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Thread: Alkan piano concerts

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    I bought a new CD today with Alkan piano concerts. I think Alkan is not well known, but his works are amazing. He was a "contrahent" of Liszt, and i think was stepped over by Liszt nowadays.

    I like Alkan much. He has more melodic invention than Liszt. He mostly wrote piano solo stuff. Parts of his concerts i bought are reconstructed actually, but i think they are worse to be listened to.

    Naxos 8.553702 ALKAN: Piano Concerto, Op. 39 / Concerti da Camera

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    I never heard of this composer, "Alkan." Hmmm...perhaps I should go buy a cd of it, heh.
    ~*~The Angel of Music Sings Songs In Your Head~*~

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Alkan is a French composer, rare played and unknown today - unfortunetly

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    Alkan actually rised to fame b4 Liszt...but people obviously got dazzled by his showmanship and left Alkan where he still is pretty much today. It's a crying shame that people know only Liszt. It's really sad. Good sharing Daniel!
    I read about Alkan in a very small section of Music Unbuttoned...I think...Can't seem to remember much nowadays. My memory must be failing me.
    Actually I really hate playing liszt... I find his works rather 'unartistic', except perhaps his Sonata in B minor...which just so happens to be like one big variation and technical ex to me.
    I think yr right, Alkan has more melodic concepts. But it may have to do with the fact that he was a French.

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    But frankly speaking, not everyone can understand and accept Alkan, esp. for non-musically educated folks. He may be too chromatic for em, too massive also. I think that's the reason why he's less known than Liszt, Chopin etc. History has proved that to be well-known and adored by the mass, u must produced works that can be interpreted and accepted at their level. U will not get the exposure u need, unless u write music for the mass. Alkan is too mature for non-musicians.
    His entire op.39 (etudes in all the minor keys) is amazing. His Symphony and Concerto should not be missed. I find his works ambitious and very 'orchestral' in sound as compared to Listz. Liszt works seem 'introvert' when compared to Alkan. I think he's a combination of Liszt, Chopin and Rach. The Grand Sonata is also a great example, and be sure to listen to the Trois Morcaeux dans Le Genre Pathetique.

    Hamelin plays Alkan like no one also. I mean, com'ron, to play Alkan, u must be one hell of a pianist. His works come no easier than Liszt. :angry:
    It's a real pity that no one seems to know him... Alkan was 'shy' unlike Liszt who often travelled to 'marvel' music fanatics.
    If only he was a show-off like Liszt! We'll all be sweating Alkan's works, not his.

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    It's a real pity that no one seems to know him... Alkan was 'shy' unlike Liszt who often travelled to 'marvel' music fanatics.
    If only he was a show-off like Liszt! We'll all be sweating Alkan's works, not his.
    Agree! Agree! ^_^
    I'm tired of people cloudding Liszt. It was as if he was all that ever existed!

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    Senior Member Daniel's Avatar
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    Hamelin plays Alkan like no one also. I mean, com'ron, to play Alkan, u must be one hell of a pianist. His works come no easier than Liszt.
    I totally agree! I think in technique Alkan is one of the most difficult to play!
    I think he's a combination of Liszt, Chopin and Rach.
    Yes, and in his earlier works you see some young Mendelssohn :P

    By the way the concert CD from Naxos to which i referred at the beginning is very cheap B) 5 € or around 6,50 $ , a MUST

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    By the way the concert CD from Naxos to which i referred at the beginning is very cheap 5 € or around 6,50 $ , a MUST
    Ha! Nothing beats the competition like a cheap but Great CD!
    Okay, I'm getting it.

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    Yes, and in his earlier works you see some young Mendelssohn
    LOL...
    U really do adore Mendelssohn? Maybe u can share with us what is it that u like about him?
    Maybe u can write an article on him. I'm sure an article by his fervant listener will be great!

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    Talking

    yes daniel, do that

    I am waiting for the article

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    Hallo friends,

    I might add some information about Charles Valentin Alkan, born Morhange, the very special composer and pianist. The source of the information is the book by Ronald Smith "Alkan, the man, the music".

    Alkan lived from 1813 till 1888. He stayed all is his mysterious life in Paris, apart from two short visits to London. His 4 brothers and single sister were all very good musicians. CV must have been an incredeable pianist, performing at the same time in Paris as Chopin, Lizst, Mendelsohn, Thalberg, Kalkbrenner and Zimmerman. Alkan was the single pianist about which Liszt considered his own technical skills as "inferior". All those pianist performed sometimes at the same concerts.... What thrilling time must that have been!! The admiration by Liszt wasnt vice versa. Alkan felt more attracted to his friends and collegues Chopin, Schumann and Mendelsohn. Alkan was a child of the real french school ("style severe") with clear legato playing without rubato. For a longer time he was the neighbour of Chopin, spending many houres together!!

    In 1838, at the age of of 25 years, Alkan suddenly disappeared from the stage. The reason is unknown, but is thought to be the birth of Elie Delaborde, the later famous pianist, which is almost certainly Alkan's child. The mother is unknown... Another reason might have been "nerves". Alkan always prefered playing for his collegues and not for an audience.

    In 1873, at the age of 60 years, her reappeared again on the stage with his series of "Petit Concerts".

    It is told that Alkan did pass away after being hit by his bookcase by taking out the Talmud, about which he had great knowledge, but for this story isnt any prove. No eyewidnesses or police-reports.

    Bad luck, revolutions and war are the mean reasons why Alkan's work were till Busoni unknown and unplayed.

    A first "rescue-operation" was performed by Busoni, in 1906, but.... in Berlin, the very wrong place at the wrong moment. The reception was hostile. Another great pianist who did add Alkan on his repertoire was Kaikhosru Sorabji, but the second world war did prevent the spreading of Alkan's name.

    The real rising of his star started in the early 1970, especially in Britain and America.

    Lot of information about Alkan and his opinions is found in his correspondence with Hiller. Especially interesting is the information about the way Chopin did approach his music and his way of playing!

    Andantegorgonzola
    :wub:

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DW View Post
    But frankly speaking, not everyone can understand and accept Alkan, esp. for non-musically educated folks. He may be too chromatic for em, too massive also. I think that's the reason why he's less known than Liszt, Chopin etc. History has proved that to be well-known and adored by the mass, u must produced works that can be interpreted and accepted at their level. U will not get the exposure u need, unless u write music for the mass. Alkan is too mature for non-musicians.
    His entire op.39 (etudes in all the minor keys) is amazing. His Symphony and Concerto should not be missed. I find his works ambitious and very 'orchestral' in sound as compared to Listz. Liszt works seem 'introvert' when compared to Alkan. I think he's a combination of Liszt, Chopin and Rach. The Grand Sonata is also a great example, and be sure to listen to the Trois Morcaeux dans Le Genre Pathetique.

    Hamelin plays Alkan like no one also. I mean, com'ron, to play Alkan, u must be one hell of a pianist. His works come no easier than Liszt. :angry:
    It's a real pity that no one seems to know him... Alkan was 'shy' unlike Liszt who often travelled to 'marvel' music fanatics.
    If only he was a show-off like Liszt! We'll all be sweating Alkan's works, not his.
    Yes--when I first heard his Funeral March For A Papagallo I thought to myself ,"This can only be for musically educated folks ". I think it's a blessing that we've got people like you to guide us when we are merely members of the mass.

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    Agree! Agree! ^_^
    I'm tired of people cloudding Liszt. It was as if he was all that ever existed!
    Would you like to translate this---I don't understand any of it.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    I doubt that these members are still around, Moody. There is an Alkan nut around here somewhere though.

    I very much enjoy his music, but have zilch in the technical expertise category. I'm pretty much restricted to 'wow' and 'yay'.
    I spent a fortune on deodorant before I realized that people don't like me anyway.

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    Senior Member (Ret) moody's Avatar
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    Thanks I should have looked at the date.

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