Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888)

Charles-Valentin Alkan left us no books or articles. His only published writings are three prefaces: that of the Grande Sonate for piano, op. 33 (1847), the “Avertissement” associated with the Souvenirs des concerts du Conservatoire, for piano (30 March 1847), and the “Avertissement” for the 25 Preludes in all major and minor keys for piano or organ (17 April 1847). In the first, he justifies the titles given to the four movements of the sonata. In the second, he discusses the art of arranging orchestral works for piano and calls for the edition of accurate scores. In the third, he discusses the writing and playing styles most appropriate for the piano and organ. These three texts, all published at a pivotal moment in the composer’s life, give the impression that he was making a concerted effort to relaunch his career and make a mark by publishing authentically personal and innovative works. Alas, the Revolution of 1848 and his failure to replace Joseph Zimmerman at the Conservatoire put an abrupt end to these professional ambitions and Alkan’s “literary” publications with them.

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birth year1813
death year1888

Publications (3)