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Ultimate piano music -- Alkan
Ultimate piano music -- Alkan
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Old 4th December 2004, 03:04 AM   #1
Prune is offline Prune  Canada
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Thumbs up Ultimate piano music -- Alkan

As someone that plays a bit of piano, I also tend often to listen to piano music, and over the years I've heard a ton of it. But very few things come close to the music I heard on an album I recently acquired. A few weeks ago I got Alkan: 12 Études Op. 39 from Amazon.com (ASIN B0000030PK) because the composer was listed on a piano playing message board as having written some of the most difficult to play pieces (within the body of tonal music; I have no interest in atonal), and I was interested in checking that out. I only listened to it for the first time today, on my portable CD/amp/canalphones setup while riding the bus. And I was blown away -- not so much by the skill required to perform some of the compositions, but by the tremendous beauty and depth of the music -- something I did not expect (given my previous listening experience with highly technical composers like Scriabin, not that I'm trying to knock Scriabin). The performer, Jack Gibbons, began playing some of these when he was only a teenager, and despite the technicality of the music, he still manages to add a good deal of expressiveness to the performance. The reviewers at Amazon.com compare this recording of Op.39 favorably to Hamelin's version. I strongly urge anyone with interest in classical music and/or piano to check this killer 2 CD set.
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Old 6th December 2004, 06:44 AM   #2
drewm1980 is offline drewm1980  United States
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Default Alkan

Hmmm. I'll have to check this album out. My previous Alkan experience must not have been representative at all.

One of the albums I listened to the most back in my piano days was an album of Shostakovich predules followed by a bunch of alkan preludes. I found the alkan preludes so mind-numbingly dull that I invariably switched to a different CD. Not technically challenging, not emotionally engaging, basically the opposite of your description for this recording.

Thanks for the tip!
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