"Big" Pieces for Audition Repertoire

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
My teacher told me I need to play something "big" and she said either Liszt or Rachmaninoff. I've played the Rach Elegie but have never played Liszt. She said a Liszt etude maybe? I like the Rachmaninoff Etude in d and think it would be easier than a Liszt etude. What would be a good liszt or rachmaninoff piece. I'll be using this as part of my audition/senior recital program so it I agree it needs to be good!
Josh in MS

Dear Josh,

Oooooo. I really dislike programming for judges. (Of course, I understand your dilemma.) I can make recommendations, but remember that I've never heard you play and I don't have a sense of your strengths and weaknesses.

There are a couple Rachmaninoff etudes in D minor, but I assume you are thinking of the calmer one. If you like it, then you should play it! Otherwise, many of the Liszt etudes aren't as hard as they sound (and many of the Rachmaninoff etudes are harder than they sound!). The second Transcendental Etude (in A minor) is pretty straightforward, but it packs a punch (perhaps your best bet). "Wilde Jagd" is a little tougher but still manageable. "Waldesrauschen" and "Gnomenreigen" are both good choices. "Un Sospiro" and the fifth of the Paganini etudes aren't especially "big," but they are beautiful pieces of moderate difficulty. Outside of the etudes - Liszt's transcription ofDanse macabre by Saint-Saens is very impressive and not too difficult. It may not be "serious" enough for an audition. There are a couple movements from the Annees de pelerinage that could be appropriate - the Sonettos, Au Bord d'une Source and, Les Jeux d'Eaux a la Villa d'Este.

As for Rachmaninoff, have you considered some of the Preludes from Op. 23? Or the Moments musicaux?

- Greg