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ALKAN: Preludes, Op. 31

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

ALKAN: Preludes, Op. 31 by Laurent Martin

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Product Details

  • Performer: Laurent Martin
  • Composer: Charles-Valentin Alkan
  • Audio CD (August 17, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • Run Time: 68 minutes
  • ASIN: B000009IJZ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,378 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
They start so soft, so slow, so disdainfully detached that you wonder if we are in a music academy class for beginners. And yet they find here and there as soon as Prelude number 2 some vigor for short periods when the music dances to some popular tune that is ultimately swallowed up by the nonchalant slowness.

But he is best when he more or less unbinds the two hands and one goes astray in the high-pitched keys while the other roams slowly on the low-pitched keys and from time to time these two waves of fingers and notes come together, or closer though with two different tempos that are officially the same, maybe, but that are intrinsically different. Prelude number 3 is such a dual way across the keyboard, to and fro, up and down. But this game of playing one hand against the other is a style in this music. It creates a music that is more than impressionistic, a music that is cubist. That music would have been so well adapted to Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon, certainly more indeed than to Renoir's Déjeuner au bord de l'eau.

Prelude number 5 introduces another element of this style, of this music. The violence of it and both hands shoot the same way and make the storm of a ferocious mind torture the keys, the pedals and the keyboard to express that tempest under a skull and that violence comes back now and then in other preludes, like a measure here and there in Prelude number 6 in full contrast with a tremendous softness the rest of the time, just as if he regretted that violence of a short moment and tried to cover it up.

And at the same time Prelude number seven could be one of those dances that were the favorite pieces of the famous Moulin Rouge of Toulouse Lautrec: women, men and absinth, love and oblivion.
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Format: MP3 Music
Charles-Valentin Alkan wrote this set of 25 Preludes, Op. 31, in all the major and minor keys in 1847 in his mid-30s. They are therefore mature works, not totally dissimilar to those of Frederic Chopin, the archetypal composer of solo piano music. The works are played by the French pianist Laurent Martin. They are all quite short pieces, only one lasting for more than 5 minutes but overall they provide an exquisite hour of relaxing piano music, with a mixture of tempi. Though this is quite an early Naxos recording from 1989, the sound quality from the Heidelberg recording studio is warm and appealing.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The music and performance is great but unfortunately the CD itself isn't. It's a reproduction of the original MARCO POLO release but the cover art is poor quality and there are no liner notes. Still, given that it would otherwise be out of print I guess I shouldn't really be complaining.
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