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Topic: Alkan Craze  (Read 3073 times)

Offline liszmaninopin

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Alkan Craze
on: May 26, 2004, 01:45:30 AM
It seems to me as if Alkan has become much more popular in the piano world in recent years.  Do you think that he will ever take a place among "standard" composers (i.e.  Chopin, Beethoven, Liszt, etc...)?  Or do you think that his popularity is more of a passing thing?

Offline benji

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #1 on: May 26, 2004, 05:17:38 AM
People rediscover composers whose music fit their time period, and they catch on--It's like how each generation of pianists plays Chopin differently. Raymond Lewenthal, an American pianist, rediscovered Alkan's music in the '60's and it's been relatively popular since. I certainly hope that it's not a passing phase. :)

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #2 on: May 26, 2004, 11:58:27 AM
Alkan's popularity is growing.  I never heard of him before I started posting in this forum.  And his music is absolutely some of the most beautiful, quirky, and difficult works in the piano repetory.  The last point, difficulty, is probably one reason he isn't performed very often - he's really difficult.  But he's also something we can strive for, to be able to play such difficult but beautiful music.

Mozart's popularity are in only a few of his works.  The rest he wrote was crap.  To us, his piano works are very easy and readily accessible to many children.  His simplicity allows us to enjoy his music as children and as we grow older, as adults.

But Alkan's music is not something a child can pluck out.  And since he wrote almost exclusively for the piano, the listening audience is already limited, similar to Chopin.

Chopin is easy to play, comparably.  He is certainly easy to listen to since he's all right hand.  Two voices make people go quesy from all the "noise".  His melodies aren't bad either and as such, he is still very popular.

Overated composer for the piano?  Mozart.  But he's popular.  Underated composer?  Alkan.  He's too difficult to play.  Difficulty is a problem for many pianists.  Some learning pianists will not like pieces because they are having a terrible time being able to play it.  They do not discern a difference between difficulty to play a piece and listening to the piece.  This is Alkan's downfall, at least to little children.  But that's okay, they can't even reach an octave.

How many "easy" pieces has Alkan written?  A couple.  Namely a few of his Op. 63 Esquisses and his Op. 65-6 Barcorolle.

How many "difficult" pieces has Alkan written?  Everything else.

But what about Liszt?  He's popular and also difficult to play.  Good point.  So perhaps it's not just difficulty that makes someone obscure.  Liszt performed and did it often, playing some of his most difficult works as well as pleasing works.  His Hungarian Rhapsody #2, his opera transcriptions, etc. were quite popular during his time.  Because of this, his works were able to spread around.  His looks certainly did not prevent it.  Because he defined virtuosity pour le piano, and the pleasing works for it, and was able to perform and spread it, he became immortalized in our history.

Alkan was not Liszt.  He did not perform very often.  He went into seclusion while Liszt's popularity became greater and greater.  His seclusion from society was partly because he took a back seat to Liszt's fame and talent.  So his presence went unacknowledged for a long time during his life.  The only ones who could play his works?  Himself and a few others.  But his popularity soon died with his death.

Only several decades later was he rediscovered.  And since then, his works have been shown to the public and have gained acceptance by some pianists who have spread his works around on LP and CD or any other recording format.  The audience, more importantly, has accepted Alkan.  And his popularity will soon grow to the ranks of Liszt, Chopin, and Beethoven.



---
Was Schumann an anti-semite?  He gave Alkan very bad reviews.  You know them Germans, always raggin on the Jews.  But he liked Liszt, but he was a Jew.  But wasn't Wagner a Nazi?  And didn't he marry Cosimma, Liszt's daughter?  But the Jewish line can only be passed down through the woman, not the man...

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #3 on: May 26, 2004, 01:42:07 PM
Franz Liszt 1811-1886
Charles-Valentin Alkan 1813-1888

1888-1886=1813-1811

:o

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #4 on: May 26, 2004, 01:51:08 PM
OMG!  It's like Mitsuko Uchida and Martha Agerich all over again... ;D

Offline newsgroupeuan

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #5 on: May 26, 2004, 09:25:01 PM
lol

Offline amanfang

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #6 on: May 27, 2004, 05:53:38 PM
I am not familiar with Alkan's music.  Is there a place to download mp3's for free?
When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do.

Offline trunks

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #7 on: May 27, 2004, 09:43:00 PM
Alkan wrote much effective music, and nice too. I especially like his First Movement of the Concerto for Solo Piano (Etude Op.39 No.8), the Railway Op.27, among others.

Printed scores on Alkan tend to be hardly available and expensive. By acquaintance with an Internet-pianopal I have downloaded most, if not all his music on PDF format - including all his major works.

I agree that many - if not all - of Alkan's works are worth the effort overcoming the difficulty. I could only recall Jack Gibbons (twin-CD on the ASV label) that I have on Alkan on the complete Minor-key Etudes, Op.39 coupled with many other of his shorter works. Superb recording!
Peter (Hong Kong)
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amateur classical concert pianist

bet33

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #8 on: May 28, 2004, 01:01:26 AM
"Was Schumann an anti-semite?  He gave Alkan very bad reviews.  You know them Germans, always raggin on the Jews.  But he liked Liszt, but he was a Jew.  But wasn't Wagner a Nazi?  And didn't he marry Cosimma, Liszt's daughter?  But the Jewish line can only be passed down through the woman, not the man..."

this seems confusing...

liszt was not of jewish decent...

schumann didnt give liszt all that great of reviews either...

wagner cant be a nazi because that idea didnt exist yet...

where did you take this info from?

liszt actually got into serious trouble with the press and public when his "spouse" (princess carolyne) took one of his books and added an anti semetic chapter against the jewish people...

liszt story is great, i read a 1900 page book (3 part) by alan WALKER...

everyone should pick that up!

Offline etuden88

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #9 on: May 28, 2004, 06:43:31 AM
Sorry to contribute to what seems to be a tangent away from the original topic, but there seems to be a wide misunderstanding on the part of Richard Wagner and his supposed 'affiliation' with the nazi party. I was once accosted by some 'LaRouche for President' supporters on the UC Berkeley campus who seemed to suggest that the US Government is currently apart of some 'facist' consipiracy. In order to present their case to me (as a forced and unwilling listener) they chose to deface prominant 'nazi supporters' such as Nietszche and Wagner. To which I angrily responded that neither were alive during the period in which the ideology was practiced, nor could they ever have forseen such an ideology ever existing. They refused to believe me however, and continued to distribute these false facts to other (hopefully) unwilling listeners in their attempt to gain support for a presidential candidate I had never heard of. So, there is obviously a wide misconception that Wagner (and Nietsche), because of their anti-semetism(sp) and beliefs in a master race directly associates them with belonging to the nazi party. While one could postulate them gladly being apart of the ideology (should they have still been living) to insist that they were would be closed minded and incorrect.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #10 on: May 28, 2004, 12:30:14 PM
Wow, that's so interesting.  Myths proved to be wrong.  But wasn't Wagner an anti-semite?  Isn't this how he was associated with being a Nazi from the modern POV and then going back and just associating him as a Nazi? And wasn't Liszt a convert into a Jew?  Alkan was jewish.  Didn't Liszt become a rabbi?  Don't you have to be a Jew to be a rabbi?

About larouche supporters:  they are annoying.  "Do you want Bush to be elected as president again?"  "Do you believe everything you see on television?"  What's up with those people?  They were at San Francisco State University and they were shouting prapaganda...  yuck.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #11 on: May 28, 2004, 12:35:30 PM
Quote
I am not familiar with Alkan's music. †Is there a place to download mp3's for free?


I don't know of any site for mp3s but try Classical Archives for midi files.  They have quite a few.

classicalarchives.com

Offline trunks

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #12 on: May 28, 2004, 12:49:56 PM
Try the NAXOS site on Alkan's music at:
https://www.naxos.com/composer/btm.asp?fullname=Alkan,%20Charles-Valentin
and click into each of the links for the individual CDs.
The music is available for on-line audition on each track, as with music on any other NAXOS disc on any composer.
Peter (Hong Kong)
part-time piano tutor
amateur classical concert pianist

bet33

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #13 on: May 28, 2004, 03:52:34 PM
hey guys,

about liszt, he became a abbe,

thats lower priesthood in the vatican...

he lived in rome on and off... knew the pope (in fact knew both the current pope when he became an abbe and the pope that was in place awhile he was becoming an abbe)...

he almost became a priest as a child actually,

a cool fact, liszt lived one block from the coleseum, when i go visit rome, im gonna swing by his house,

;)

bet33

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #14 on: May 28, 2004, 03:59:37 PM
about wagner, he was an anti semite,,,

he didnt like jews at all... he went on rants about how no jewish man could be a great composer because composing comes with a cultural influence that wagner though would always hinder "jewish" music, inferior...

he wasnt a nice man in the least...

took countless advantage of liszt...

liszt kept wagner alive, the only reason wagner and his music exist was because liszt sought to keep a person he though was a "musical genius" alive...

he actually risked alot and hid wagner in weimar (where he lived in germany), and tried to smuggle him out of the country...which he did so...

this awhile german authorities were trying to have wagner arrested for political reasons...

he was exiled from germany, and didnt come back till many years later... liszt sent him alot of money during this exile, an allowance of sorts...

years later wagner married cosima liszt, and thats a whole other story... not all that nice about wagner either, lol

Offline trunks

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #15 on: May 28, 2004, 07:47:16 PM
more digression here . . .

Cosima Liszt survived her father till as recently as 1931. And how old was she when she died?

Curiously Daniel Liszt (Franz's son) died very young. What happened to poor little Daniel?
Peter (Hong Kong)
part-time piano tutor
amateur classical concert pianist

bet33

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Re: Alkan Craze
Reply #16 on: May 28, 2004, 08:12:07 PM
daniel died at 18 i believe...

from consumption i think it was...

blondine was the other daughte of liszt... she died after child birth... (she was the middle child)...
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