France's First Great Pianist

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

France had a rich harpsichord tradition, but once the piano arrived on the scene, the Paris Conservatory soon ended up using harpsichords for firewood. David Dubal’s new series traces the history of French piano music, focusing on the nation’s great composers and interpreters. The inaugural episode is dedicated to the first great piano composer of the French Romanticism: Charles-Valentin Alkan.

Alkan was a child prodigy who began his studies at the Paris Conservatory at age six and soon emerged as one of the most enigmatic composers of his generation. Unlike the other giants of Romanticism, Alkan was neither an insatiable performer nor self-promoter. He was notoriously reclusive and wrote music that was idiosyncratic and difficult to play, but his work both demands and deserves a closer listen.

Program playlist (all pieces by Charles-Valentin Alkan):

Grand Sonate Op. 33, Movement 1
Francesco Libetta, piano
MIPFD

Prelude, Though I Slumbered my Heart was Awake
Ronald Smith, piano
APR

Grande Sonate, Op. 33, Movement 2: Quasi-Faust
Raymond Lewenthal, piano
BMG

Petit Conte
Alan Weiss, piano
Brilliant

Concerto for Solo Piano, Movement 3: Allegretto alla barbaresca
John Ogdon, piano
EMI

Barcarolle Op. 65 No. 6
Raymond Lewenthal, piano
BMG

Le Festin d'Esope (Aesop's Feast)
Raymond Lewenthal, piano
BMG

Nocturne No. 1 Op. 22
Alan Weiss, piano
Brilliant

Comments [5]

Bob Tonucci from Odenton, MD

Please offer the show as a webcast -- thanks!

Sep. 07 2014 10:26 AM
Victoria Macdonald from New York

Darn, missed it. Will it be available as a podcast or to stream?

Sep. 05 2014 08:12 AM
Frank Schramm from Montclair, NJ

Excellent Program!
David Dubal's programs are a joy to listen to!
Thank you for a very fine program.

Sep. 05 2014 12:25 AM

I heard portions of the broadcast and was mightily impressed. It's also good to know that there are such great recordings of this relatively unknown composer. DD~~

Sep. 04 2014 11:19 PM
John Hinton from Cleveland, Ohio

I just heard the most fantastic radio show I have ever listened to! Alkan's piano music is fantastic. David Dubal's programing is without doubt superb. Thank you WQXR.

Sep. 04 2014 09:03 PM

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