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View Poll Results: What are the best piano concertos in the standard classical repertoire
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 7 24.14%
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467 3 10.34%
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488 3 10.34%
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491 2 6.90%
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat major, K. 595 1 3.45%
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major, op. 15 4 13.79%
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 3 10.34%
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 3 10.34%
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73 11 37.93%
Chopin - Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11 3 10.34%
Chopin - Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 4 13.79%
Schumann - Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 1 3.45%
Liszt - Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, S.124 0 0%
Liszt - Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major, S.125 1 3.45%
Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15 3 10.34%
Brahms - Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 5 17.24%
Grieg - Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 10 34.48%
Saint-Saens - Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22 5 17.24%
Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 11 37.93%
Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 44 2 6.90%
DvořŠk - Piano Concerto in G minor, Op. 33 0 0%
Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 10 34.48%
Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 4 13.79%
Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16 0 0%
Prokofiev - Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, Op. 26 1 3.45%
Bartůk - Piano Concerto No. 1, Sz. 83, BB 91 1 3.45%
Bartůk - Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, BB 101 0 0%
Gershwin - Piano Concerto in F 1 3.45%
Ravel - Piano Concerto in G major 3 10.34%
Ravel - Piano Concerto in D for the left hand 2 6.90%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 29. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 12-05-2016, 04:07 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
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Best Piano Concertos

Inspired by this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=812535

The title says it all. I'll try to allow multiple votes.

I've shortlisted 30 concertos among those that are among the most often played. I don't think any of the "really big ones" are missing but if you feel I've forgotten one, don't hesitate to mention it.

I've semi-arbitrarily decided to exclude concertos written after 1945. The date itself is irrelevant apart from the fact that it's easy to remember but the idea was include only concertos that have been around for long enough to consider them standard repertoire. That means I had to leave some cocnertos that I realy, really like such as those written by Poulenc, Barber, Ligeti and Lutoslawski. Yet, you might want to check them out, they're worth investigating (the last two are not easy listening however, but fascinating all the same).
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2016, 04:22 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
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By the way, you'll notice that I included "only" five concertos by Mozart but the reason is easy to see: if I had picked all 27 of them, the list would have become much too long. So I chose the five most often recorded ones (as per Arkivmusic.com). I settled on five so that he'd be even with Beethoven .

I also hesitated between Gershwin and Schoenberg but decided to exclude the latter as it's probably not that popular. I'm not crazy about the Gershwin, though.
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2016, 06:22 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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I couldn't narrow it down to fewer than nine:

The Chopin F minor
Both Brahms
The Grieg
The Saint-SaŽns
Both Tchaikovskys
Both Rachmaninoffs

Obviously my tastes skew heavily toward the Romantic period. Not that I don't listen to and enjoy the others as well (with the exception of the Bartoks). I really wanted to vote for at least one Mozart or Beethoven, and if this were a "desert island" list I would have ... but none jumped out above the others. My two favorites, overall, are the two Rachmaninoffs, especially the final movement of the D minor.

I expect most people''s choices will be earlier and later than mine. Romantics don't seem to be as much in fashion as Classical and Modern.
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2016, 06:49 AM
WordMan WordMan is offline
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I wish I could play. I have a fleeting knowledge of most of these, but no real hard listening.
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2016, 06:54 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
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Our tastes are quite similar. I narrowed it down to five:

Beethoven 4
Brahms 1
Brahms 2
Grieg
TchaÔkovsky 1


We have the last four in common .

I could also have voted for the Schumann, both Rachmaninoffs and Prokofievs as well as Ravel's in G Major (that slow movement is pure magic).

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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
...I expect most people''s choices will be earlier and later than mine. Romantics don't seem to be as much in fashion as Classical and Modern.
Hmmm, I'm not sure about that. Classical, perhaps but definitely not Modern. I think that most votes will go to Romantic concertos. Or Mozart 21.

Last edited by Les Espaces Du Sommeil; 12-05-2016 at 06:56 AM..
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2016, 11:14 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by Les Espaces Du Sommeil View Post
Hmmm, I'm not sure about that. Classical, perhaps but definitely not Modern. I think that most votes will go to Romantic concertos. Or Mozart 21.
I expect Romantic concertos to win it, with Grieg and Rachmaninoff 2 topping the list, but we'll see. In my experience, Romantic music is far more popular than any of the others time periods, but it could be the company I keep.

Last edited by pulykamell; 12-05-2016 at 11:15 AM..
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:20 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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In order, with my preferred artist:

Beethoven #1, Glenn Gould
Mozart #20, Monique de la Bruchollerie
Gershwin RIB, Philippe Entremont
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2016, 04:19 PM
SaharaTea SaharaTea is offline
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I'll never forget the first time I heard the Saint-Saens concerto. Chills.

The gorgeous second movement of Beethoven #5 is one of my favorite pieces of music ever. I also love Tchaikovsky #1 and both Rachmaninoffs.

Last edited by SaharaTea; 12-05-2016 at 04:19 PM..
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  #9  
Old 12-05-2016, 05:44 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is online now
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My immediate choices were the Ravel Left Hand and the Emperor. (I'm also rather fond of the Beethoven #2, which is conspicuously absent.) Once those were out of the way, I added the Bartok 1 and the obvious warhorses Tchaikovsky 1, Rachmaninoff 2 and the Grieg.
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  #10  
Old 12-05-2016, 06:01 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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My all-time, absolute fav is the Emperor. To me, it's the perfect concerto. But I'm a lover of the classical period.

I expect that the result will show the Tchaikovsky in first, followed by Grieg, then Beethoven, then Rachmaninoff (#2), which are the anointed "Big Four" of concerti for piano. Personally, I prefer Rachmaninoff's Third to his Second; I have a rendition by Horowitz that is outstanding.

Sadly missing from the list is one of my favorites: the Mendelssohn First. But that's because at one time I attempted to learn it.
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  #11  
Old 12-05-2016, 08:26 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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One of my first LPs was Tchaikovsky's First with Graffman and Szell and the Cleveland. I remember every note.

Eta: even the bobbles.

Last edited by dropzone; 12-05-2016 at 08:27 PM..
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2016, 10:03 PM
Ukulele Ike Ukulele Ike is offline
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I voted for the Bee's First Piano Concerto mainly for the MONSTER final rondo movement. If there are piano duels in heaven, Ludwig will sit by while Mozart. Liszt, Fats Waller, and Art Tatum take their best shots, and then stroll out and knock out this third movement. Here's a nice theatrical version, with the orchestra standing around the pianist like they're rooting out a fox.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=E5q1YEAZsrU

The greatest Piano Concerto in history is of course Ferruccio Busoni's Opus 39 in C major from 1904. It NEVER gets played because a) it runs well over an hour; and b) you need a pianist of Busoni's virtuosity to play the fuckin' thing.

It's one of those wacky crazy early 20th century compositions full of nature mysticism and Masonic symbolism and general woo-woo stuff. Picture Gustav Mahler slow-dancing with Aleister Crowley.
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  #13  
Old 12-06-2016, 12:04 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
The greatest Piano Concerto in history is of course Ferruccio Busoni's Opus 39 in C major from 1904. It NEVER gets played because a) it runs well over an hour; and b) you need a pianist of Busoni's virtuosity to play the fuckin' thing.
I wouldn't call it "the greatest Piano Concerto in history," but I recommend the Garrick Ohlsson recording with Von Dohnanyi and the Cleveland Orchestra. It's almost 72 minutes.
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Old 12-06-2016, 12:53 AM
Eddie The Horrible Eddie The Horrible is offline
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Personally, I prefer Rachmaninoff's Third to his Second; I have a rendition by Horowitz that is outstanding.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOBX-89Xh0c

Long been a favourite of mine - there's some amazing passages in that, as well as Bartok #2.

I got a lot of listening to bone up on considering admittedly I haven't heard the majority of those selections - been more fixated on fringe stuff like Turina, Granados, Albeniz (Alicia de La Roccha is a hero!) And this weird Faure kick I've been on.
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  #15  
Old 12-06-2016, 03:56 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
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I don't think there's anything weird with being on a Faurť kick : his chamber music is amazing, up there with the best works in the genre of his near contemporaries Brahms and DvorŠk but they aren't played nearly as often, for some reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
...(I'm also rather fond of the Beethoven #2, which is conspicuously absent.)...
Yes, I have no idea what happened there. I shortlisted it of course, as my second post indirectly indicates, but noticed hours later that it wasn't there. I must have messed up while copy-pasting it into the poll .

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
My all-time, absolute fav is the Emperor. To me, it's the perfect concerto. But I'm a lover of the classical period.

I expect that the result will show the Tchaikovsky in first, followed by Grieg, then Beethoven, then Rachmaninoff (#2), which are the anointed "Big Four" of concerti for piano. Personally, I prefer Rachmaninoff's Third to his Second; I have a rendition by Horowitz that is outstanding.

Sadly missing from the list is one of my favorites: the Mendelssohn First. But that's because at one time I attempted to learn it.
I thought of including Mendelssohn's concertos but I had already reached 30 pieces and felt that they weren't quite as strong as the other selections. However, if I ever do a similar poll for violin concertos, his will be in for sure.

It seems that at the time of writing, your prediction is absolutely spot-on. And I clearly prefer Rachmaninoff's Third to his Second, too.

I must say I'm a bit disappointed to see that both Brahms concertos got an early lead but are now trailing. They're fantastic, ambitious masterpieces, in turn colossal and intimate, powerful and yearning, joyful and melancholy. Full of great tunes as well, but that's almost a given with Brahms.

I also hope that both Prokofievs will get a few votes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike View Post
... Picture Gustav Mahler slow-dancing with Aleister Crowley.
That's quite a picture, I need to listen to it, now. Which reminds me that I haven't included Scriabin's piano concerto in the poll. He was one of classical music great weirdos.
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  #16  
Old 12-06-2016, 05:33 AM
Mavic Chen Mavic Chen is offline
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The one Tom plays while Jerry distracts him ;-)
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  #17  
Old 12-06-2016, 06:36 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Espaces Du Sommeil View Post
I also hope that both Prokofievs will get a few votes.
I'm disappointed that no one else has voted for his Third. Is there a more exciting piano concerto?
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  #18  
Old 12-06-2016, 06:36 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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The one Tom plays while Jerry distracts him ;-)
And he plays without the standard number of fingers!
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  #19  
Old 12-06-2016, 09:06 AM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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Didn't notice that Beethoven #2 was missing. I like that concerto (though not so much the first movement). It was something I heard a lot during the period I played Europa Universalis 2 (roughly 2001 to 2006) because they used the 2nd and 3rd movements in the music for the last part of the game. I wish I had chosen that concerto back in 1975 to play.
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  #20  
Old 12-07-2016, 02:21 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
I'm disappointed that no one else has voted for his Third. Is there a more exciting piano concerto?
It seems to be the most popular of the five he wrote but personally, I prefer the Second, especially the sarcastic, march-like Intermezzo with the mocking bassoon runs and the big, heavy drum.
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2016, 12:52 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Espaces Du Sommeil View Post
. . . I also hope that both Prokofievs will get a few votes. . . .
I voted for his 2nd...but I actually prefer his first, which wasn't on the list. (Wah!)
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  #22  
Old 12-07-2016, 12:54 PM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Prokofiev and Saint-Saens each wrote five piano concertos that are all at least worth a listen.
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  #23  
Old 12-07-2016, 06:07 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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And Rachmaninoff wrote a total of four. The first and fourth are wonderful, though totally overshadowed in popularity by the 2nd and 3rd. Also worth mentioning are those by Scharwenka, Moszkowski, Delius, MacDowell, Thalberg, Rubinstein and Kevin Oldham.

Do we need a separate thread for "B-side" piano concertos?
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  #24  
Old 12-08-2016, 03:15 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
And Rachmaninoff wrote a total of four. The first and fourth are wonderful, though totally overshadowed in popularity by the 2nd and 3rd. Also worth mentioning are those by Scharwenka, Moszkowski, Delius, MacDowell, Thalberg, Rubinstein and Kevin Oldham.

Do we need a separate thread for "B-side" piano concertos?
Oh yeah, feel free to start one ! Just make sure to include personal favourites like the Poulenc, Barber, Ligeti and Lutoslawski concertos .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
I voted for his 2nd...but I actually prefer his first, which wasn't on the list. (Wah!)
The First is very good indeed, but I decided that 2 concertos by Prokofiev was enough and the Second and the Third struck me as the most memorable and representative of his style.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Prokofiev and Saint-Saens each wrote five piano concertos that are all at least worth a listen.
As far as the Prokofiev concertos are concerned, I only like the first three. The Fourth and the Fifth are not as great in my view. There's at least one of them that I find really not good considering who wrote it (is it the Fourth ?). It's probably not bad but Prokofiev has written much better stuff than that.
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  #25  
Old 12-08-2016, 08:57 AM
stillownedbysetters stillownedbysetters is offline
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I voted for the four I most enjoy playing

Mozart 20
Chopin 2
Brahms 2
Saint Saens 2
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  #26  
Old 12-09-2016, 04:00 AM
Les Espaces Du Sommeil Les Espaces Du Sommeil is offline
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OK, the thread seems to be winding down, so here are the results:

1 - Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23 is the winner with 11 votes. IIRC, it's been consistently ahead of all the other pieces since day 1. I knew it was popular - and it's been one of my personal favourites for over 25 years - but I didn't expect it to end up at the top spot.

2 - Then, we have three concertos tied for the second place: Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat major, Op. 73, Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16 and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18. No huge surprise, here either although I prefer Beethoven 4 and Rachmaninoff 3.

3 - Finally, three concertos again at the third place: Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K. 466, Brahms' s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 and Saint-SaŽns's Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22. I must say that I'm surprised at the latter success. Not that it's bad of course but I never thought it'd finish ahead of Brahms 1, Rachmaninoff 3, the other Mozarts and Beethovens as well as both Chopins and Liszts. On a more personal note, I'm glad that Brahms 2 got some late votes, it definitely belongs in the top 3 IMO. Overall, it's probably a stronger concerto than his First, but the latter's opening is one of the most gripping piece of music that Brahms ever wrote, which makes it hard for me to choose which one I prefer.
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  #27  
Old 12-09-2016, 12:49 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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I think that many will only choose one concerto as their "favorite" from any given composer, so, for example, the Rachmaninoff 3rd, though quite good (I prefer it to the 2nd, personally), won't get as many votes as it should, because those who vote for the 2nd won't also select the 3rd (in most cases). The same applies to Beethoven: the 4th is quite nice (I won't go so far as to say it's better than the Emperor, but it has some very interesting and fun passages, and the idea behind the 2nd movement is quite intriguing), but selecting both the 4th and the 5th is not likely to be done.

Grieg and Tchaikovsky get an advantage in that the first only wrote one concerto for piano (and an awesome classic it is!), and while Tchaikovsky wrote a second one, how often is it played, really? So if you like Tchaikovsky, there's only one concerto to select, really. And, with it's almost iconic opening piano chords, and the fact that the main first movement theme got appropriated for a popular 40s big band song ("Tonight We Love"), it's no shock it's in first place. Too bad, really, that it's the opening theme that gets all the love (since it disappears forever after the first three minutes of the piece). I much prefer the finale to the 3rd movement.
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  #28  
Old 12-09-2016, 04:40 PM
Biffy the Elephant Shrew Biffy the Elephant Shrew is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les Espaces Du Sommeil View Post
I also hope that both Prokofievs will get a few votes.
As DSYoungEsq noted above, the Tchaikovsky 1 gets most of its love for the them that was used in a popular song; with Prokofiev I'm particularly fond of the 5th concerto, specifically for the Vivo theme that was ripped off for Jesus Christ Superstar.
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  #29  
Old 02-13-2017, 10:55 PM
gkster gkster is offline
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I found this thread thanks to the link here http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=818987 and headed right over. My 4 votes went to (in order of preference) Beethoven's No. 5 (the Emperor), Chopin's No. 1, Mozart's No. 20 and Grieg. I was wavering as to whether to include Tchaikovsky's No. 1 but I didn't--I've always been disappointed at the fact that the piece doesn't do more with that grand opening theme and the way that the energy just seems to evaporate after the 1st 3 minutes. The end of the 3rd movement and the whole finale is wonderful but it feels like a long wait to get there after the opening.
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Old 02-14-2017, 12:47 AM
Aeschines Aeschines is offline
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Originally Posted by Les Espaces Du Sommeil View Post
I also hesitated between Gershwin and Schoenberg but decided to exclude the latter as it's probably not that popular. I'm not crazy about the Gershwin, though.
The Schoenberg is actually the one I care about. I mean, if it were on the list, it would be my favorite.
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