Concerto for Solo Piano, Op. 39 #8-10 (1857)
Troisième recueil de chants, Op. 65 (c. 1870)
Marc-André Hamelin, piano
Hyperion CDA67569 67:39
It's only in fairly recent times that Alkan has emerged from the obscurity in which he spent most of his life. This is due in no small part to the fact that a technique of a very high order is required to play his music. His Op. 39 consists of twelve studies in the minor keys. Four of them comprise his Symphony for Solo Piano, and three the Concerto. Marc-André Hamelin, who has made a career from playing technically difficult music, plays this concerto superbly.
The six little pieces in the collection of songs use Mendelssohn's Songs without Words as their model. I must emphasise that Alkan's music is not an exercise in empty technique: this is music with substantial rewards. Hamelin has also recorded for Hyperion, among other Alkan, the Symphony, and the Grande Sonate.