Alkan - Piano Music

Charles-Valentin Alkan

Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813–1888) was a French composer and pianist of great originality. In his youth he was good friends with Chopin (who was his neighbour in Paris), Liszt and the writers George Sand and Victor Hugo. Later in life he withdrew from social life and lived as a recluse, engaging in intense study of the Bible and the Talmud.
His works, written almost exclusively for keyboard, are often quite unconventional, of enormous length and technically extremely demanding. As a performer, Alkan was interested in a wide repertory of historical music from Bach onwards and performed works such as the late Beethoven sonatas and Schubert’s piano music, not very fashionable at the time. He was proud of the strictness and precision of his own playing, and was a rigorous user of the metronome.

Alkan´s music was for a long time widely neglected, but in the last decades more and more pianists have begun to explore his music, not all of which is extravagantly difficult to play. The story that Alkan’s death was caused by a bookcase falling on him as he reached out for a volume of the Talmud has turned out to be entirely untrue.

Notable compositions:
- Chemin de fer, Op 27 (first composition ever describing a railroad in musical terms)
- Grande sonate Les quatre âges, Op. 33 (depicting the Four Ages of Man)
- Two sets of etudes in all the major and minor keys, Op. 35 and 39. (The opus 39 collection contains the Symphony for Solo Piano and the Concerto for Solo Piano)
- Chamber music compositions include a violin sonata (0p. 21), a cello sonata (Op. 47), and a piano trio (Op. 30).

Alkan Piano Sheet Music

for digital devices or to download & print

Total pieces by Alkan: 11

TitleKey YearLevel

All pieces:

Twelve Studies in all the Minor Keys Op. 39

4. Symphonie 1st part C Minor 18578+
5. Symphonie 2nd part F Minor 18578+
6. Symphonie 3rd part B-flat Minor 18578+
7. Symphonie 4th part E-flat Minor 18578+
8. Concerto 1st part G-sharp Minor 18578+
9. Concerto 2nd part C-sharp Minor 18578+
10. Concerto 3rd part F-sharp Minor 18578+
12. Aesop's Feast E Minor 18578+

Miscellaneous pieces

Saltarelle Op. 23E Minor 18448+
Barcarolle Op. 65 No. 6G Minor 18448+
Toccatina Op. 75C Minor 18728+

Forum posts about Charles-Valentin Alkan

Alkan=Overrated Difficulty by jericho
Hi everyone AND happy birthday Alkan. As anyone with sufficient knowledge of piano literature knows, Alkan wrote very demanding piano piece...