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Alkan: Recueils De Chants Vol. 1 (Stephanie McCallum) (Toccata Classics : TOCC 0157)

Stephanie McCallum , Charles-Valentin Alkan , None Audio CD

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Alkan: Recueils De Chants Vol. 1 (Stephanie McCallum) (Toccata Classics : TOCC 0157) + Alkian: Recueils De Chants [Stephanie McCallum] [Toccata Classics: TOCC 0158]
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1. Premier recueil de chants, Op 38 (1857) - Stephanie McCallum
2. Deuxième recueil de chants, Op 38 (1857) - Stephanie McCallum
3. Troisième recueil de chants, Op 65 (c 1859).4. Une fuse | Introduction et Impromptu, Op 55 - Stephanie McCallum

Product Description

Product Description

2013 sees the bicentenary of the births not only of Wagner and Verdi but also of the maverick French composer Charles-Valentin Alkan.

Alkan's music was little appreciated during his lifetime (181383), and in the century which followed, when he was largely lost from sight, but now he is increasingly recognised as one of the most individual personalities in all music.

The five albums he called Recueils de chants miniature tone-poems which marry Classical constraint to virtuoso Romantic excess provide an attractive gateway to his freewheeling imagination.

This is the first volume of a two-CD series presenting the first recording of the complete Chants in over twenty years and is accompanied by the first-ever recording of the'Introduction and Impromptu' Une fuse.

Product Description

Premier recueil de chants, op.38 - Deuxième recueil de chants, op.38 - Troisième recueil de chants, op.65 - Une fusée : Introduction et Impromptu, op.55 / Stephanie McCallum, piano

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Short Pieces in Alkan's Homage to Mendelssohn's 'Songs Without Words' 25 Mar 2013
By J Scott Morrison - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Almost all of Charles-Valentin Alkan's music lay in obscurity until the past few decades. Raymond Lewenthal's astonishing recording in the 1960s provided my first exposure to Alkan's music and I've been collecting recordings of his works faithfully ever since. As far as I'm concerned -- and I know there are those who disagree -- his music is the equal of, and often surpasses, that of Liszt. They are generally extremely virtuosic and although some of them have their share of Lisztian bombast, they are unfailingly at least interesting and more often exciting and lovely.

Alkan wrote five 'Recueils de Chants' ('Collections of Songs'). Written from 1857 to 1872, they were inspired by the first set of six 'Songs Without Words', Op. 19b, published in 1832 by Mendelssohn. Each of the 'Recueils' contains six pieces whose key signatures are precisely those of the Mendelssohn set: E major; A Minor; A Major; A Major; F Sharp Minor; G Minor. Further, each of the Alkan pieces imitates, at least faintly, the general outline of its Mendelssohnian model. But there the similarity ends, as no one could ever mistake one of Alkan's pieces for any of Mendelssohn's. Alkan's style is uniquely his own and instantly recognizable to those familiar with any of his other music. For those of you who are coming to his music for the first time I'd suggest you listen to the clips of some of his music at the mp3 site for this disc: Alkan: Complete Recueils de Chants, Vol. 1 or for one of the other Alkan discs here at Amazon, e.g. Alkan: 12 Etudes Dans Les Tons Mineurs, Op. 35: Concerto.

There have been recordings of some of this music before -- most notably the astounding performance of the Third Recueil by Marc-André Hamelin: Alkan: Concerto for solo piano; Troisième recueil de chants -- but Stephanie McCallum, an Australian pianist, certainly holds her own. Further, it will be nice to have all five Recueils in a two-disc set when the second set comes out from Toccata Classics, as it is slated to do.

The final piece on this disc is the never-before-recorded 'Une Fusée, Introduction et Impromptu', Op. 55. As the excellent notes by McCallum indicate, 'fusée' can have several meanings, the most common modern meaning of which is 'rocket', but it is more likely to have been inspired by a nineteenth-century meaning having to do with spinning or weaving. The music itself, after a slow introduction, is probably meant to be suggestive of either the circular motion of a spinning wheel or the back and forth motion of a loom's shuttle. It is a whirling, virtuosic piece brought to life by McCallum.

One waits eagerly for a companion second volume of Recueils.

Scott Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific 3 Mar 2014
By R Gillespie - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The music seemed quite strange at first but I have slowly become more and more fascinated and have backed it up with further research.
5.0 out of 5 stars About time the complete Chants were recorded again, McCallum perfect for the job. 31 Jan 2014
By Ethan James McCollum - Published on
Verified Purchase
I have many of McCallum's recordings already, and was very excited when I first heard that she would be recording the complete Chants of Alkan. Jacqueline Mefano's recordings are very good, but it is nice to have a commercially available recording.

Regarding the actual playing, McCallum provides a wide contrast of character and approach to playing throughout. She displays plenty of charm, virtuosity when needed, lyricism when needed, and long line. And great that there's a first recording thrown along with it!

If you enjoy Alkan's music, I highly recommend this CD, along with the second volume. If you are not familiar with or skeptical of Alkan's music, I also recommend this disc, because it shows a window into Alkan's creative mind and what he could do with small character pieces (instead of the "super-virtuoso" music he seems to be most known for).
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