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I started learning to play the piano in September last year. I am taking private lessons from a young man who is a very skilled pianist and also a good teacher, but I happen to be his first student. I am 27 years old (and therefore should be considered an adult learner). My teacher is only 19 - but he's been learning since he was 4.

My teacher recommends that I learn one piece each from the baroque, classical, romantic and post-romantic ages, simultaneously - that is, 4 pieces at once (and I think this makes good sense).

Since September, I have learnt the following:


JS Bach - WTC Book I Prelude I - Prelude in C Major (DONE) - was the first piece I learnt

CPE Bach - Solfeggio (just starting to learn) - is the fourth piece I'm learning


M Clementi - Sonatina in C Major Op. 36 No. 1 (ALMOST DONE) - is my third piece


F Chopin - Prelude in E Minor Op. 28 No. 4 (DONE) - was my second piece

Post-romantic: Nothing learnt yet.

As you can see, I need a new piece for the post-romantic and romantic eras, and will very soon need a new piece for the classical era. (The Solfeggio though will probably be my baroque piece for a good while.)

I'm looking for recommendations for pieces I should learn in the above 3 areas. Pieces which are played by professionals are particularly attractive to me. Pieces written for children are particularly unattractive - as you can imagine, at 27 years of age I don't like to feel that I'm at the level of a good 5-year-old, although this is probably objectively true.

I would also be grateful for comments regarding the progression of pieces outlined - whether it makes sense, whether it doesn't, what could be changed, and comments on my progress.

Thanks a lot!

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closed as off topic by nonpop, Dr Mayhem, Wheat Williams, American Luke, Matthew Read Feb 28 '13 at 16:43

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By post-romantic do you mean the Debussy-Ravel-Rachmaninoff era, or do you mean everything up to the present day? –  terpsichore Feb 25 '13 at 4:21
I'd say 90% of what Rach wrote should be called late-romantic, and not post-romantic. FOR MY PURPOSES, post-romantic means everything starting from Debussy to the present day (although this may not be a technically correct definition). My understanding of present-day classical piano music though, is that it is highly technical, and completely unsuitable for beginners like me. I would obviously love to be proved wrong. –  Velvet Ghost Feb 25 '13 at 21:08
OK. Many people make a division between post-romantic (Debussy-Ravel-Rachmaninoff etc) and contemporary. Or between pre-1950 and post-1950. –  terpsichore Feb 26 '13 at 16:46
Yes, I am aware of this, but for my purposes I don't need to distinguish between them. –  Velvet Ghost Feb 27 '13 at 3:12
Recommendations are off-topic here; see the FAQ. –  Matthew Read Feb 28 '13 at 16:43

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

These recommendations assume that it took you between 2 and 6 months to learn each of the pieces you've mentioned. You're definitely already in the intermediate stage and should be congratulated on your progress!

Baroque: Try a selection from one of the suites by Handel. Maybe the Allemande, Allegro or Aria from the Suite in G major HWV 441, or the Sarabande from the Suite no. 4 in D minor.
In the near future (but maybe not the very next piece), try one or more of J.S. Bach's Two-Part Inventions.

Classical: If Clementi went well you're ready for the easier Haydn or Beethoven sonatas and sonatinas. Try:
Beethoven - Sonatina in G major Anh. 5, two movements, or the first movement of Sonata in F minor Op. 2 no. 1
Haydn - Sonata/Divertimento Hob. XVI:1, 27 or 28 (choose one movement)

Romantic: Albeñiz, one or two selections from España
Schumann, Traumerei (Dreaming) from Kinderszenen. Kinderszenen is not intended for children to play -- it is a set of pieces that represent an adult looking back on memories of childhood.
Grieg, three or four of the Lyric Pieces Op. 12

Post-romantic: There are all kinds of difficulty levels in this period too, so don't panic.
What about Bartok, one of the Six Roumanian Dances? All six would be a lot to bite off right now, but they are short, and one ought to be doable. Those are very enjoyable to play.

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I should add two or more of the Minuets from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. This book was put together by J.S. Bach. He wrote some of the pieces in it, Christian Petzold wrote others, and some are anonymous. They will seem easy now, but it's important to get used to playing music with 2 melodies at once before you dive into the Inventions or anything more complicated with multiple voices (simultaneous melodies). –  terpsichore Feb 26 '13 at 16:55
Thanks a lot for the recommendations! This was just what I needed! As I mentioned, I started learning to play the piano in September last year, so I've had around 6 months in all - not 6 months on each piece. –  Velvet Ghost Feb 27 '13 at 3:18
About Baroque: My teacher actually thought of giving me a two-part invention after I learned the Prelude in C Major, but then reconsidered and gave me the CPE Bach Solfeggio instead. Your opinion seems to reinforce the fact the the two-part inventions are above my level right now, so I'll certainly try the Handel. –  Velvet Ghost Feb 27 '13 at 3:18
About Romantic: I've never heard Albeñiz, but I'll check him out. I am quite familiar with Kinderszenen, and I know it wasn't written for children. I actually suggested Traumerei to my teacher earlier, but he'd rather that I wait a bit before attempting that. I haven't heard the Grieg - I'll check it out! –  Velvet Ghost Feb 27 '13 at 3:20
About Post-romantic: This is where I was completely clueless, since I haven't heard much post-romantic music. Thanks for the recommendation of the Bartok. I just started learning Satie's first Gymnopedie, but my teacher says that's very easy and shouldn't take long - I'll tackle the Bartok after that! –  Velvet Ghost Feb 27 '13 at 3:22

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