Alkan 12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, Op. 39 (Concerto and Symphony for Solo piano)

Charles Valentin Alkan composed the 12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys for solo piano, Op. 39. They were published in 1857 in Paris by Richault, and dedicated to François-Joseph Fétis. The Etudes feature a progressive tonality plan, with each piece set a perfect fourth higher than its predecessor. Interestingly, this set of 12 etudes 'contains' other works inside of it: The Etudes 4 through 7 are called 'Symphonie pour piano seul' (Symphony for solo piano). An early example of the Piano Symphony genre, the musical elements are arranged to convey an orchestral-like sonority, and texture. The Symphony for Solo piano has been described as a 'balanced' work by Alkan's standards, closer to the classical forms than many other of his works. Etudes 8, 9, and 10, are called 'Concerto pour piano seul' (Concerto for Solo Piano). Much like the Symphony for Solo Piano, these pieces imitate the orchestral tone, employing the piano to evoke the palette of timbres available to a real orchestra. The Concerto takes about 50 minutes to be performed in its entierety. The first movement comprises 72 pages and lasts half an hour. Alkan authorized editors to make cuts to the piece, and there's some evidence that he may have played a shortened version live himself. The complete version was premiered in 1939. This piece has been considered muyltiple times as one of the most technically and mentally demanding works in piano history.
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Recordings

12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, Op.39 - IV. (Symphony for Piano Solo) - Allegro moderato
12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, Op.39 - V.(Symphony for Piano Solo) - Marche funebre (Andantino) -
12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, Op.39 - VI. (Symphony for Piano Solo) - Menuet
12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, Op.39 - VII. (Symphony for Piano Solo) - Finale (Presto)

Samples

12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, Op. 39 (Concerto and Symphony for Solo piano)
12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, Op. 39 (Concerto and Symphony for Solo piano)
12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, Op. 39 (Concerto and Symphony for Solo piano)
12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, Op. 39 (Concerto and Symphony for Solo piano)

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