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Alkan: 12 Études, Op. 39
Charles-Valentin Alkan, Jack Gibbons
Alkan: 12 Études, Op. 39
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #2

Alkan's gargatuan Op. 39 Etudes embody a symphony (Etudes 4-7), a solo concertos (Etudes 8-10), an overture (No. 11), and a riotous set of 25 variations depicting the animals of Aesop's fables (No. 12, La festin d'Esope). ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Charles-Valentin Alkan, Jack Gibbons
Title: Alkan: 12 Études, Op. 39
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Asv Living Era
Release Date: 9/19/1995
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
Styles: Exercise, Opera & Classical Vocal, Chamber Music, Forms & Genres, Short Forms, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Instruments, Keyboard
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 743625022728

Alkan's gargatuan Op. 39 Etudes embody a symphony (Etudes 4-7), a solo concertos (Etudes 8-10), an overture (No. 11), and a riotous set of 25 variations depicting the animals of Aesop's fables (No. 12, La festin d'Esope). The music demands boundless technique and stamina, which Jack Gibbons supplies in spades. He dives headfirst into the treacherous writing, letting the chips fall where they may. One can't really top Marc-Andre Hamelin's unflappable proficiency in the concertos, yet Gibbons rougher, leonine demeanor thrusts Alkan's Dionysiac qualities more to the fore. Bet you can't digest this yummy 12-plus course piano feast all in one sitting! --Dan Davis

CD Reviews

An incredible recording! Gibbons' Alkan is superb!
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Alkan's Magnum Opus (39) has been seen recorded many times over the past years in part, as well as in whole. Jack Gibbons demonstrates that his interpretation of this monstrously challenging set stands at the very top of the list. Out of the 250+ CDs I own, I would have to say that this is the best. Gibbons' "Comme le Vent" is breathtakingly virtuostic and full of velocity. His "En Rythm Molossique" is a great wall of power and control, his "Scherzo Diabolique", feindish and scary. This recording of the "Symphonie" is fantastic, second only to Lewenthal's. His "Concerto" is very ordered, the finale a dazzling display of pianism (despite the missed note in the final black-key run). The "Ouverture" is the best recorded yet, and shows the true depth of Alkan's creations; I could write a review on just this piece! His "Festin" is a bit slow, but he never overexagerates the tempos. The other pieces added to the first disc ruin one's picture of the all-out-bravura crazed Alkan, replacing it with a sensitive, profound one. This CD is truly incredible. If you have any affection for Art Music whatsoever, this recording is a must have!"
The Finest Recording of These Astounding Pieces Available
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Charles-Valentin Alkan was rightly marked by Busoni as one of the 5 greatest post-Beethoven composers for piano (the others being Chopin, Schumann, Liszt, & Brahms). That his amazing music is not as well know is tragic. Alkan was close friends with Chopin & Liszt, and an influence on both of them (as well as Brahms). His music is the most technically formidable prior to Godowsky. This CD is a recording of Alkan's most remarkable work (the Opus 39 12 Etudes in the Minor Keys). It could not be better performed by Jack Gibbons. Not only is Gibbons up to the pieces cruel technical demands, but he produces a lush rich tone that is a joy in itself. Listen to his performance of the Symphony for Solo Piano (Etudes 4 - 7): there is not a better recorded performance available. Any piano lover absolutely must have these CDs. They are a treasure."
(No title).
offeck | New York, NY -- United States of America | 12/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Comme Le Vent, Like the wind, is a firey, unrelenting deluge of notes which, if played at Alkan's specified metronome marking, travels at the rate of 160 bars per minute -- 20 densely packed pages in just 4'30," and Gibbons falls unbelievably only 7 seconds short! En Rhythm Molossique and Scherzo Diabolico, both technically wicked compositions, receive commanding and sure-footed performances. The Symphony further demonstates Gibbons proficiency in adherence to tempo and metronome markings inspite of taxing athletic and visceral demands, giving it a great sense of impetus, space, and drive. The Concerto, in his hands, is less classical and crisp than Hamelin's, but more wildly romantic; an extraordinary feat of virtuosity. Le festin d'Esope and Allegro Barbaro in all their fiendish and barbaric virtuosity get very poetic readings, very rare indeed... The more slow pieces all fall within the heartbeat, receiving sensitive, simple, and atmospheric performances... Gibbons is an Alkan interpreter of exceptional authority, and I cannot wait until his next release (of anything). In excellent sound, this very generous two-CD set is a TOP recommendation!"