Adventurous piano Music of the composer in whose presence even Franz Liszt was afraid to play. Piano music ranging from the miniaturist to the gigantic.
Both modern Steinway and period Erard piano are used in this set, a fascinating way of comparison. Charles-Valentin Alkan, often called ‘the Berlioz of the piano’, that mysterious, reclusive genius of the Romantic epoch, will forever be linked in our imagination to Chopin and Liszt, both of whom caught the Parisian public’s attention to a greater extent than did Alkan.
Were they and their music more acceptable to the public due to the greater accessibility of many of their works, neither so uncompromisingly ‘difficult’ as Alkan can be in his music? These demands on the listener take the form of extending a musical idea to the limit of its development – often, in the most extreme cases (e.g. the climax of ‘Quasi-Faust’), leaving the listener feeling as if he or she had been through a hurricane. Might this tendency be traceable to his strictly orthodox Jewish heritage and schooling in Talmudic logic? With Alkan, that extraordinary pianist before whom it is said that Liszt himself felt nervous to perform, the exception, compositionally speaking, becomes the rule.
7 Esquisses Op.63 -- No.2: La Stacatissimo
No.3: Le Legatissimo
No.21: Morituri Te Salutant
No.11: Les Soupirs
No.46: Le Premier Billet Doux
Le Festin d'Esope Op.39 No.12
Le Temps Qui N'est Plus, Prelude Op.31 No.12
Allegretto ("Fa") Op.38b No.2
Grand Sonata "Les Quatre Ages" Op.33: I. 20 Ans - Scherzo