Brian Wise covers the classical music business for WQXR, including aspects of performance, technology, philanthropy and institutional trends. He manages the station's homepage and makes sure what you hear on air is what you see online. Follow him on Twitter at @Briancwise.
Video: Is This the Most Difficult Piano Piece Ever Written?
Tuesday, April 03, 2012 - 02:03 PM
Ravel's Scarbo is considered one of the most fearsome virtuoso works in the piano repertoire. The composer is said to have written the piece in 1908 in a conscious attempt to out-difficult Balakirev's Islamey – then considered the hardest piece ever written for the keyboard.
Because of its technical challenges, Scarbo is a relatively rarity in piano recitals. But the New York-based Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan has decided virtuosity shouldn't be an end in itself. He asked the artist Zack Smithey and videographer Tristan Cook to create their own video vignettes for the piece, along with several others on his forthcoming album, "Darknesse Visible."
Watch this performance of Scarbo and tell us what you think: Is it the hardest piece ever? If not, what’s more difficult?