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 Post subject: Charles-Valentin Alkan
PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:31 am 
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Charles-Valentin Alkan was a composer in the romantic period, with Chopin and Liszt, yet his music is much unknown today. If you haven't heard of Alkan or are mostly unfamiliar with him, have a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbD1oAMLyn4



"Alkan: The forgotten genius - maybe the tortured genius - a man whose talents didn't pander to the appetites of the time. Nor does his breathtaking music find favour today. Why? Is it the sheer difficulty of execution making many works almost impossible to perform? Is it the complexity and aggressive hard edges, or could it be the fleeting changes of mood and volatility? Music that cannot be pidgeon holed and possibly not even understood.

Many painters have been famous long after their death, Van Gogt and Monet to name just two. Brilliant artists misunderstood in times when technical excellence was demanded and whose works are much loved today with their vibrance and light. Even dark works such as Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' are highly valued today perhaps as an insight into the human soul.

But still Alkan's music lies largely undiscovered. Perhaps, just as 'The Scream' is dark and challenging maybe its two dimensional form allows understanding, whereas the three and four dimensional works of Alkan, music without apology, maybe accusational, sometimes calmly religious or even sweetly haunting, still lie undiscovered and misunderstood. Perhaps Alkan was in fact a musical architect with a blueprint of a building that could never be built, soaring structures of great strength and impossible angles, hard materials with rooms of such eclectic contrast as to confuse the visitor. Living with Alkan may introduce you to the wonders of this musical architect, opening your eyes and ears to stunning surprises, mercurial changes of mood and depth of music that may just render other musical forms into slightly contemptuous familiarity".


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:51 pm 
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Nope, we'd never heard of this Alkan here, nor of his music. It's soooo unknown... can't find it anywhere on the internet. And nobody seems to like or even understand it.
PLEASE tell us more about him, share your unique insights with us ! We are in dire need to be educated !

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:59 pm 
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:lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:23 pm 
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oh, terribly sorry.... :(


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:05 pm 
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That was a bit of a harsh reception for a new member :? Don't take it too wrong, but certainly we can reward enthusiasm with more than shame, can't we?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:41 am 
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Perhaps I should've realised that this being a piano forum Alkan has probably been much discussed already. I do hope some people will watch the video I included as it was a good 100 hours work for me (having never done something like that before).

"Nope, we'd never heard of this Alkan here, nor of his music. It's soooo unknown... can't find it anywhere on the internet. And nobody seems to like or even understand it.
PLEASE tell us more about him, share your unique insights with us ! We are in dire need to be educated !"

If I came accross as arrogant like that, It's probably because I wrote those paragraphs in an arrogant way to actually get a better mark (it was for a school research project). It's all my opinion of course and opinions can never be right or wrong. I'm interested in YOURS.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:52 am 
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It’s okay, yam – I see you do understand that we are all classical piano enthusiasts and therefore it should be obvious that we know about Alkan. Coming onto the forum and asking if we’ve heard of Alkan would be like asking a bunch of rock-n-rollers if they’ve heard of Jimi Hendrix. However, I do not know that much about Alkan, so I may watch your video someday. It better be good! :) (kidding)

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:17 am 
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yam wrote:
If I came accross as arrogant like that, It's probably because I wrote those paragraphs in an arrogant way to actually get a better mark (it was for a school research project). It's all my opinion of course and opinions can never be right or wrong. I'm interested in YOURS.

Ah no, not arrogant, I see your good intentions. I was just taking the p*ss, really :lol:
Will have a look at that video. It's not as if we know everything about Alkan here.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:45 pm 
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Hello again, sweet potatoe. :lol: (hope you get that) Anyway, I had a little time to kill before my class and so I watched your video. I didn't realize there are several videos in the complete set, but I watched the first one just now and really did enjoy it. Much of that is due to the time in which you talk about Chopin! Very interesting the comparisons between Alkan's and Chopin's Prelude/Etude! I also like the photos you have up, and I caught that one of them is actually Hershey Felder in his portrayal of Chopin in a stage show which I saw a few years ago.

gotta run, but I'll watch the other videos later.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:46 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Hello again, sweet potatoe. :lol: (hope you get that)


I see no deep meaning so perhaps I don't get it :P

EDIT: now why can't I get the quote thingy working...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:15 am 
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yam wrote:
pianolady wrote:
Hello again, sweet potatoe. :lol: (hope you get that)


I see no deep meaning so perhaps I don't get it :P


No deep meaning :lol: I live near Chicago, Illinois and around here yams are also called sweet potatoes!

yam wrote:
EDIT: now why can't I get the quote thingy working...


They should work now. You needed to disable HTML, so I did that for you.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:16 am 
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ah awesome thanks :)

Oh, sweet potatoes here in new zealand are kumara's (maori name) and to me a yam is a rather sour potato actually :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:22 am 
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Interesting - I didn't know there was such a thing as a sour potatoe! I sometimes put sour cream on my potatoes, is that what you mean?

I know some people make sweet potatoes with lots of butter and marshmallows so then they are really really sweet! ( I don't like that - yuck)

btw - I still plan on watching your other videos - probably tomorrow.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 6:15 am 
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Yay :) I think the other ones are more interesting myself, or at least the music that they cover is.

Nah they aren't actually called sour potatoes, I just find them more sour than a potato myself, actually don't like them :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:05 pm 
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Location: Orange, CA
Quote:
Oh, sweet potatoes here in new zealand are kumara's (maori name) and to me a yam is a rather sour potato actually :P

My last girlfriend HATED yams with an extraordinary passion (we're not together anymore)!!

Quote:
I didn't realize there are several videos in the complete set, but I watched the first one just now and really did enjoy it ... Very interesting the comparisons between Alkan's and Chopin's Prelude/Etude!

I concur, the comparisons were cool. I'm not surprised some of his music might have been inspired by Chopin... Chopin inspires anyone whose ears hear his compositions. Watching the second and third videos now, I enjoy the time spent on just listening to the music. It provides a nice contrast from learning to actually hearing what's being talked about. And being somewhat new to the forums I didn't know much about Alkan, so thanks for posting!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:46 pm 
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I don't like yams, either. But at least they're better than spinach!

Anyway - I just finished watching all videos. You did a nice job - I'm very impressed. And yes -I also learned a lot about Alkan. I hope you got a good grade! Just wondering - did he ever marry?

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:11 pm 
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:? you don't like spinach??? spinach is awesome!! Mustard greens, otoh, eeewwwww! :P

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:57 pm 
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organtechnic23 wrote:
Quote:
I didn't realize there are several videos in the complete set, but I watched the first one just now and really did enjoy it ... Very interesting the comparisons between Alkan's and Chopin's Prelude/Etude!

I concur, the comparisons were cool. I'm not surprised some of his music might have been inspired by Chopin... Chopin inspires anyone whose ears hear his compositions. Watching the second and third videos now, I enjoy the time spent on just listening to the music. It provides a nice contrast from learning to actually hearing what's being talked about. And being somewhat new to the forums I didn't know much about Alkan, so thanks for posting!


Thanks I'm really glad you liked it! :)


Last edited by yam on Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 12:01 am 
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pianolady wrote:
I don't like yams, either. But at least they're better than spinach!

Anyway - I just finished watching all videos. You did a nice job - I'm very impressed. And yes -I also learned a lot about Alkan. I hope you got a good grade! Just wondering - did he ever marry?


As far as I know, no. I can't remember if I mentioned in the video that he had a son, I had to cut it a bit shorter as it was getting too long, but it is generally accepted that he had a son, Élie-Miriam Delaborde, who was probably the product of something between Alkan and one of his pupils who he taught. Delaborde played alot of his father's music and even edited some of it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 6:07 am 
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nathanscoleman wrote:
:? you don't like spinach??? spinach is awesome!! Mustard greens, otoh, eeewwwww! :P


mustard greens, dandelion greens, spinach, same thing....yuck!

yam wrote:
As far as I know, no. I can't remember if I mentioned in the video that he had a son, I had to cut it a bit shorter as it was getting too long, but it is generally accepted that he had a son, Élie-Miriam Delaborde, who was probably the product of something between Alkan and one of his pupils who he taught. Delaborde played alot of his father's music and even edited some of it.


ok, thanks for the information. :)

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:13 pm 
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But Alkan never did marry. Alkan treated Delaborde very well, but it was a touchy topic for him, as he was very much afraid of scandal. Very self conscious individual.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:41 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
yam wrote:
pianolady wrote:
Hello again, sweet potatoe. :lol: (hope you get that)


I see no deep meaning so perhaps I don't get it :P


No deep meaning :lol: I live near Chicago, Illinois and around here yams are also called sweet potatoes!



How did we get from Alkan to Thanksgiving side-dishes (at least in the U.S.). :lol: I guess that "Alkan" could be a brand name -- "I'll have some Alkan Candied Yams."

Actually, what we call "Yams" in the U.S. are not yams but orange sweet potatoes. Yam was a marketing gimmik in the long past to separate them from the whiter sweet potato. A true yam is, I believe, similar to the taro root.

Now for a message from our sponsor -- Alkan yams ....


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:55 pm 
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RSPIll wrote:

Actually, what we call "Yams" in the U.S. are not yams but orange sweet potatoes. Yam was a marketing gimmik in the long past to separate them from the whiter sweet potato. A true yam is, I believe, similar to the taro root.


Ah, perhaps that's why I don't find them sweet at all, while you guys do :)


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:08 pm 
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I suspected that a yam was a little different from a sweet potatoe, but I didn't realize by how much! I just looked it up here:

http://homecooking.about.com/od/howtoco ... todiff.htm

Since I don't like sweet potatoes, I never cared about learning about them or about yams for that matter. Not sure I would like a 'real' yam or not.

@RSPIll - I see you also live in Illinois. Wonder if we know each other! And btw - I fixed your quotes.

( I can't think of any clever way to bring this back onto topic...)

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 9:50 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
( I can't think of any clever way to bring this back onto topic...)


We could always talk about Liszt! :D

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:41 pm 
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nathanscoleman wrote:
pianolady wrote:
( I can't think of any clever way to bring this back onto topic...)


We could always talk about Liszt! :D


Yeah - he knew Alkan. Also, Chopin - we hardly ever talk about him! :wink: :lol:

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:17 am 
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Indeed! How about a dicussion on how those 3 influenced each other? Or some other composers like Ravina who actually directly copied Alkan.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:46 am 
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yam wrote:
Indeed! How about a dicussion on how those 3 influenced each other? Or some other composers like Ravina who actually directly copied Alkan.


I don't know of Ravina, but did Alkan know about this? And you gave some nice examples in your videos of how Liszt 'borrowed' bits of Alkan's music, and Alkan 'borrowed' bits of Chopin's music. Don't you wish you could have been in the room with them to hear what each of these men said when they learned about these things? I wonder if they felt angry or if they were flattered? You know the saying, "imitation is the best form of flattery" or something like that...

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:00 am 
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Ravina is mentioned in my video. He directly copied the opening bars of the piano solo in Alkan's Concerto da camera No.1 in one of his etudes.

Hmm I myself would be flattered, but it would also perhaps influence how I thought of the others as composers, or perhaps even annoyed if i thought someone had stolen my ideas and composed a better piece.

Something I found after I made the video is the obvious similarities between Chopin's Butterfly Etude and Alkan's Etude Op.35 No. 12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFWVXrDD ... 7&index=11

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i27_BGnB1M0


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:09 pm 
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yam wrote:
Hmm I myself would be flattered, but it would also perhaps influence how I thought of the others as composers, or perhaps even annoyed if i thought someone had stolen my ideas and composed a better piece.

Yes, that would be hard to take.

And you're right about the Butterfly Etude and Alkan's Etude sounding alike. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if there are more examples of Alkan using some of Chopin's music, because Chopin bequeathed his unfinished Method of teaching theory to Alkan. Not sure if this book contained music, or just text about theory, though.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:41 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
I suspected that a yam was a little different from a sweet potatoe, but I didn't realize by how much! I just looked it up here:

http://homecooking.about.com/od/howtoco ... todiff.htm

Since I don't like sweet potatoes, I never cared about learning about them or about yams for that matter. Not sure I would like a 'real' yam or not.

@RSPIll - I see you also live in Illinois. Wonder if we know each other! And btw - I fixed your quotes.

( I can't think of any clever way to bring this back onto topic...)


Thanx for fixing the quotes. Broken quotes seem to go with age.

If you take Halsted Street south and continue through corn field after corn field until you're sick of looking at corn fields, you would find where I live -- the Sweet Corn Capital of the World.

Actually, we probably haven't met. I left IL in 1975 and returned to the mid-west in 2002, living in Indianapolis until just recently. I haven't been to Chi-town in years.

Now back to the topic at hand .... :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:06 pm 
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well, we had it back on topic for a little while, anyway. :) Maybe yam will come back and get us back on track. In the meantime, I actually live in the western suburbs and I suppose you are right in that our paths have never crossed. I've never been to Hoopeston.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:15 am 
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hmm I went away for a few days and then forgot about it, so maybe I can put you back on topic now :lol:

I've started learning the Grande Sonate 20 ans, it seems impossible to play up to speed. Do you think this is worth my work or if there is another piece that would be more enjoyed by others? (I really want to play Alkan though)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZFAhgfc1Fc


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 6:55 am 
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Have you looked at Alkan's A major etude (first set)? I think it's pretty manageable.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 8:18 am 
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Yeah I've heard it, I love the sonate so much more though. I'm prepared to take it on. My favourite from the first set is number four though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4cJh9Ki ... PL&index=3


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:57 pm 
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Yes, that's a great one too. I like that one. It is a fingertwister, though... but what Alkan isn't? :wink:

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

Felix Mendelssohn


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:19 pm 
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Barcarolle from Op 65 :D It's quite easily sight-read in fact, a nice change :P


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:25 pm 
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Also the little one that I recorded - the Esquisses Op.63, no. 46 "Le premier billet doux".

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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