By William Alexander Eddie
A 'conservative radical' is William Alexander Eddie's description of the French virtuoso composer-pianist Charles Valentin Alkan (1813-1888). Judaic tradition, the French baroque and German classicism have been the most impacts on Alkan's musical sort, with extra radical musical traits present in some of the "Esquisses op63". This complete survey takes as its concentration a stylistic research of Alkan's compositions from the apprentice works to the later 'massed variety' etudes; the latter are of substantial size and pianistic hassle. there's additionally attention of Alkan's achievements as pianist and instructor, and the sections on functionality perform in Alkan might be of curiosity to pianists this present day. an entire research of Alkan's reception heritage can also be integrated and invaluable appendices supply a advisor to extra archival examine. an inventory of works and simple discography whole this new learn of an immense French composer.
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Additional resources for Charles Valentin Alkan
Baroque keyboard works played at this petit Concert included a Bach-Vivaldi concerto, a Bach fugue and movements from a keyboard concerto. A Mendelssohn sonata and his presto scherzando in F sharp minor and a Kessler polonaise represented the Romantic era of piano music. During the interval Alkan performed his Symphonie op 39 for piano as in the 1877 series. For his ﬁnal 1880 recital of the series156 Alkan played at the Salle Pleyel on 17 April and at the Salle Erard on 24 April. For both concerts he chose an austere programme consisting of fugues by Handel, Bach and Mendelssohn, a Bach chorale, a Handel passacaglia, canons by Schumann and his own Air de Ballet [op 24] and a 24 Charles Valentin Alkan – His Life and His Music prière (played on the pédalier).
The brilliance of the piano writing is as always present but there is equally very little tendency to develop themes. All the material is contained within a telescoped sonata principle where exposition themes do not reappear in full in either the development or the recapitulation. Alkan draws on the one movement concerto prototypes such as Weber’s Konzertstück to link concerto movements together. Hence the Allegro opening movement’s development merges into the central slow movement which is a cantabile adagio in E major of only forty bars’ length.
His thorough pedagogy produced numerous celebrated pupils including Ravina and Gavi. This tribute sums up the rather special attributes of the outstanding French piano composer of the nineteenth century. ’1 These thoughts of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that most radical and protoromantic of all the philosophes reﬂect the state of late-eighteenth-century musical aesthetics in France. More conservative philosophes such as D’Alembert on the other hand regarded instrumental music as speaking neither to the spirit nor the soul.