Alkan: Grande sonate ‘Les quatre âges’; Sonatine, Op. 61; Barcarolle, Op. 65/6; Le festin d’Esope, Op. 39/12

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Alkan
LABELS: Hyperion 20th Anniversary
WORKS: Grande sonate ‘Les quatre âges’; Sonatine, Op. 61; Barcarolle, Op. 65/6; Le festin d’Esope, Op. 39/12
PERFORMER: Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 20794 Reissue (1994)
Charles-Valentin Alkan’s music is rather an acquired taste. Even today, it is hard not to think that Berlioz has been hit on the head and then placed in solitary confinement with a piano. But the stupendous Hamelin truly gets under the skin of this ambitious, philosophical music and the mountain ranges of technical ability that it demands. His power and conviction turn the Grand Sonata on the Four Ages of Man into a statement of inspired profundity; the Sonatine is a fount of dexterity and musical pacing; the Barcarolle is gently hypnotic; and finally the extraordinarily inventive Festin d’Esope is delivered with great panache and an irresistibly dry wit. Jessica Duchen

Advertisement