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Charles-Valentin Alkan

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Sonata de Concert, Op.47 for Cello or Viola and Piano

Alkan's Sonata de Concert was completed in 1856. It is a massive work and must be considered one of the most important for cello and piano up until this time. The opening Allegro molto is bristling with thematic material. It starts off quite lyrically but is developed extensively by means of scale passages and fugues. The second movement, Allegrettino, is a chromatic and diffident Siciliano. In the manuscript, Alkan wrote before the third movement, Adagio, the words from verse 7 of Micah chapter 5 from the Old Testament: "As dew from the Lord, the Jewish people endure, awaiting help from God alone." Some critics have noted that the gentle melodies were inspired from Jewish sacred music. The finale, subtitled alla Salterella, is a virtuoso masterpiece.

 

Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888) was born in Paris and entered the conservatory there at the age of 7. He was a child prodigy on both the violin and the piano. During his lifetime, he was regarded as the equal of Liszt as a piano virtuoso. Liszt himself said Alkan had the best technique of any pianist he knew. For the last 40 years of his life, Alkan became a recluse and gave up his concert career, but kept on composing, although his music did not receive the attention it deserved until the 20th century. Several critics have now written that Alkan, along with Liszt, Chopin, Schumann and Brahms was one of the five greatest composers for the piano since Beethoven. It is said he was one of the truest of Beethovenís heirs in terms of his structural handling of rhythm. Hummel, Cherubini, Chopin, Bach and above all Beethoven influenced Alkan's music. Although a great piano virtuoso whose output was mostly for the piano, Alkan, who began as a violinist, knew how to write for strings.

 

Certainly our new edition of this work is worthy of a place in the repertoire and concert performance. Alkan's publisher, with a view toward increased sales, insisted on a version for viola. We also offer this.

 

(A) Sonata de Concert for Cello & Piano-Parts $24.95
(B) Sonata de Concert for Viola & Piano-Parts $24.95

 

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