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Charles-Valentin Alkan : Œuvres pour piano. Viner.
Format : 1 CD
Total Time : 01:11:58

Recording : 2018
Location : Schiedam
Country : Pays-Bas
Sound : Eglise / Stereo

Label : Piano Classics
Catalog No. : PCL10207
EAN : 5029365102070
Price Code : DM019A

Publishing Year : 2021
Release Date : 10/03/2021

Genre : Classical
Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888)
Paraphrase "Salut, cendre du pauvre", op. 45
Paraphrase "Super flumina Babylonis", op. 52
Trois Marches quasi da cavalleria, op. 37
Marche funèbre, op. 26
Marche triomphale, op. 27
Symphonie, extrait de "Douze études dans tous les tons mineurs", op. 39

Mark Viner, piano

Sujet : la marche. Aussi fantasque qu’ait été Alkan, il encrait son imaginaire dans le romantisme, celui visionnaire des toiles de Füssli ou des lavis de Victor-Hugo, mais aussi ceux du Chopin de la Deuxième Sonate ou des catafalques imaginaires de Liszt. C’est l’objet du nouvel album Alkan de Mark Viner qui à mesure assemble ce qui semble bien devoir devenir une intégral magistrale où il s’affirme en digne héritier du brio et des fantaisies de Raymond Lewenthal. D’ailleurs toutes ces marches ne sont pas funèbres, mais toutes seront obsessives (les « quasi da cavalleria », et leur panache fantasque, les deux dernières sont ici gravées en premières mondiales). Si la Symphonie tirée des Etudes en tons mineurs figure en coda de ce sulfureux album, c’est pour sa Marche funèbre. Avouer que Mark Viner n’en fait qu’une bouchée ne surprendra personne, mais il y a plus, dans le caractère, dans le raptus, et parfois dans cette élégie impromptue si émouvante soudain dans la stèle de « Salut, cendre du pauvre », un musicien qui efface le virtuose. Admirable, je guette la suite. (Jean-Charles Hoffelé)

The latest volume in a revelatory Alkan series from an English pianist with a string of critically acclaimed albums of rare repertoire from the Golden Age of the piano virtuoso to his credit. Perhaps the most enigmatic figure in the history of music as a whole, let alone the 19th century, Charles-Valentin Alkan remains one of the most intriguing and alluring names among the pantheon of pianist-composers. According to Franz Liszt, Alkan possessed the finest technique he had ever seen yet preferred the life of a recluse. The outstanding masterpiece of the album is the ‘Symphonie’ for solo piano which Alkan drew from his set of 12 Studies Op.39. It opens with an Allegro which is one of the composer’s most darkly impassioned conceptions, in which declamatory rhetoric, passionate outbursts and towering climaxes are all bound by a tightly organised structure. The piano writing is distinctly orchestral in nature, hence the ‘symphonic’ designation, demanding that the intrepid soloist make his or her way through towering conglomerations of sometimes ten note chords, thick, chordal tremoli and volleys of double octaves: only fully accredited virtuosi need apply! The Symphonie is placed on this album as the climax to a sequence of grand marches conceived on a similarly grand scale. They include the Three Cavalry Marches Op.39, which find Alkan at his most concise, in the Berliozian No.1, his most eccentric (the trio of No.2) and whimsical (No.3). Like them, the Marche funèbre Op.26 bears witness to Alkan’s ability to channel a latent and, at times, menacing power through material of the slightest substance. The following Marche triomphale Op.27 is a massive, swaggering affair, in contrast to the ruminative melancholy of the opening paraphrase Op.45 on a poem by Legouvé set in a cemetery and cast in Alkan’s most elegiac vein. A profound sadness also inflects the opening section of the composer’s ingenious instrumental setting of Psalm 137, ‘By the waters of Babylon’.

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