Alkan: Grande Sonate, Symphonie Pour Piano Solo
Label: Piano Classics
Any new recording of Charles-Valentin Alkan is an event, which hopes to widen the public appreciation of this still unknown genius of the French Romantic period. After his unsuccessful efforts at a brilliant concert career, Alkan went into reclusion, concentrating on teaching and composing his totally unique oeuvre mainly written for piano solo. One of the greatest virtuosos of his time (even Franz Liszt was nervous to play in his presence) he wrote piano music of the most colossal proportions, scope and difficulty. This new recording by the young and extraordinarily gifted young Italian Vincenzo Maltempo brings together two of Alkan masterworks: the Grande Sonata "Les Quatre Ages" (in which Alkan musically describes the stages of a man's life, from exuberant youth to tragic old age), and the Symphonie pour piano solo, a dramatic four movement work in Classical/Romantic style. As an encore the fiendishly difficult Etude for two hands unisono, a pianistic tour de force.