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Variations on Nostalgia Boris Berman Plays Brahms and Silvestrov
In recent months, the 85-year-old Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov has received the world's attention more than ever due to the ongoing war. Silvestrov's piano music covers more than half a century, and it would be hard to find a better proponent for it than the composer's longtime friend Boris Berman, whose coming album offers a panorama of the composer's evolution. Berman has also just released a new Brahms album and feels an affinity between the two composers. Read more >>

Topic: Alkan  (Read 1440 times)

Offline rubleski

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on: June 17, 2004, 05:59:01 AM
I've read a lot of threads latley and a lot of people mention the composer Alkan, and I've never heard of him believe it or not!

Can some people give me some background on who he is, time period, what kind of music he writes, etc.

Thanks much

Offline liszmaninopin

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Re: Alkan
Reply #1 on: June 17, 2004, 03:52:26 PM
well, here is a brief run down.

Charles Valentin Alkan was a French composer of the Romantic period.  I believe that he was a contemporary of Liszt-and he was probably the only pianist of that era who could match Liszt technically.  Alkan entered the Paris Conservatoire at six.  His works show this, as he composed what are arguably the most difficult works in the Romantic piano literature.  He wrote a large number of piano works, perhaps amongst the greatest are his etudes in the minor keys, op. 39.  He rarely performed his own works publicly, and consequently they fell into obscurity.  Only fairly recently have the works of Alkan become more widely known.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Alkan
Reply #2 on: June 17, 2004, 09:36:57 PM
Alkan is his father's first name.  He adopted it as his own instead of Morhange, his family's name.

He was born two years after Liszt in 1813 and died two years after Liszt in 1888.  They lived the same amount of years, interestingly.

He was praised as being quite good, until Liszt came along and stole the spotlight from him.  C-V thought Liszt was much better than him and this is part of the reason he stopped performing and fell into obscurity.

Like Chopin and Liszt, Alkan wrote primarily for the piano.  And since Chopin's name has been mentioned, Charles and Frederick were good friends.  Also, whenever Franz was in town, he would always visit Charles.

I'm not too sure if I'm recalling this bit of information correctly but Liszt is to have said that Alkan was better than he as a pianist.  And we all know how great Liszt was... just imagine how great Alkan was!

The story of his death is this:  he died when the bookcase fell on him while reaching for the Talmud on it.  This is a myth.

Hardly anyone has heard the name Alkan so you are not alone.  Have a read at this site:
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