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World Violist

Today's Alkan Experience

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So I've been listening to more Alkan today, as my friend known in the forums as Orange Soda King loves Alkan and has heard a lot of his music. We talked about Alkan and Sorabji a lot over supper (I'll post about Sorabji later) and later listened to the solo concerto (Hamelin's second recording), among a few other pieces.

I suppose the primary reason for my posting of this is to try to realize my astonishment at the solo piano concerto, which I can't really do well. The structure is marvelous, never degenerating into either showboating or long passages of just notes; in other words the structure is always present, and Hamelin does some magical things with voicing and (obviously) technique that are so unassuming that one is just listening to the music. I probably wouldn't have noticed that anything was really difficult excepting that I was following the score.

After that we listened to a wild performance of "Comme le vent," one of Alkan's more spectacular character pieces, and then a bit of his first chamber concerto. The beginning sounds almost exactly like Brahms. The scary thing: Brahms wasn't even born yet.


  1. Orange Soda King's Avatar
    I have a couple more miniatures we can listen to sometime if you'd like. I feel that Alkan was just as much a master with small scale works as he was with large scale works.