Gymnopedie - Eric Satie
Ecologue for Piano and Strings - Gerald Finzi
I was going to nominate Modest Mussorgsky’s "Pictures At An Exhibition", but during a little research learned that though the work became very popular and often performed after orchestrations were written for it in the early 1900’s, most famously by Maurice Ravel in 1922, Mussorgsky’s original piano transcription was written in 1874, and published in 1886, five years after the composer’s death. I love the work, both as performed on solo piano, and with full orchestration.
I don't know about being the greatest anything, but Stravinsky wrote some good stuff for solo piano. I really like this record and recommend it to anyone who is remotely interested in solo piano stuff.
Anyone up for Kaikhosru Sorabji’s "Opus Clavicembalisticum"? It is about 4.5 hours long and almost every minute is exhausting to listen to because of the complexity and changing rhythm. I particularly like the last two sections of the work (the fugue and the coda section).
I also agree that the Nancarro works are amazing. They are not conventional piano works and cannot possibly be played by a human.
Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", a uniquely American piece always has to be included in 20th century piano music. I agree with all of gregm's choices less the Massiaen piece but will sure check it out! The impressionistic work Clair de lune by Debussy would be on my list as well, less clear is when it was penned.
+1 on the Chiu suggestion
my additions would be the Shostakovich piano sonatas and something else I’m really into which reminds me of the Rzewski is Maxwell Davies’ “Farewell to Stromness” from The Yellowcake Review
Should we add particular interpretation we like? There are some recordings of a certain work that give an overall better impression. I am not talking about "audiophile" standards, but about the music itself. of course, it will depend on a personal taste, but it may be worth a try.
Having said that, all my favorites are from way before 20th century, save for Satie, so I cannot even participate. I will peruse this thread to explore, though. Thanks everybody.
As far as "improvised" 20th century music is concerned, two of the most fertile minds and virtuoso pianists were Art Tatum ( "I got rhythm" 1940 from the "California melodies" radio program) and Bud Powell ( "Tempus Fugit" 1949 Clef records) I love Scriabin and Nancarrow,but when it comes to emotionally charged,thrilling,fly by the seat of your pants piano I bow down to these two recordings. And yeah,Jazz WAS the greatest music of the 20th century....Was, I emphasize.
If you're interested in something relatively current,and noted as "Gourmet Jazz", I will highly recommend Bill Laurance : " After Sun,"" Swift", or "Flint "( "Ready Wednesday" - My personal fav ). I originally downloaded Flint from HD Tracks, then "Live at Union Chapel" and "After Sun" recently, but "Swift" was from his website. All are exceptionally well recorded and addictive.
Robert Greenberg, music historian and educator, has a course: The 23 Greatest Solo Piano Works. His choices from the 21st century are:
Ligeti - Etudes
The last one might miss the 20th century (2001) but I always found these very enjoyable. I just realized I don’t have the third book :(
I am going to mention 3 works I did not see above that I think have to be on this list. First, the Shostakovich piano quintet and his piano trio number 2. I would also add the Prokofiev Concerto #3. A couple more pieces that I would not necessarily call great works, but works that I perceive to be under appreciated. Those would be the Copland piano concerto, and Symphony no. 3 by Rued Langaard (you either like Langaard or you don't).
I'd love to see @devilboy, @schubert, @frogman, and @learsfool weigh in on this thread. Especially with respect to hidden gems that beg for more play time.
Speaking of Shostakovich, an addition to the many great nominations already made would have to be his “24 Preludes and Fugues”. Inspired by a visit to J.S. Bach’s home this work is in the mold of Bach’s “The Well Tempered Clavier” in that it offers one prelude and fugue in each of the twelve major and minor keys. Anyone new to this work should probably start with the recording by Tatyana Nikolayeva (Hyperion) who premiered the work.
Two nominations for hidden gems would be another Bach inspired work, Ferrucio Busoni’s “Fantasia Contraputtista” and Leos Janacek’s “In The Mists”.
Since Jazz has been mentioned, I would second the nominations of the Ravel piano works for, not only their greatness in their own right, but also their profound influence on improvising pianists, most notably Bill Evans.