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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: alkan on May 16, 2007, 03:37:24 AM

Title: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: alkan on May 16, 2007, 03:37:24 AM
I will start a thread on behalf of my beloved namesake.

Anyone else out there who is attuned to this incredible composer?      What appeals to me is not just the unbelievable difficulty and virtuosity of the writing, but the incredible originality and spirituality of the music.     It easily merits its place alongside that of his contempories Chopin and Liszt

My favourite recordings are

1. Studies in the minor keys, Op 39, by Jack Gibbons     (the best version ever recorded)
2. The Grande Sonate for Cello and Piano,  by Husseyn Sermet and Christoph Heynkel  (the central adagio is the most beautiful and emotional pieces of all music)
3.  The organ studies, by Kevin Bowyer   (a recent discovery and an absolute revelation).

I urge everyone who likes piano music to discover the wonderful and often bizzarre world of Alkan

Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Brewski on May 16, 2007, 04:34:53 AM
3.  The organ studies, by Kevin Bowyer   (a recent discovery and an absolute revelation).

I do like Alkan, although my exposure is minimal to date.  As a huge fan of Marc-André Hamelin, I bought his Alkan recordings and was properly astounded by what I was hearing.  But I can't say I "know" these works well yet. 

PS, I just heard a great recital by Kevin Bowyer here a few months ago, of 20th-century works (no Alkan, alas).  He was one of the best organists I've ever heard. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: orbital on May 16, 2007, 04:51:26 AM
I like Alkan quite a bit as well. The Op39 etudes being at the top of the heap of course (I have not heard Gibbons, my favorite is Smith. I think he undferstands Alkan much more than other performers attempting to play his music).
Esquissez, preludes, the sonatine, andante romantique and especially the grand sonata are other pieces I enjoy a lot.

I have not heard his chamber, but I guess I should soon
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: alkan on May 16, 2007, 05:01:40 AM
My first exposure to Alkan was via the Ronald Smith set of Op 39, and it is a very fine, pioneering set.      But when I heard the Gibbons set I was astounded.      His virtuosity and control at high-speed are unbelievable and many passages are quite hair-raising.    And it's not pure showmanship ..... his readings of the slower pieces are very poetic and satisfying.     Much as I like and respect Smith, for me Gibbons is clearly superior.

I have one disc of Hamelin, the concerto for piano.      It too is pretty good, but Gibbons is still supreme in this work.    Majestic, powerful and exciting.

Kevin Bowyer is indeed a magnificent organist.      I just got his Alkan disc on Tocatta Classics.     I love it and even though I know most of Alkan's piano music, I am amazed by some of these organ studies.      Even better, it is Vol 1 of a projected 3 disc series.
I can't wait for the others.        There is also an earlier (1992) CD that he recorded on Nimbus.   I have to get that now ....
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: dtwilbanks on May 16, 2007, 05:05:03 AM
I just purchased Alkan's opus 31 preludes but have not given them a listen yet. They are performed by Laurent Martin.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: orbital on May 16, 2007, 05:24:03 AM

I have one disc of Hamelin, the concerto for piano.      It too is pretty good, but Gibbons is still supreme in this work.    Majestic, powerful and exciting.

Have you heard this one?
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/415FCWARAEL._AA240_.jpg)

Latimer (who, I understand, is originally a jazz pianist) plays the concerto live here, and the whole experience is very different from the studio sessions.

With Alkan, since there are so few pianists play his music, the ones that do tend to be good in general. I can't imagine somebody learning these works (although they know it's not going to sell well) without loving them. So perhaps that's why I have not heard a really bad performance. And from those I've heard Hamelin seems to be the furthest from what I envision Alkan to be.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: SonicMan46 on May 16, 2007, 05:24:49 AM
For those interested, here's a 'short' THREAD on Alkan (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,8838.0.html) in the old forum (believe there might have been another) - plenty of recommendations made there -  :D
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: alkan on May 16, 2007, 07:01:52 AM
Thanks Orbitel.      I will have a closer look at the Mark Latimer disc .... looks intriguing.

I believe that Jack Gibbons did perform ALL of Op 39 at a concert in London some time ago.     Quite a staggering feat !!    But the CD set are recorded in the studio, although they sound pretty spontaneous to me.   Certainly some hair-raising moments for whether he will manage to keep control at the speed he goes at  (especially the first study .....comme le vent !).

Laurent Martin is another fine interpreter.    I have his set of the studies in the major keys and it is excellent.    Also, the railroad  (le chemin de fer).

I'll check the old thread as well ....thanks for the tip.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: dtwilbanks on May 16, 2007, 10:04:27 AM
I just purchased Alkan's opus 31 preludes but have not given them a listen yet. They are performed by Laurent Martin.

I have now listened to this disc. Count me in as an Alkan fan.  :)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: George on May 16, 2007, 10:15:02 AM
I like Alkan quite a bit as well. The Op39 etudes being at the top of the heap of course (I have not heard Gibbons, my favorite is Smith. I think he undferstands Alkan much more than other performers attempting to play his music).
Esquissez, preludes, the sonatine, andante romantique and especially the grand sonata are other pieces I enjoy a lot.

I have not heard his chamber, but I guess I should soon

Is it that Smith the EMI two-fer? I gotta get that one.   
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: dtwilbanks on May 16, 2007, 10:17:37 AM
Is it that Smith the EMI two-fer? I gotta get that one.   

I think me too, if I ever see one.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: orbital on May 16, 2007, 10:23:54 AM
Is it that Smith the EMI two-fer? I gotta get that one.   
Yep. There are 2 volumes which collectively make up the Op39 set, But one CD has the Symphony and the concerto on it if that's what you are interested in. And luckily that is the CD that is easily available. The other CD which completes the op 39 set might need some second hand shopping :)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: George on May 16, 2007, 10:25:05 AM
I think me too, if I ever see one.

 Sweet salvation, your highness!  (http://www.amazon.com/Alkan-Piano-Works-Ronald-Smith/dp/B0000CE7FF/ref=sr_1_2/104-9940619-5277532?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1179343391&sr=8-2)  0:)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: BachQ on May 16, 2007, 10:25:46 AM
For those interested, here's a 'short' THREAD on Alkan (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php/topic,8838.0.html) in the old forum (believe there might have been another) - plenty of recommendations made there -  :D

Actually, the "other" thread relates back to your Alkan thread, so, at bottom, there's only one . . . . . .
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: dtwilbanks on May 16, 2007, 10:36:39 AM
Sweet salvation, your highness!  (http://www.amazon.com/Alkan-Piano-Works-Ronald-Smith/dp/B0000CE7FF/ref=sr_1_2/104-9940619-5277532?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1179343391&sr=8-2)  0:)

Ha! Well, I knew I could order it online.  :)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: orbital on May 16, 2007, 10:36:52 AM
Sweet salvation, your highness!  (http://www.amazon.com/Alkan-Piano-Works-Ronald-Smith/dp/B0000CE7FF/ref=sr_1_2/104-9940619-5277532?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1179343391&sr=8-2)  0:)
yes but there is this one too  :-\
http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Works-Alkan/dp/B00006YX6V/ref=sr_1_6/102-3015269-3508938?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1179344255&sr=1-6

=edited link
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: George on May 16, 2007, 10:41:24 AM
yes but there is this one too  :-\
http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Works-Alkan/dp/B00006YX6V/ref=sr_1_6/102-3015269-3508938?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1179344255&sr=1-6

=edited link


That greedy bastard!  >:(
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: orbital on May 16, 2007, 10:45:07 AM
Looks like the same one, without remastering.

That greedy bastard!  >:(
I put the wrong link before, I edited it.

You need both these 2CD sets for the complete op 39 unfortunately. But the more popular portions of the set is in the cheap one :)

The other CD has the first 4 etudes plus a wonderful Grand sonata and other pieces.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: George on May 16, 2007, 10:48:32 AM
I put the wrong link before, I edited it.

You need both these 2CD sets for the complete op 39 unfortunately.

Once again proving that record labels know MUCH more about making money than they do about music.  ::)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on October 19, 2007, 07:56:36 PM
(http://www.jpc.de/image/w300/front/0/8161801.jpg)

Has anyone listened to this one yet? Hamelin's rendition of the last movement of the concerto as can be sampled at the Hyperion website sure is impressive and I'd say improved in many ways compared to his previous recorded interpretation.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on July 11, 2008, 07:19:01 AM
(http://www.classicsonline.com/images/cds/223351.gif)

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:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0034571175690.jpg)(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0034571167947.jpg)(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5024709270323.jpg)(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0034571172187.jpg)(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0034571167657.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/6155HE5882L._SS400_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: mn dave on July 11, 2008, 07:21:54 AM
Hey, thanks. I'll wish-list those.

I look forward to any additions and comments.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Ten thumbs 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'.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: not edward 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.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer 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.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on July 18, 2008, 12:05:55 AM
(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0034571175690.jpg)
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.

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0034571167947.jpg)
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.

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5024709270323.jpg)
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.

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0034571172187.jpg)
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.

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0034571167657.jpg)
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).

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/6155HE5882L._SS400_.jpg)
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.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 18, 2008, 09:09:17 AM
Nice write-up, Tasos! Thank you.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Ten thumbs 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.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on August 03, 2008, 12:03:45 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FfV3%2B5jtL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
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.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer 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.
(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0730099443425.jpg)
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.
(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/3487549901215.jpg)
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.)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: ChamberNut 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
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: orbital 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.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: DFO 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
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: orbital 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 :-[ :-[
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: not edward 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.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Taxes- on May 21, 2011, 04:34:47 PM
Lewenthal on Alkan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDCOreZjHRg
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: karlhenning on May 21, 2011, 05:48:41 PM
Gosh, has the Alkan thread lain dormant for two years? That ain't right . . . .
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Dax 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
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: cilgwyn 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................

Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: cilgwyn 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!
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: madaboutmahler on January 16, 2012, 10:31:21 AM
Have only recently been introduced to Alkan's music by my dad who has recently become a passionate Alkan fan.
Absolutely loving his music so far, such brilliance and thrill!

One of my favourite works of his I have heard so far would be the 'Chant d'amour - Chant de mort' from the 12 Etudes Opus 35. I am still yet to hear the Symphony for piano, Concerto for solo piano and Les quatre ages which my dad tells me are his greatest masterpieces. I look forward to hearing these!
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: springrite on January 16, 2012, 10:50:03 AM
Have only recently been introduced to Alkan's music by my dad who has recently become a passionate Alkan fan.
Absolutely loving his music so far, such brilliance and thrill!

One of my favourite works of his I have heard so far would be the 'Chant d'amour - Chant de mort' from the 12 Etudes Opus 35. I am still yet to hear the Symphony for piano, Concerto for solo piano and Les quatre ages which my dad tells me are his greatest masterpieces. I look forward to hearing these!

Not a bad idea to follow your dad's advise! Do make time for those two works this year for sure!

Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: North Star on February 16, 2012, 02:00:49 PM
Have only recently been introduced to Alkan's music by my dad who has recently become a passionate Alkan fan.
Absolutely loving his music so far, such brilliance and thrill!

One of my favourite works of his I have heard so far would be the 'Chant d'amour - Chant de mort' from the 12 Etudes Opus 35. I am still yet to hear the Symphony for piano, Concerto for solo piano and Les quatre ages which my dad tells me are his greatest masterpieces. I look forward to hearing these!

Also check the small pieces, they were a big influence on Debussy & Ravel.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 16, 2012, 02:08:25 PM
Also check the small pieces, they were a big influence on Debussy & Ravel.

Will do. Have listened to some of the Etudes already which were brilliant.

Today, listened to Les Quatre Ages which was simply amazing... it has certainly become one of my favourite piano works. Cannot wait to hear the Symphony and Concerto now!
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 16, 2012, 02:28:27 PM
Will do. Have listened to some of the Etudes already which were brilliant.

Today, listened to Les Quatre Ages which was simply amazing... it has certainly become one of my favourite piano works. Cannot wait to hear the Symphony and Concerto now!
There are also two short piano with orchestra pieces (Concerto da camera 1 and 2) that you might find interesting (about 20 min in total). I have the recording from the Hyperion Romantic Concerto Series, which includes some wonderul Henselt pieces. This one:



By the way, no one has mentioned the Esquisses, which I enjoy too (there is also a version on Naxos, but I have not heard it):



PS: Some of these can be found at Berkshire including the Esquisses and Symphony for Solo Piano (both Hyperion).
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: North Star on February 16, 2012, 02:40:42 PM
By the way, no one has mentioned the Esquisses, which I enjoy too (there is also a version on Naxos, but I have not heard it):



PS: Some of these can be found at Berkshire including the Esquisses and Symphony for Solo Piano (both Hyperion).

I did mention small pieces, and these are exactly what I meant, along with the Chants. Brilliant stuff.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 16, 2012, 03:27:53 PM
There are also two short piano with orchestra pieces (Concerto da camera 1 and 2) that you might find interesting (about 20 min in total). I have the recording from the Hyperion Romantic Concerto Series, which includes some wonderul Henselt pieces. This one:



By the way, no one has mentioned the Esquisses, which I enjoy too (there is also a version on Naxos, but I have not heard it):



PS: Some of these can be found at Berkshire including the Esquisses and Symphony for Solo Piano (both Hyperion).

Thank you, Neal.

About the Esquisses, my dad has the Naxos recording and likes it very much. I don't think he knows of this Hyperion recording, so I shall definitely let him know about them. Thank you for telling me about them!
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 16, 2012, 11:53:26 PM
There is also this disc (which I have not heard), but that I have been eyeing with interest. The clips are intriguing. It came out in 2011.

Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on February 17, 2012, 01:57:55 AM
There are also two short piano with orchestra pieces (Concerto da camera 1 and 2) that you might find interesting (about 20 min in total). I have the recording from the Hyperion Romantic Concerto Series, which includes some wonderul Henselt pieces. This one:



Thank you, Neal.

About the Esquisses, my dad has the Naxos recording and likes it very much. I don't think he knows of this Hyperion recording, so I shall definitely let him know about them. Thank you for telling me about them!

Laurent Martin does well with the Esquisses; however, I find Osborne's set  to be even better.

Hamelin in the concerti da camera (playful and ebullient with haunting slow movements) is performing with tremendous energy and gusto and he is clearly having great fun. A disc of riches; even without the Alkan pieces, the Henselt concerto alone would deserve the price of the disc.



There is also this disc (which I have not heard), but that I have been eyeing with interest. The clips are intriguing. It came out in 2011.



It's excellent. Toccata has also released two discs of Alkan's organ music, also very worthwhile.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 17, 2012, 02:56:03 AM
It's excellent. Toccata has also released two discs of Alkan's organ music, also very worthwhile.
Good to get confirmation. I enjoyed the clips a lot.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 17, 2012, 04:56:39 AM
 Quote from: Wanderer on Today at 05:57:55 AM (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=917.msg602293#msg602293)
It's excellent. Toccata has also released two discs of Alkan's organ music, also very worthwhile.
 
Mmm, that's a temptation.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: madaboutmahler on February 17, 2012, 05:55:05 AM
Thank you for all the recommendations.
I'll definitely prompt my dad to purchase the Hamelin concerto disc and the Osbourne Esquisses.

There is also this disc (which I have not heard), but that I have been eyeing with interest. The clips are intriguing. It came out in 2011.



My dad has this one and is also very enthusiastic about it! I am yet to hear it though, will remedy that soon!
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on June 05, 2014, 10:33:16 AM
.



Musicweb review No.1 (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/May14/Alkan_concerto_PCL0061.htm)
Musicweb review No.2 (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Apr14/Alkan_piano_PCL0061.htm)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Phrygian on June 24, 2014, 01:37:26 PM
I cannot understand why Alkan is so under-rated.  I have his solo piano music in a double CD set and very many of these pieces are the work of a very good composer.  In fact, I'd say that Alkan is a better composer than Scriabin - much better.  I speak here of the piano repertoire exclusively as I do not know any orchestral pieces, as yet, by Alkan.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: lescamil on June 24, 2014, 07:29:11 PM
In fact, I'd say that Alkan is a better composer than Scriabin - much better.

I think that is an unfair statement to both composers. I agree, Alkan is excellent, but so is Scriabin. Both are excellent in their own unique ways and they had completely different compositional styles and time periods.

I speak here of the piano repertoire exclusively as I do not know any orchestral pieces, as yet, by Alkan.

There isn't any besides the 3 Concerti da Camera and a few other odds and ends as far as I know.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Pat B on September 18, 2014, 09:24:15 AM
I recently found this disc locally (at a much better price than on amazon marketplace).



Has anybody else heard this? I didn't enjoy it much, but the problem may have been because of the piano sound and engineering rather than the composer or performer.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on September 24, 2014, 09:13:25 PM
I don't have that one so I can't judge, but another (also OOP) Auvidis Valois Alkan disc with Sermet (chamber music) is quite good (though not generously filled). If you have an inkling it's the piano sound you don't like, it's probably it.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on January 13, 2015, 09:11:42 AM
Vincenzo Maltempo expands his already impressive Alkan discography.

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/pianoclassicspcl0083.jpg)
Due for release on 16 February 2015. (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Piano%2BClassics/PCL0083)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: San Antone on June 29, 2015, 03:26:16 AM
Vincenzo Maltempo expands his already impressive Alkan discography.

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/pianoclassicspcl0083.jpg)
Due for release on 16 February 2015. (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Piano%2BClassics/PCL0083)

*** bump ***

Vincenzo Maltempo is a excellent interpreter of Alkan and Liszt - I wish he'd record more of both composers.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: North Star on July 26, 2015, 09:00:30 AM
Some from that Maltempo disc on his YT account:

https://www.youtube.com/v/4cpEONl5oJU
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: San Antone on July 26, 2015, 09:06:20 AM
Some from that Maltempo disc on his YT account:

https://www.youtube.com/v/4cpEONl5oJU

Really good!  My next project will be Alkan after Liszt.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Brian on January 19, 2016, 06:52:48 PM
Vincenzo Maltempo expands his already impressive Alkan discography.

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/pianoclassicspcl0083.jpg)
Due for release on 16 February 2015. (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Piano%2BClassics/PCL0083)
Ha! I just searched for this thread to ask if anybody has heard this disc yet.

I am intrigued by the title: "A collection of eccentric piano works"

And the tracklist bears this out:
Trois Petites Fantaisies Op. 41
• Assez gravement
• Andantino
• Presto
Minuetto alla tedesca Op. 46
Marche Funebre Op. 26
Marche Triomphale Op. 27
From “Petits preludes sur les 8 gammes du plain- chant”
• No. 6, Poco lento
Capriccio alla soldatesca Op. 50
Le tambour bat aux champs Op. 50bis
“Chanson de la folle au bord de la mer” (From the 25 Preludes Op. 31 No. 8 )
Laus Deo (From the Esquisses Op. 63 No. 49)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: North Star on January 19, 2016, 09:56:29 PM
Only the official excerpts

https://www.youtube.com/v/4cpEONl5oJU
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on January 19, 2016, 11:47:28 PM
Ha! I just searched for this thread to ask if anybody has heard this disc yet.

I am intrigued by the title: "A collection of eccentric piano works"

And the tracklist bears this out:
Trois Petites Fantaisies Op. 41
• Assez gravement
• Andantino
• Presto
Minuetto alla tedesca Op. 46
Marche Funebre Op. 26
Marche Triomphale Op. 27
From “Petits preludes sur les 8 gammes du plain- chant”
• No. 6, Poco lento
Capriccio alla soldatesca Op. 50
Le tambour bat aux champs Op. 50bis
“Chanson de la folle au bord de la mer” (From the 25 Preludes Op. 31 No. 8 )
Laus Deo (From the Esquisses Op. 63 No. 49)

I have and it's quite good. Since it's Maltempo, it's expertly performed (it helps that the music is gorgeous). However, I don't like the sound of the Érard he's using in this recording, so I haven't bought it (yet). Since it's available for streaming (I'm listening to the Capriccio alla soldatesca as I type this) you can sample extensively before committing. If you want to compare, the Chanson de la folle au bord de la mer Prélude is also superbly performed by Jack Gibbons in his indispensable twofer of the mammoth Op.39.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on January 20, 2016, 12:22:35 AM
A superb new Alkan release from Japan. Yui Morishita (who is prologued in the booklet by Jack Gibbons) plays the Sonatine and the op.39/4-7 Symphonie (giving superlative renditions in both works), a number of smaller pieces (Capriccio alla soldatesca, Le tambour bat aux champs, Nocturne op.22/1) and as a finale offers a world-premiere recording of the ridiculously hyper-virtuosic op.34 Scherzo focoso (which is suspected to be a rejected first movement for the Grande Sonate - in the way that the Andante favori was rejected from the Waldstein Sonata). Morishita reveals phenomenal technique and panache, so he nonchalantly rises through the technical hurdles Alkan throws in his way to focus on what matters: and on this level, he performs with gusto, enthusiasm, warmth and the elusive sardonic quality that Alkan imbues his music with. Not to be missed.

Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: North Star on January 20, 2016, 12:26:50 AM
Morishita playing Scherzo Focoso
https://www.youtube.com/v/4DqdOqP75Q0
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Wanderer on November 01, 2017, 08:07:45 AM
Cross-posting from the New Releases thread:


Not a new release as such, but put together in a complete box, this Brilliant release seems an attractive offer.
Anyone enlighten me on the artistic quality and sound?

The op.35 Études by Mark Viner and the Concerti da camera by Bellucci are new recordings. I can say that Viner's op.35 is really excellent. These are pieces whose felicities go well beyond the technical (a precursor set to the gargantuan ambitions of the op.39 Études), some of them successfully reaching for stirring depths of psychological perception, a fact that is not lost on Viner who gives interpretations of considerable insight - and technical mastery. I was much less impressed by the renditions of the concerti, the fault lying mostly with the orchestra and the limp conducting; Bellucci is mostly good, although he does have an annoying toy-piano sonority at times. For an exciting view into these fun, effervescent and quintessentially romantic works, Hamelin on Hyperion still reigns supreme.

As for the rest of the interpretations, Deljavan and Maltempo are excellent with their respective projects, which are quite recent compared to the other recordings on the set. Maltempo's rendition of the op.39 Études, in particular, is really superb; he's insightful, exciting and obviously able to meet the fiendish technical demands.

The others (Laurent Martin et al.) are mostly good, with the notable exception of the Trio Alkan, whose renditions of the chamber works are not to my liking.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: SymphonicAddict on February 03, 2019, 09:22:06 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61qS9wKdgLL._SX355_.jpg)

These discs have represented a REAL find for me. I don't know why I had them stored too much time. Now I can't do anything different but get astounded by the level of fireworks of this music!! In addition, it's truly difficult to me to imagine that some people can play this. Did they make a covenant with Satan?  >:D  ;D

I guess I am with the majority in preferring the études in minor keys, albeit there are some études in major keys like the ones in E flat major and G major I found great. Just hear the super coda from the Étude in B minor: exhilarating!! or the fun-and-malicious Le festin d'Esope. I can't get enough of it!! Actually, I can't get enough of this superb music!!
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: Florestan on October 10, 2019, 04:59:57 AM
Count me in as a fan, too. These are the recordings that blew me away recently:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/5131nAaLLaL._SY355_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51dQQmQyYLL._SX342_QL70_.jpg)
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 10, 2019, 09:12:31 AM
I admit, it has been entirely too long since last I listened to Alkan. I am sure the Hamelin recording is a knock-out.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 10, 2019, 09:13:23 AM
Really good!  My next project will be Alkan after Liszt.

Cool.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 10, 2019, 10:41:42 AM
I admit, it has been entirely too long since last I listened to Alkan. I am sure the Hamelin recording is a knock-out.

No sooner had I posted that, than I thought, Did I perhaps purchase that disc? (no-brainer that it is) And lo! I have found it!
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: aligreto on March 18, 2021, 03:24:08 AM
An amble along Alkan Avenue:


The following posts are something of an essay within a thread so please bear with me while I assemble my thoughts and state my case regarding a recent visit to the Music of Alkan.

I have an aural intolerance for a lot of solo piano music in general which is known to some here so, with that fair disclosure, it is unusual for me to comment on this genre. I have always, and still do try to remedy this aversion or at least come to terms with the sound of this instrument in a solo setting [having a considerable amount of solo piano music in my collection]. It is particularly when it gets into the realms of its percussive nature that the sound of the solo piano loses me. I just cannot listen to someone endlessly banging away on a piano for very long! Yes, I am a philistine; what can I do?!?!

Alkan is a case in point. I find his music to be sometimes lyrical and melodic and also to be interesting, harmonically. I also sometimes find that it can tend to be over exuberant and percussive in nature and that is where I can find it to be heavy going.
However, no matter what I feel regarding the nature of his music [and that does not matter as it is only my humble opinion and I am not known to be a deliberate contrarian] some things that are undeniable are that he had a distinctive voice of his own, his music was complex and it was also technically demanding. Both Smith and Lewenthal [below] were apparently champions of the revival of Alkan’s music which had become neglected after his death.
Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: aligreto on March 18, 2021, 03:25:19 AM
Etudes Op. 39 [Smith]

(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/6eUAAOSwYIxX~psC/s-l1600.jpg)

Here we have a 3 LP box set with plenty of virtuosic playing from Smith; but then that is what Op. 39 is, a set of Etudes and Smith certainly delivers the requisite virtuosity to my untrained ear. Along with most of the works in Op. 39 the two big sections, Symphony for Piano Solo and Concerto for Piano Solo are just not to my taste. I am sure that appreciators of virtuoso piano playing would really enjoy this set and find it very exciting. It is just not for me. 

Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: aligreto on March 18, 2021, 03:26:18 AM
Trois Etudes de bravoure Op. 16/Trois Grandes Etudes Op. 76 [Smith]

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51lnHk2-LXL._SX425_.jpg)

The music in Op. 16 is interesting, conceptually and harmonically. However, I do find the music percussive and this is not, to my ear at least, the pianist being heavy handed.
Of the three movements of Op. 76 my listening preference in this work is for the Etude pour la main gauche seule; it is inherently a fine work.

Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: aligreto on March 18, 2021, 03:27:12 AM
Ronald Smith Plays Alkan Piano Music

(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/gnQAAOSwby1emJKG/s-l1600.jpg)

This album is a relevantly pleasant listen for me with my very rudimentary pian ear. There are numerous bite sized pieces that are gentle in tone and which are quite lyrical and melodic. As a result the piano playing is mostly low key as there is no exuberant bravura required. Smith, I find, has the requisite delicacy of touch for this music. It makes for pleasant late night listening but the music also inherently has enough to keep one’s ears from drifting too far away from it.

Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: aligreto on March 18, 2021, 03:28:08 AM
Piano Music of Alkan [Lewenthal]

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51mB-Fhd9-L._AC_.jpg)

The music on this LP is also lyrical and melodic by nature. It is also interesting harmonically. However, quite a lot of it is heavier in tone than that on the Smith album. Therefore, by definition of its somewhat percussive nature, my ears find it to be tough going. There is, no doubt, very fine playing on this record. I can certainly appreciate that.


Title: Re: Charles Valentin Alkan
Post by: aligreto on March 18, 2021, 03:28:29 AM
I had not listened to any of these albums in more than a year and prior to that, even less frequently. Following this overview I still have not warmed to the genre but I certainly have gained a greater appreciation for the complexity and harmonic nature of this music and I definitely can understand what others would see in it. Is that enough to motivate me to further explore this composer? The answer would have to be no. That is still a path that is still not for me. As is often said, we cannot like everything that we hear. So be it.