Author Topic: Charles Valentin Alkan  (Read 20190 times)

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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2008, 07:19:01 AM »


I need more Alkan. More that sounds like this CD.

Time to resurrect this thread, methinks.  :)

Here's a number of recordings I can recommend without reservations:



I have no time for comments at the moment, but, hopefully, by the time I'll return here there'll be opinions and further recommendations for you. I'd suggest you start with the Gibbons' set; a perennial favourite of mine.

mn dave

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #21 on: July 11, 2008, 07:21:54 AM »
Hey, thanks. I'll wish-list those.

I look forward to any additions and comments.

Offline Ten thumbs

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #22 on: July 11, 2008, 10:39:46 AM »
Hey, thanks. I'll wish-list those.

I look forward to any additions and comments.
Marco Polo also have the chamber works, namely:
Grand duo concertant Op21 violin and piano
Sonata de concert Op47 cello and piano
Trio in g minor Op30
Of these I rate the cello work the finest but Op21 has an extraordinary slow movement entitled 'l'enfer'.
A day may be a destiny; for life
Lives in but little—but that little teems
With some one chance, the balance of all time:
A look—a word—and we are wholly changed.

Offline not edward

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2008, 08:05:50 AM »
Marco Polo also have the chamber works, namely:
Grand duo concertant Op21 violin and piano
Sonata de concert Op47 cello and piano
Trio in g minor Op30
Of these I rate the cello work the finest but Op21 has an extraordinary slow movement entitled 'l'enfer'.
This disc has now been re-issued on Naxos. FWIW, I second these remarks regarding the music.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2008, 11:29:02 PM »
Marco Polo also have the chamber works...
This disc has now been re-issued on Naxos.

I wouldn't recommend this release. The interpretations are too generic and failed to make a favourable impession. You'd do much better with either the Henkel/Papavrami/Sermet disc (sonate de concert and grand duo concertant only) on Auvidis Valois or the already mentioned Klark/Welsh/Smith set. Both contain excellent and idiomatic readings of these wonderful works.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2008, 12:06:56 AM by Wanderer »

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2008, 12:05:55 AM »

An incandescent reading of the op.39/8-10 concerto for solo piano which surpasses in fiery passion and - especially -  nuance Hamelin's previous recording of the work. Personally, I find Gibbons a bit more engaging and soulful overall (especially in the slow movement and the lyrical moments of the gargantuan first movement) but there's no denying this is an impressive release.


Essential. Both the Grande Sonate and the Sonatine are important works and Hamelin makes them full justice. Hamelin's rendition of the sonata's second "Quasi-Faust" movement has to be heard to be believed.


I'd also recommend this as an essential purchase. It contains all the chamber works in exemplary readings, plus a number of solo piano works impeccably performed by Smith. Alternatively, the Auvidis Valois disc of the sonate de concert and grand duo concertant that I mentioned above is also warmly recommended.


Warmly recommended, but not at the expense of the Gibbons set. Apart from the op.39/4-7 symphony, the other included works give us a view of the darkly romantic side of Alkan. Super flumina Babylonis is an interesting glimpse of Alkan's unfulfilled grand vision of setting the Bible to music.


Alkan-wise, this impressive recital contains the transcendental op.76 Trois Grandes Etudes (the first for the right hand, the second for the left hand and the third - should the pianist survive - for the two hands reunited) as well as Alkan's transcription of the first movement of Beethoven's third piano concerto (complete with a mammoth cadenza, redolent of Alkanesque weirdness and relentless Beethovenian gravitas).


The complete op.39 is here given an impressively virtuosic and idiomatic treatment. This would be my top overall recommendation. A wealth of smaller - but not insignificant - works and miniatures is also included, performed with the same dedication.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2008, 09:09:17 AM »
Nice write-up, Tasos! Thank you.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Ten thumbs

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2008, 01:18:28 PM »
I wouldn't recommend this release. The interpretations are too generic and failed to make a favourable impession. You'd do much better with either the Henkel/Papavrami/Sermet disc (sonate de concert and grand duo concertant only) on Auvidis Valois or the already mentioned Klark/Welsh/Smith set. Both contain excellent and idiomatic readings of these wonderful works.
Thank you. I was wondering if there were better interpretations.
Have you any recommendations for 'Chemin de Fer'? This is a real horror to play with ten thumbs, especially plus a bit of arthritis! I'd like to have a recording.
A day may be a destiny; for life
Lives in but little—but that little teems
With some one chance, the balance of all time:
A look—a word—and we are wholly changed.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #28 on: August 03, 2008, 12:03:45 AM »

That's a dupe  :P

How do you mean? I remember thinking about getting this, just to hear how one might orchestrate it.

This disc won't give you much of an idea of how to orchestrate Alkan, unfortunately. Klindworth's efforts in this direction are at best pedestrian and unnecessary. I'd give it a miss--the couplings are little better as you can get the first two Concerti da camera in much better performances with Hamelin (coupled with the legendarily difficult Henselt concerto) and the third is merely a reconstructed fragment.

I agree. Nothing special or worthwhile here. Furthermore, it has to be mentioned that only a truncated version of the first movement (op.39/8) is included, not the entire concerto. Not a big loss, considering the unimaginative (including the performers) result.

The only appealing thing about this disc is the reconstructed third concerto da camera with its haunting and memorable theme. I believe that's the only recording of it. The other two concerti da camera are better performed by Hamelin on Hyperion.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 12:37:38 AM by Wanderer »

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #29 on: August 03, 2008, 12:30:21 AM »
Have you any recommendations for 'Chemin de Fer'? This is a real horror to play with ten thumbs, especially plus a bit of arthritis! I'd like to have a recording.

The recording I have is by Laurent Martin on Naxos.

I don't remember much about it (as I don't really care for this particular piece and I haven't listened to this recording for a while) but the collection (études, esquisses, préludes, impromptus; some of them played by Ringeissen) is quite generous in its selection and well performed.

There's another recording of it listed on jpc.de, again by Martin, but I'm not sure whether it's a new recording or a repackaging of the Naxos.

Esquisses op. 63 Nr. 4, 10, 11, 37, 45, 48
Le Chemin de Fer op. 27
Recueil de Chants pour piano op. 65
Les Mois op. 74 (Ausz.)
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 12:35:54 AM by Wanderer »

ChamberNut

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2008, 09:07:42 AM »
OMG!  I just got my official introduction to Charles-Valentin Alkan last night.

I'm just floored, WOW!!  Loved it  :)

Concerto for solo piano Op. 39/8 Allegro Assai

Marc-Andre Hamelin, piano
Hyperion

Offline orbital

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2008, 09:33:50 AM »
OMG!  I just got my official introduction to Charles-Valentin Alkan last night.

I'm just floored, WOW!!  Loved it  :)

Concerto for solo piano Op. 39/8 Allegro Assai

Marc-Andre Hamelin, piano
Hyperion
Welcome to the club  :)

I guess the symphony should be to your liking as well. Hamelin recorded that one too.
The Alkan trinity is then complete with the Grand Sonata, alas Hamelin did not record that one yet. After that there are tons of other smaller scale pieces you could get into.

DFO

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2008, 04:22:28 PM »
Correction:
Grande Sonate "les Quatre Ages"+sonatine+Barcarolle+
Le Festin d'Essope. MA Hamelin, Hyperion 66794 :D :D

Offline orbital

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #33 on: August 18, 2008, 01:08:46 PM »
Correction:
Grande Sonate "les Quatre Ages"+sonatine+Barcarolle+
Le Festin d'Essope. MA Hamelin, Hyperion 66794 :D :D
Shoot! I always think of that album as being Lewenthal's for some reason :-[ :-[

Offline not edward

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #34 on: August 18, 2008, 05:18:20 PM »
Shoot! I always think of that album as being Lewenthal's for some reason :-[ :-[
Lewenthal only recorded the Quasi-Faust movement of the sonata, as far as I know. Shame, really.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
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Offline Taxes-

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2011, 04:34:47 PM »

karlhenning

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2011, 05:48:41 PM »
Gosh, has the Alkan thread lain dormant for two years? That ain't right . . . .

Offline Dax

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #37 on: June 08, 2011, 02:09:42 AM »
Here's a version of the Ouverture op 39 no 11 for tuned percussion orchestra

http://www.sendspace.com/file/h4r5nr

cilgwyn

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #38 on: June 08, 2011, 03:17:38 AM »
I am ashamed to admit I have never heard a 'note' of Alkan,but the cover art on the Hyperion cd is temptation itself. The Painting on the 'Symphony' cd is spectacularly ghoulish. But a tad small. That would have made a great LP sleeve,preferably a gatefold! (Like one of those 'Yes' albums,or even with the figures as a 'pop up',like the old LP sleeve for Jethro Tull's 'Stand up',which regrettably doesn't stand up,anymore). A fold out poster like the one's you get in 'pop' cd's would be highly desirable & I could use my Philips Steam Iron on a low setting to get it nice and flat.(It deserves better than the shirt off my back).
Fools like me,would rush in.

Apparently its 'The Battle of the Lenore' or 'The Dead go Fast' (and,presumably,even faster,if they'd invented cars,then) (1839) by Horace Vernet (1789-1863). This is the one set by Raff in his rather nice Fifth symphony.
Ok,back to Alkan,the music................


cilgwyn

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Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
« Reply #39 on: June 08, 2011, 03:19:06 AM »
Or what about having the horseman on a rotating wheel,like the Led Zeppelin Lp?

Ok,I'm off,before I end up on a rotating wheel!
« Last Edit: June 08, 2011, 03:30:00 AM by cilgwyn »