Monday, 2 May 2011

Beethoven & Mozart: Alkan's Piano Concerto transcriptions for Solo Piano!

Want to play a piano concerto, but lack the resources of a full orchestra and venue. Now you can perform your very own concerto, transcribed for you, in your own home thanks to the romantic composer Alkan who have transcribed two of the most famous piano concertos into a solo form.

Who was Alkan? French composer and virtuoso pianist Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888), a child prodigy entered the Paris Conservatoire at an astonishing age of 6. He was a contemporary of Liszt and Chopin, and he knew both of these composers personally. Admired by virtuosos of his day such as Busoni, Rubinstein and Liszt. Liszt even once remarked Alkan had the finest piano technique of anyone he knew. He was Chopin's neighbour and many of Chopin's piano students transferred over to Alkan upon his death. Alkan's composition's have also influenced Ravel and Debussy. His Wikipedia biography also notes that it was at first widely believed he died when a bookcase collapsed on him after reaching for the Jewish holy book: Talmud; later corrected that it was an umbrella - coat rack instead.

Beethoven Alkan - Piano Concerto No.3 Op.37. The NorthWest Sinfonietta produced a great programme note about Beethoven's Piano Concerto in C Minor.

Mozart-Alkan Cadenza from the Mozart's Piano Concerto #20 in  D minor.

Boulezian blog of a recent performance:  Mozart Unwrapped (2): Kenneth Hamilton, 'Mozart - Past, Present, Future,' 21 January 2011

Here's Alkan's original work below: the Concerto for Solo Piano Op.39, which wikipedia notes takes an entire hour to play the whole piece!

1 comment:

  1. A great write-up Ben!

    In my search to find previous performances of the Alkan transcription of the Mozart D minor Concerto (K 466), I was so pleased to find your blog, so I hope you don't mind me mentioning that I am giving a recital on 15th October 2013 in London including this rarely performed work!

    Also includes Bach's Italian Concerto (the prototype solo keyboard concerto) and Liszt's own solo piano transcription of 'Gretchen' from A Faust Symphony.