Charles-Valentin Alkan was a composer in the romantic period, with Chopin and Liszt, yet his music is much unknown today. If you haven't heard of Alkan or are mostly unfamiliar with him, have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbD1oAMLyn4
"Alkan: The forgotten genius - maybe the tortured genius - a man whose talents didn't pander to the appetites of the time. Nor does his breathtaking music find favour today. Why? Is it the sheer difficulty of execution making many works almost impossible to perform? Is it the complexity and aggressive hard edges, or could it be the fleeting changes of mood and volatility? Music that cannot be pidgeon holed and possibly not even understood.
Many painters have been famous long after their death, Van Gogt and Monet to name just two. Brilliant artists misunderstood in times when technical excellence was demanded and whose works are much loved today with their vibrance and light. Even dark works such as Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' are highly valued today perhaps as an insight into the human soul.
But still Alkan's music lies largely undiscovered. Perhaps, just as 'The Scream' is dark and challenging maybe its two dimensional form allows understanding, whereas the three and four dimensional works of Alkan, music without apology, maybe accusational, sometimes calmly religious or even sweetly haunting, still lie undiscovered and misunderstood. Perhaps Alkan was in fact a musical architect with a blueprint of a building that could never be built, soaring structures of great strength and impossible angles, hard materials with rooms of such eclectic contrast as to confuse the visitor. Living with Alkan may introduce you to the wonders of this musical architect, opening your eyes and ears to stunning surprises, mercurial changes of mood and depth of music that may just render other musical forms into slightly contemptuous familiarity".