CDs featuring Charles-Valentin ALKAN

Alkan: Organ Works, Volume 1

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Charles–Valentin Alkan: Organ Works, Volume One

Benedictus, Op. 54
12 Études pour les Pieds seulement, Nos. 1–6
11 Grands Préludes et 1 Transcription du Messie de Handel, Op. 66

Kevin Bowyer, organ

In the last three decades the staggeringly original piano music of Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-88) has emerged from the darkness that had surrounded it over the past century and now it features regularly in the repertoire of some of today’s best young pianists. But Alkan’s organ music – no less powerful and imaginative – has yet to become known, even to a specialist public. This is the first of three CDs presenting all of Alkan’s unrecorded music for organ.


Alkan: Organ Works, Volume 2

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Charles–Valentin Alkan: Organ Works, Volume Two

Pro Organo
12 Études pour les Pieds seulement, Nos. 7–12
11 Pièces dans le Style Religieux, et 1 Transcription, de Messie de Handel, Op. 72

Kevin Bowyer, organ

In the last three decades the staggeringly original piano music of Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-88) has emerged from the darkness that surrounded it over the previous century and today features regularly in recital programmes. But Alkan’s music for organ – much of it initially conceived for the now obsolete pedal-piano – is no less powerful and imaginative, although little of it had been recorded before Kevin Bowyer began this survey. His first recording of this repertoire drew ecstatic reviews from the critics; this second instalment (of three) offers music and playing of equal quality.


Alkan: Piano Duos and Duets

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Charles-Valentin Alkan: Complete Piano Duos and Duets

Benedictus, Op. 54
Impromptu sur le Choral de Luther ‘Un fort rempart est Notre Dieu’, Op. 69
Saltarelle, Op. 47
Fantaisie à quatre mains sur Don Juan, Op. 26
Trois Marches, Op. 40
Bombardo-Carillon
Finale, Op. 17

Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow, piano duo, piano duet

The piano works of Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813–88) are among the most demanding ever written – but they can also gleam with a fierce joy and twinkle with mischievous humour, so it’s hardly surprising to find his works for piano duet bubbling with freewheeling energy. The two works for pedal piano – transcribed here for two pianos by Roger Smalley – show a more solemn side to this devoutly religious composer, though they, too, have their own charge of excitement and Alkan’s trademark eccentric originality.


Alkan: Recueils de Chants, Volume 1

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Charles-Valentin Alkan: Complete Recueils de Chants, Volume One

Premier recueil de chants, Op. 38
Deuxième recueil de chants, Op. 38
Troisième recueil de chants, Op. 65
Une fusée: Introduction et Impromptu, Op. 55

Stephanie McCallum, piano

The wild originality of Charles-Valentin Alkan was little appreciated during his lifetime (1813–88), nor during the century which followed, when he was largely lost from sight. But now Alkan is increasingly recognised as one of the most individual personalities in all music. The five albums he called Recueils de chants – miniature tone-poems which marry Classical constraint to virtuoso Romantic excess – provide an attractive gateway to his freewheeling imagination.


Alkan: Recueils de Chants, Volume 2

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Charles-Valentin Alkan: Complete Recueils de Chants, Volume Two

Quatrième Recueil de Chants, Op. 67
Cinquième Recueil de Chants, Op. 70
Deux Nocturnes, Op. 57
Deux Petites Pièces, Op. 60
Désir. Fantaisie
Chapeau bas! Seconda fantasticheria

Stephanie McCallum, piano

The wild originality of Charles-Valentin Alkan was little appreciated during his lifetime (1813–88), nor during the century which followed, when he was largely lost from sight. But now Alkan is increasingly recognised as one of the most individual personalities in all music. The five albums he called Recueils de chants – miniature tone-poems which marry Classical constraint to virtuoso Romantic excess – provide an attractive gateway to his freewheeling imagination.


Alkan: Vianna da Motta Transcriptions

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Charles-Valentin Alkan: The Complete Vianna da Motta Transcriptions

Huit Prières, Op. 64
Neuf Préludes, Op. 66
Benedictus, Op. 54

Vincenzo Maltempo, piano
Emanuele Delucchi, piano

The Portuguese piano virtuoso and composer José Vianna da Motta (1868–1948) understood the importance of Alkan’s music long before its current rise to prominence and made a number of transcriptions to foster its performance, arranging eight of the organ Prières for solo piano and some of the music for pédalier – the obsolete pedal-piano – for piano duo and duet.