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Great Pianists' Technique: Leaps

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Published on Aug 30, 2011

A collection of some memorable leaps/jumps; There is probably nothing as risky and unpredictable for the pianist than this type of technique. As usual this is not meant to be a comprehensive catalogue.

"In large leaps, now and then you must claw a wrong note otherwise no-one will notice that it is difficult."
Bulow

1) Liszt Rhap. No.2 Tom Cat Live (1946);

2) Rosenthal Carnaval de Vienne, Rosenthal (1930) 00:09;
(parnassian elegance...it is a great regret that Moritz did not record Liszt's Don Juan for which he was famous!)
Complete performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvHy8y...

3) Rosenthal Carnaval de Vienne, Fialkowska (1998) 00:27;

4) Schumann Carnaval, Michelangeli live (1957) 00:47;

5) Schumann Carnaval, Rachmaninov live (1929) 01:25;
(for Sergei's gigantic hands (according to Cyril Smith his right hand could play a wide chord like C4-E4-G4-C5-E5 with the monstrous fingering 2-3-4-5-1 !!! And his left hand could manage a chord like C-E-flat-G-C-G...) leaps like these must have been easy...)

6) Chopin Sonata No.2, Rachmaninov (1930) 2:02;

7) Schumann Fantasy op.17 (2nd mov) Arrau live (1959) 2:16; (these are perhaps the most treacherous leaps in standard repertoire; and very rarely have I heard a live performance which had the required fire and precision. Nightmare live performances of famous pianists abound. Arrau, though not quite note perfect, is splendid.)

8) Chopin Etude op.25 No.4 Sokolov live (1995) 2:52;

9) Chopin Var. op.2 Gilels live (1963) 3:24;

10) Liszt Reminiscences de Don Juan, Ginzburg (1957) 4:02;
("Despite all the exercises this Cadenza will always remain a daring passage" (Busoni). Neuhaus claimed that only the pianola and Ginzburg could play this famous passage accurately; He plays very well indeed though definitely not with the precision of a pianola :-) )

11) Liszt Reminiscences de Don Juan, Barere (1936) 4:17;

12) Liszt Reminiscences de Don Juan, Wild (1968) 4:32;

13) Liszt Reminiscences de Huguenots, Cohen (1996) 4:46;

14) Liszt Paganini Etude No.6 (1838), vars VIII and IX Nikolai (1983) 5:28;
(the 1838 version of this etude contains some of Liszt's most hazardous passages; the leaps in var IX are possibly the most phantasmagoric and risky ever penned.)

15) Liszt Transcendental Etude No.4 ("Mazeppa") Berman (1959) 6:16;

16) Liszt Transcendental Etude No.8 ("Wilde Jagd") Berman (1959) 6:44;

17) Liszt Transcendental Etude No.11 ("Harmonies de Soir") Arrau (1937) 6:57;
complete performance: http://www.youtube.com/user/Stockhaus...

18) Liszt Transcendental Etude No.12 ("Chasse neige") Berman live (1976) 7:42;
complete performance: http://www.youtube.com/user/Stockhaus...

19) Liszt Grand Galop Chromatique, Cziffra (1963) 8:12;

20) Liszt "Apres une lecture de Dante" Berman (1977) 8:44;

21) Liszt Mephisto Waltz Arrau live (1963) 9:02;

22) Liszt Mephisto Waltz Ogdon live (1986) 9:20;

23) Liszt Mephisto Waltz Richter live (1958) 9:35;

24) Liszt Mephisto Waltz Ashkenazy (1970) 9:50;

25) Liszt-Busoni Mephisto Waltz Petri (1956) 10:07;
(Busoni's transcription is based on the orchestral version of the waltz. In his Liszt editions Busoni always took a very pragmatic approach, mitigating "unnecessary" difficulties. Here the very risky leaps in the right hand are eliminated. But the suggested 2-5 fingering forces a rotation of the hand/forearm creating the illusion of a leap. )

26) Liszt-Busoni Fantasy and Fugue "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam" Bellucci (2000) 10:26;

27) Liszt-Busoni Figaro Fantasy Gilels (1935) 10:45;

28) Liszt-Busoni Figaro Fantasy Ginzburg (1948) 11:03;

29) Brahms Handel var. 25 Fleisher (1956) 11:24;

30) Brahms Piano concerto No.2 Arrau live (1962) 11:53;

31) Rachmaninov Rhap. on a theme of Paganini Kapell (1951) 12:13

32) Mussorgsky Pictures at an exhibition Kapell live (1953) 12:27;

33) Albeniz Asturias de Larrocha (1986) 12:46;

34) Albeniz Triana de Larrocha (1986) 13:09;

35) Albeniz Triana Rosenthal (1929) 13:34;
(it is interesting to compare Albeniz' modern interpreter par excellence (de Larrocha) with Rosenthal who was highly esteemed by the composer himself.)
complete performance: http://www.youtube.com/user/Stockhaus...

36) Scarlatti Sonata K.113 (L.345) Zecchi (1935)13:54;
(the hand crossing in Triana seems a child's game compared to the jumps in some of the wildest Scarlatti's sonatas (other examples include K523-L490 (Zecchi), K24-L495 (Pugno) and K27-L449 (Michelangeli)); "In the early sonatas you get some incredible passages of crossing hands, but you don't find it in his later work. You know why? He got too fat." (Andras Schiff))

37) Liszt La Campanella Friedman (1926) 14:25;

38) Hamelin Etude from Liszt/Paganini (2009) 14:45;

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