Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (7)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Alkan - Magnificent Hamelin, 20 Aug. 2010
By 
John Ferngrove (Hants UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan (Audio CD)
A can't actually tell if it's Alkan's music or Hamelin's playing that makes this disc such a stirring experience. Alkan was a composer/pianist, contemporary with and respected by both Chopin and Liszt, but who was too reclusive to acquire their degree of fame and reputation. I own several discs of Listz's solo piano works but I must confess that, in comparison with this, they leave me rather cold. Alkan's music is like a fine cognac that puts fire in my veins and goes straight to my head almost from the first bar. Perhaps it is the tunefulness and lyricism of Alkan's writing that affects me thus? While demanding the most formidable pianism the music is in fact rather simple, with an easily identifiable foreground always in play, constructed from big, sweeping tunes that range from the dramatic style of the French Revolutionary period through to a tender romanticism that so clearly anticipates Debussy. On the other hand it might be Hamelin's outrageous playing, described as he is by some as a 'super-virtuoso'. At times he seems to be wrestling the piano all around the floor, emerging bruised and bloodied, at others riding it like a pounding locomotive, white hot and on the verge of explosion. Out of all this heat and light comes a palette of colours that seems a whole dimension richer and deeper than the customary piano in the way that the pianoforte was beyond the fortepiano. The tones of other players seem thin and spindly in comparison.

The first work is the Grand Sonate or 'Four Ages', Op.33, whose curious fast, fast, slow, slower movement structure works surprisingly well. The shorter Sonatine, Op.61, has a more conventional arrangement of movements, even if its slow second seems to be itching to resume the demonic fire and pace of its three associates. The infinitely kind and gentle Baccarole, Op.66 No.6, is three minutes of sweetest heaven on Earth. The other filler is No.12 from his mighty Etudes in the Minor Key, Op.39, the Animals of Aesop, which sound like a diabolical and slightly unhinged set of variations on Bah-Bah Black Sheep.

I remain unclear as to why it Alkan's name is not better known today. Perhaps it really is just the huge demands he places on the skills and above all the stamina of his performers. Certainly it is not for demands he makes on the listener which are simply those of experiencing pleasure and excitement
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Titanic Performance of Astonishingly Rich Piano Works, 5 Nov. 2009
By 
Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan (Audio CD)
Hamelin plays these amazingly rich and original piano works with belief-defying dexterity and Titanic pianism. There are other pianists who recorded some of the works, but Hamelin is peerless in capturing the transcendental quality of Alkan's piano music by his incomparable musical mind and limitless technical resources. The more you listen, the more you discover in the kaleidoscopic complexity of each work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Alkan, 19 Mar. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan (Audio CD)
This is the ultimate alkan cd. Anyone wanting an introduction to his wonderful oeuvre should look no further. This is actually pretty much my favourite cd of all. I am a fan of all types of music, but i would say that fans of more aggressive and thrillingly dramatic music would be the ones to enjoy this the most. Extremely alive, emotional, dramatic , exciting , and diverse. THIS IS ALKAN!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommend, 25 Oct. 2014
By 
BC-Cheshire (Cheshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan (Audio CD)
Extraordinary composer, extraordinary pianist. I was introduced to Alkan's work by my son, and it has just blown me away. I am not a pianist, so cannot comment in the technical side of this, but it is an exciting adrenaline rush of fabulous music. Thoroughly recommend
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant enough, 1 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan (Audio CD)
Alkan was a new one to me. I bought this after hearing the 1st track "Grande Sonate, Op. 33, "Les Quatre Âges" - 1. 20 Ans. Très Vite" on the radio and bought it on the strength of that and Alkan's period (1813-1888).

This disc is pleasant enough but did not make a big impact on me. I think what I can't find in Alkan's music is something that stands out as uniquely-Alkan. That said, there isn't anything I dislike about this and don't regret my purchase.

If you are after piano-fireworks, you will find them here along with some pieces that are no doubt very difficult to play (which Hamelin tackles with consummate ease).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 22 Feb. 2001
By 
This review is from: Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan (Audio CD)
You just can't fault this performance. These are great romantic works for solo piano and if you want some fantastic music then get this CD. How Hamelin plays this music I don't know but he does it wonderfully.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Must be heard!, 17 Mar. 2015
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan (Audio CD)
Six awe inspired stars! What could a mere mortal say about such virtuosity without belittling it with the mundane? Alkan was a genius, as is Hamelin. If you love music, you will be enamoured.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alkan Sonatas played by Hamelin, 28 Dec. 2012
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan (Audio CD)
I used to think that Liszt wrote the most complicated solo piano music - then I came across the compositions of Charles-Valentin Alkan, a 19th century French composer. I have never seen an Alkan score but the page must be black with ink. To play this music is a formidable challenge for any pianist but, on this CD, Marc-André Hamelin seems to fly over the keyboard with relative ease. In this selection of four pieces by Alkan, there are few long-breathed melodies as you would hear in the music of Chopin, Liszt or Rachmaninoff, but the virtuosity is astounding. The 4* rating is primarily for the breathtaking performance rather than for the endearing quality of the music itself which sounds rather like very hard studies by Czerny.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 21 April 2010
By 
C. Ainsbury (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan (Audio CD)
This CD is great. His music is wonderful - full of life and excitement. Fab!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan
Alkan: Marc-André Hamelin plays Alkan by Marc-André Hamelin (Audio CD - 2000)
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews