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Charles-Valentin Alkan

Discussion in 'Repertoire' started by yam, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. yam

    yam New Member

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    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".
     
  2. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Nope, we'd never heard of this Alkan here, nor of his music. It's soooo unknown... can't find it anywhere on the internet. And nobody seems to like or even understand it.
    PLEASE tell us more about him, share your unique insights with us ! We are in dire need to be educated !
     
  3. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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  4. yam

    yam New Member

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    oh, terribly sorry.... :(
     
  5. Lukecash

    Lukecash New Member

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    That was a bit of a harsh reception for a new member :? Don't take it too wrong, but certainly we can reward enthusiasm with more than shame, can't we?
     
  6. yam

    yam New Member

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    Perhaps I should've realised that this being a piano forum Alkan has probably been much discussed already. I do hope some people will watch the video I included as it was a good 100 hours work for me (having never done something like that before).

    "Nope, we'd never heard of this Alkan here, nor of his music. It's soooo unknown... can't find it anywhere on the internet. And nobody seems to like or even understand it.
    PLEASE tell us more about him, share your unique insights with us ! We are in dire need to be educated !"

    If I came accross as arrogant like that, It's probably because I wrote those paragraphs in an arrogant way to actually get a better mark (it was for a school research project). It's all my opinion of course and opinions can never be right or wrong. I'm interested in YOURS.
     
  7. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    It’s okay, yam – I see you do understand that we are all classical piano enthusiasts and therefore it should be obvious that we know about Alkan. Coming onto the forum and asking if we’ve heard of Alkan would be like asking a bunch of rock-n-rollers if they’ve heard of Jimi Hendrix. However, I do not know that much about Alkan, so I may watch your video someday. It better be good! :) (kidding)
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ah no, not arrogant, I see your good intentions. I was just taking the p*ss, really :lol:
    Will have a look at that video. It's not as if we know everything about Alkan here.
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello again, sweet potatoe. :lol: (hope you get that) Anyway, I had a little time to kill before my class and so I watched your video. I didn't realize there are several videos in the complete set, but I watched the first one just now and really did enjoy it. Much of that is due to the time in which you talk about Chopin! Very interesting the comparisons between Alkan's and Chopin's Prelude/Etude! I also like the photos you have up, and I caught that one of them is actually Hershey Felder in his portrayal of Chopin in a stage show which I saw a few years ago.

    gotta run, but I'll watch the other videos later.
     
  10. yam

    yam New Member

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    I see no deep meaning so perhaps I don't get it :p

    EDIT: now why can't I get the quote thingy working...
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    No deep meaning :lol: I live near Chicago, Illinois and around here yams are also called sweet potatoes!

    They should work now. You needed to disable HTML, so I did that for you.
     
  12. yam

    yam New Member

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    ah awesome thanks :)

    Oh, sweet potatoes here in new zealand are kumara's (maori name) and to me a yam is a rather sour potato actually :p
     
  13. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Interesting - I didn't know there was such a thing as a sour potatoe! I sometimes put sour cream on my potatoes, is that what you mean?

    I know some people make sweet potatoes with lots of butter and marshmallows so then they are really really sweet! ( I don't like that - yuck)

    btw - I still plan on watching your other videos - probably tomorrow.
     
  14. yam

    yam New Member

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    Yay :) I think the other ones are more interesting myself, or at least the music that they cover is.

    Nah they aren't actually called sour potatoes, I just find them more sour than a potato myself, actually don't like them :p
     
  15. organtechnic23

    organtechnic23 New Member

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    My last girlfriend HATED yams with an extraordinary passion (we're not together anymore)!!

    I concur, the comparisons were cool. I'm not surprised some of his music might have been inspired by Chopin... Chopin inspires anyone whose ears hear his compositions. Watching the second and third videos now, I enjoy the time spent on just listening to the music. It provides a nice contrast from learning to actually hearing what's being talked about. And being somewhat new to the forums I didn't know much about Alkan, so thanks for posting!
     
  16. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I don't like yams, either. But at least they're better than spinach!

    Anyway - I just finished watching all videos. You did a nice job - I'm very impressed. And yes -I also learned a lot about Alkan. I hope you got a good grade! Just wondering - did he ever marry?
     
  17. nathanscoleman

    nathanscoleman New Member Piano Society Artist

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    :? you don't like spinach??? spinach is awesome!! Mustard greens, otoh, eeewwwww! :p
     
  18. yam

    yam New Member

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    Thanks I'm really glad you liked it! :)
     
  19. yam

    yam New Member

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    As far as I know, no. I can't remember if I mentioned in the video that he had a son, I had to cut it a bit shorter as it was getting too long, but it is generally accepted that he had a son, Élie-Miriam Delaborde, who was probably the product of something between Alkan and one of his pupils who he taught. Delaborde played alot of his father's music and even edited some of it.
     
  20. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, same thing....yuck!

    ok, thanks for the information. :)
     

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