.

With respect, I found the list too mixed – I think carpe coulda/shoulda compared eg concertos with concertos, piano sonatas with piano sonatas and miniatures with miniatures.

How’s that for a brilliant piano piece!
http://www.youtube.com/user/uglydinosaur#p/u/8/Vo…
Now go back and turn all those down thumbs UP at comment 9! 🙂

Glass’ Metamorphosis is an amazing record.

my favorite pian piece and fav classical composure is fur elise by beethoven. its so haunting especially when played well. i could listen to that all day!

Wonderful list! I’ll look forward to curling up with these when I’m not at wo-errr!! I mean, once I get home.

My .02 Anything by Alkan. He would have been acclaimed as a 19th Century virtuoso, had he been more of a publicity hound. Instead, he seems to have just puttered around at home, his blazing talents largely unheard.

Glenn Gould’s piano transcription of Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll. Anyone who thinks of Gould as simply the robotically precise Bach-technician and Mozart-butcherer really should hear this. Like his chamber orchestra version, he stretches this out. But, unlike his slowed-down Bach, he isn’t trying to reveal some inner voice or structural detail. He is drawing out the actual, living *feeling* of this piece. He feels the beauty of this work, and he gives it to us without a trace of irony.

Great List, I always love the ones dealing with music and especially piano. So glad you included Philip Glass, but what about the Beethoven. I think Moonlight Sonata should have definitely been on here, especially Movement 3, so complex and beautiful.

3rd movement of Tempest

I’ve never seen any human that loved to play the piano more that Leonard Marx (pronounced Chick-o).
So lighten up a bit and watch this duet with Leon Belasco on violin.
“so how long you study music…fifteen years…two more years you coulda been a plumber” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kDHD4Bs_EI&fe…

I wished there would have some feature on some piano pieces in rock music. Maybe something from Yes or a piece from Dream Theater or Gentle Giant. Though these bands fit into the rock (pop) genre that usually has less talent than classical musicians, plenty of rock bands do have classically trained keyboardists: such as Derek Sherinian (dream theater), Rick Wakeman (Yes) and Keith Emerson (ELP) and Kerry Minnear (Gentle Giant) and Tony Banks (Genesis).

No ‘Fur Elise’? One of the most beautiful piano pieces of all time IMHO

I just posted a comment about that. I agree. I mean it’s a famous one but for good reason.

Victor Borge – an absolute musical and comic genius

You missed a huge one: Barakirev’s Islamey.

Does anyone know Gaspard de la nuit by Ravel??
It’s a nice easy but good piece.
Simple to play for beginners

A. Liszt has 12 Hungarian Rhapsodies, pick one
B. Prokofiev’s toccata op.11 should really be on here

HAHA, to the last one!

I know it isn’t an old classic, but Richard D. James’ (or Aphex Twin) Arvil 14th is amazing and emotional

Philip Glass makes some good music, but more often than not it is used terribly in films.

I 100% agree that La Campanella be on the top!

But I think Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor Op. 23 should have placed higher on the list. It’s a good showpiece and when played by a pianist who correctly interprets the emotions in that piece it would be brilliant.

And yes, referring so some comments above I think we’re missing Schubert and Schumann.

My favorite of all time is Franz Liszt Etude No. 11 Harmonies Du Soir.

These are some wonderful pieces but surely furr elise deserved a spot, at least a bonus spot at the end.

And about “Gaspard de la nuit” by Ravel . Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli playing, Ondine and Scarbo is hypnotic.

John V. Karavitis I’d like to see a list of the “Ten Most Difficult to Play Piano Pieces”. Got any ideas? And I say this knowing that the list would change as time goes on.. What Tchaikovsky wrote down was considered impossible to play. Nowadays, it’s no big deal. So, this list would definitely change as time goes on. John V. Karavitis, John Karavitis, Karavitis

Wim Mertens – Struggle for Pressure is missing its the best of all songs :/

eh. No Pachelbel Canon piece.

Pachelbel Canon is so popular..until now..and many created their own version..

I admire the last Performance…

Awesome, each of em has different kinds of charm Lolz

No, it’s not la campanella.. Try to find “Liszt – Transcendental Edude no. 4”

A great list. La Campanella is played with great skill but it seams you’re too eager and play the piece too fast.
Also, unless you’re American, favorite is spelt with a “u” and recognizable does not contain a “z”!
Sorry to be a bit of a damp squib but these things need pointed out!

Personally, I think you mixed up your Rachmanninov pieces.

I think Piano Concerto in C Minor is the king of all piano pieces. Its rich combination of chords and melodies is utterly breathtaking, not to mention that grand opening!

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