Alkan: Complete Recueils De Chants, Vol. 1
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The wild originality of 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 recognized as one of the most individual personalities in music. The 5 albums he called Miniature Tone-Poems provide a gateway to his freewheeling imagination.
Top Customer Reviews
Alkan wrote five 'Recueils de Chants' ('Collections of Songs'). Written from 1857 to 1872, they were inspired by the first set of six 'Songs Without Words', Op. 19b, published in 1832 by Mendelssohn. Each of the 'Recueils' contains six pieces whose key signatures are precisely those of the Mendelssohn set: E major; A Minor; A Major; A Major; F Sharp Minor; G Minor. Further, each of the Alkan pieces imitates, at least faintly, the general outline of its Mendelssohnian model. But there the similarity ends, as no one could ever mistake one of Alkan's pieces for any of Mendelssohn's. Alkan's style is uniquely his own and instantly recognizable to those familiar with any of his other music. For those of you who are coming to his music for the first time I'd suggest you listen to the clips of some of his music at the mp3 site for this disc: Alkan: Complete Recueils de Chants, Vol. 1 or for one of the other Alkan discs here at Amazon, e.g. Alkan: 12 Etudes Dans Les Tons Mineurs, Op. 35: Concerto.Read more ›
Regarding the actual playing, McCallum provides a wide contrast of character and approach to playing throughout. She displays plenty of charm, virtuosity when needed, lyricism when needed, and long line. And great that there's a first recording thrown along with it!
If you enjoy Alkan's music, I highly recommend this CD, along with the second volume. If you are not familiar with or skeptical of Alkan's music, I also recommend this disc, because it shows a window into Alkan's creative mind and what he could do with small character pieces (instead of the "super-virtuoso" music he seems to be most known for).