Alkan: Solo Piano Music

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Charles-Valentin Alkan was a true celebrity in 19th-century Paris. A child prodigy who entered the Paris Conservatoire before the age of five, he later won the establishment’s annual prize for solfège at just seven years old and went on to win many more competitions. A friend and contemporary of Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin, Alkan inherited many of Chopin’s pupils after the death of the great composer in 1849. Alkan continued to show admiration for his friend by quoting Chopin’s melodies in his own works.

Alkan’s oeuvre is almost entirely written for piano, and this disc brings together several of these works. The first two pieces, Capriccio alla soldatesca and Le tambour bat aux champs, esquisse are depictions of military life and warfare, and are awash with sound effects such as drumrolls, horns and march rhythms.

The Trois menuets encapsulates three varying styles of minuet, for each of which the performer must employ a different keyboard technique. Both Une fusée, introduction et impromptu and the Nocturnes employ many telling hints of Chopin’s style, and the Sonatine in A minor, with which the disc ends, owes much to the Beethovenian model – but with Alkan’s own distinct flair.

Pianist Costantino Mastroprimiano initially studied at the Conservatorio di Musica di Foggia and the Accademia Chigiana of Siena, and has since performed throughout Europe in ensembles and as a soloist. Curator of the scientific committee for Muzio Clementi’s Opera Omnia and a professor of keyboard and chamber music at the Francesco Morlacchi Conservatory of Perugia, Mastroprimiano has previously recorded many CDs; among them Clementi’s complete sonatas for Brilliant Classics.

Composer Charles Henri Valentin Alkan
Artist Costantino Mastroprimiano (piano)

00:00:00 Capriccio alla soldatesca, Op. 50
00:06:57 Le tambour bat aux champs, esquisse, Op. 50bis
00:11:44 Trois menuets, Op. 51: I. Menuet in E-Flat Major. Tempo giusto
00:16:13 Trois menuets, Op. 51: I. Menuet in G Minor. Tempo debole
00:21:15 Trois menuets, Op. 51: I. Menuet in G Major. Tempo nobile
00:29:12 Une fusée, introduction et impromptu, Op. 55
00:37:15 Nocturnes, Op. 57: Nocturne No. 2 in B Minor
00:44:22 Nocturnes, Op. 57: Nocturne No. 3 in F-Sharp Major
00:47:56 Sonatine in A Minor, Op. 61: I. Allegro vivace
00:53:14 Sonatine in A Minor, Op. 61: II. Allegramente
00:57:10 Sonatine in A Minor, Op. 61: III. Minuetto. Scherzo
01:00:56 Sonatine in A Minor, Op. 61: IV. Tempo giusto

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