"In a way I wish it did not require such a formidable technique, because I do not really enjoy sweating over this music." This is virtuoso pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin speaking of Charles-Valentin Alkan
, the Romantic pianist said to have made even Liszt nervous, and whose exhilarating works fell into obscurity due to their rigorous technical demands. For a warm-up, here's Alkan's major etude "Allegro barbaro"
, as performed by Jack Gibbons. A machine recording of his piece Le Chemin de Fer
in which you can see the keys being pressed. Recordings of Youtube exist of people attempting his near-impossible Scherzo focoso
(and, for comparison, a mechanical rendition of the same
). And for encore, here is Hamelin again playing Les Quatre Ages
, frequently considered Alkan's most mature work, a sonata depicting the four ages of man.
posted by Rory Marinich
on Jul 29, 2010 -
What's the most difficult piano piece?
. Is it La Campanella
, written by Liszt to show off what only he could do? (performance
) Is it Balakirev's Islamey
, which even Balakirev struggled to play? (performance
) Or Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit
, written to top Islamey
) Does Godowsky double his points by reconfiguring the already-difficult Chopin for the left hand? (performance
) And if someone plays all four hours of Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum
, written across four staves to fit the extra notes, will anyone listen? (perfomance excerpts
, score excerpts
posted by argybarg
on Jan 6, 2007 -