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A small Alkan offering

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by Mark, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Mark

    Mark New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello everyone,

    As a break from working on bigger pieces, and inspired by Felipe's Alkan Prelude recordings (nice job completing them!), I recorded two of Alkan's little Esquisses. I don't know if I have the patience to tackle all of them (frankly, I'm not sure I like every one of them enough), but there are certainly several that are very interesting in that quirky way that is unique to Alkan. No's 4 (Les cloches) and 21 (Morituri te Salutant) that I recorded here focus on pedal tones and omnibi, which I think are two of the techniques that distinguish Alkan in many of his works. The translations of the titles are 'the chimes' and 'those who are about to die salute you,' supposedly cheered by gladiators entering the arena.

    Cheers :wink:
    Mark

    Alkan - Esquisses Op. 63 - 4: Les cloches ( 0:48 )
    Alkan - Esquisses Op. 63 - 21: Morituri te Salutant ( 1:15 )
     
  2. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Kudos, Mark. I enjoyed these immensely. I've never heard them before, but they sounded great IMHO. The morituri piece ... I wonder what the tempo marking is?? It sounded maybe as if it should be faster? dunno ... still kewl tho. moody.

    You know, I always thought Alkan was inaccessible for the amateur ... I'm gonna have to start looking into some of this guy's music. Pretty kewl stuff.
     
  3. Mark

    Mark New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks a lot for the complements Nathan. I love Alkan! There's more of Alkan's music that is inaccessible than accessible, but I have a playlist of "approachable Alkan" pieces I want to record eventually that is about an hour long. I think the Esquisses are the best place to start. There are only a handful that sound really hard.

    It's marked assez lentement (moderately slow - I had to look it up since I don't know all my French musical terms). My tempo is slightly slower than Ronald Smith's recording, slightly less than double Laurent Martin's version, and about the same as that of Stephen Osborne :)
     
  4. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Hi Mark,

    I have never heard these before, either. Interesting pieces. I like the first one best. And the 'gladiator' one - Alkan must have borrowed the title from AC/DC, right? :lol: (dumb joke)(probably nobody gets it)

    Because of you and Felipe, I may want to look at Alkan's music one day. I was one who used to think All of it was inaccessible.
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Very nicely done, Mark. Interesting treatment in particular of the Mortuori, with these stabbing basses. And the accents in the Cloches do sound like cloches. Alkan was light years ahead of his contemporaries in sheer originality.

    These are up the site. Please check if all is on order.
    The image is not very good - damn book is too big for my A4 scanner. Maybe someone can provide a better one.
    If you feel like providing some text to go with the Esquisses, that would be appreciated.
     
  6. felipesarro

    felipesarro New Member

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    Hello, Mark!

    Really wonderful performances.
    I like Les cloches a lot! And your tempo for Morituri te Salutant sounds exactly perfect to me (it's a piece with "no melody", hehehe).

    About what is accessible or innaccessible for the amateur...
    it's so relative!
    the most beautiful performance of Alkan's Concerto was done by an amateur (Ken Iisaka):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQK8yFcXXIs
     
  7. Mark

    Mark New Member Piano Society Artist

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    I'm a classical guy, but I've absorbed enough pop culture to get that one Monica :wink: I never knew there was a historical reference to that line.

    Sure thing Chris, I can write a little blurb for the Esquisses.

    Thanks for the complements Felipe. That's a very impressive rendition of the Concerto! I'll have to go to the Van Cliburn website and listen to the whole thing. That's pretty brave of him to program such a work in a competition. It's one of the Alkan pieces I listen to most (in Marc-Andre Hamelin rendition), but I don't think I would ever learn the entire thing - the middle meanders a bit much. However, with the 40-page cut, I might be willing some day, because those repeated notes toward the end are just out of this world when played well.
     
  8. schmonz

    schmonz Amitai Schleier Piano Society Artist Trusted Member

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    Cooool. You really stab the cloches, which isn't the way I've heard it before, but on second hearing perhaps more Alkanish.
     

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