anacrusis wrote:...of the available pieces there must be a few that stand out."Away From" is REALLY hard, and it may currently be the contender for the most difficult piece.
Pedro_Rijos wrote:Brian Ferneyhough - Kurze Schatten II
This is definitely hands-down the most difficult classical guitar work of all time.
Full with technical, rhythmic, harmonic, structural, stylistic and other difficulties, this is a piece that only the most advanced guitarists and musicians could ever play.
I forgot to mention that the work is also (in my opinon) utter rubbish, a complete waste of time and written by a "composer" who cannot compose
Both these pieces are the main contenders, imo.
It's interesting that both have been recorded by (and dedicated to) Magnus Andersson.
In order to better understand what these pieces are about, and what makes them so difficult, it is possible to listen to Magnus Andersson play them:
Sven-David Sandström's "Away From"
can be legally listened to from the Phono Suecia website - it's on the recording "Chitarra con forza"
Brian Ferneyhough's "Kurze Schatten II"
can be found on youtube: search for "Ferneyhough: Kurze Schatten II for solo guitar (1983-89) Movements 1-4 (Part 1/2)"
A score sample for Ferneyhough's "Kurze Schatten II"
is legally provided by SAM in England. (And yes, it is indeed written on 3 staves, often each one having different rhythm-tuplets. And yes, the scordatura-tuning does use microtonal quarter-tones... e.g. the 1st string having to be tuned to "e quarter flat")
I think to really find out what the most difficult work is, we would have to ask Magnus Andersson!!! It would be interesting to hear what he has to say.
Elliott Carter - Changes
Elliott Carter - Shard
Ah indeed, these 2 works are also good contenders. One can legally listen to David Starobin performing Elliott Carter's Changes
at the "Art of the States" website: link
But it is not at the very limits of what is possible on the guitar. We will just have to wait for my 3 hour long piece, complete with 4 fugues (the last one being 36 minutes, micro-tonal, written across 4-5 staves, each in an independent tempi and rhythm), several instances of re-tuning during the piece, extended lengths of extremely fast polyphonic playing (the longest of which will last 56 minutes) that will utilize the thumb on the RH, and every known (along with a few unknown) extended technique.
You might laugh, but there may be people who'll take you seriously. Watch out, if Magnus reads this, he'll probably commission a work from you!
I've noticed, that the original poster actually wrote this:
Nathaniel wrote:For you, what do you think is the most difficult (but still great) piece for classical guitar?
I cannot consider "Away From" or "Kurze Schatten II" to be great. Quite the contrary, they are rubbish (you can see my thoughts on that in my prev. reply).
Well among difficult works, that are still great
, I'd have to mention...
*some solo works by Castelnuovo-Tedesco e.g. 24 Caprichos de Goya
*some solo works of Joaquin Rodrigo e.g. Invocación y Danza, ...
*some solo works of Antonio Lauro e.g. Sonata
*some arrangements from other instruments, e.g. Paganini's 24 caprices (originally for violin)
But just being able to play these pieces certainly is not enough. There are more than enough sloppy performances around. (Magus Andersson's performance of "Away From" - see above - is no exception, most notes of fast scales are subdued or drowning!)
The really difficult (but worthwhile) thing is to perform a piece (a good one!) in a way that it does not sound difficult at all, but comes across naturally.