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Alkan: Complete Recueils De Chants Vol 2 / Mccallum

Alkan / Mccallum,Stephanie
Release Date: 11/19/2013 
Label:  Toccata Classics   Catalog #: 158   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Charles Valentin Alkan
Performer:  Stephanie McCallum
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ALKAN Quatrième Recueil de Chants. Cinquième Recueil de Chants. Deux nocturnes. Deux petits pièces. Desir: Fantaisie. Chapeau bas! Seconda fantasticheria Stephanie McCallum (pn) TOCCATA 158 (79:19)


The music of Charles-Valentin Alkan is still pretty much an acquired taste. Many listeners, supposedly enchanted by Franz Liszt’s bombastic operatic paraphrases, think of Alkan’s music as too overcrowded with notes and too complex. Ç’est la Read more vie . I’ve always enjoyed him, and this new recording of his Recuils de Chants or Collection of Songs certainly presents some of his finest music. I say that not in regards to its complexity or originality, although those traits certainly surface here occasionally, but because Alkan seems to have taken the Mendelssohnian concept of “songs without words” to a whole new level. In Alkan’s hands, the structural integrity of these pieces can stand on their own as piano works to rank with the finest ever written in that genre, such as the Chopin etudes or mazurkas, meaning that they take the form as invented by Mendelssohn and expand upon it. Thus each of these “songs” has an inner logic and high degree of creativity that draws the listener inward, similar to the piano works of Schumann, in interesting and novel ways.


Moreover, pianist McCallum invests each and every one of these pieces with remarkable variety and color, varying the rhythm in numerous subtle ways à la Chopin, which I found apropos to these scores. She understands the Romantic rubato style, and moreover does not overdo it. Neither does she overdo pedal effects, which always seem to be prominent features of some other interpretations of different music by Alkan. In short, I found her performances and this music to be a perfect match artistically. One could not ask more of her.


In McCallum’s skilled hands, moods emerge from this music and not just notes. Sometimes the mood is one of elation, at others wistful love, at still others it seems to be reminiscence tinged alternately with joy and melancholy. She does not sacrifice coherence of structure or momentum, yet she always seems to be focused on the meaning of the notes and not the notes themselves. As a result, one feels as if one is on a musical journey and not just listening to notes and phrases. As might be expected, the barcarolles and scherzos are the most innovative (read: unusual) music in this set, along with the Désir Fantaisie and the fascinating Chapeau bas! Seconda fantasticheria . A kinder, gentler Alkan, then? Yes, I suppose it is. In a way, much of this music put me in mind of the same composer’s 48 Esquisses. Well worth hearing.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1. Recueil de Chants Book 4 (6), for piano, Op. 67 by Charles Valentin Alkan
Performer:  Stephanie McCallum (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868 
Venue:  Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
2. Recueil de Chants Book 5 (6), for piano, Op. 70 by Charles Valentin Alkan
Performer:  Stephanie McCallum (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872 
Venue:  Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
3. Nocturnes (2), for piano, Op. 57 by Charles Valentin Alkan
Performer:  Stephanie McCallum (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859 
Venue:  Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium 
Length: 6 Minutes 38 Secs. 
4. Petites Pieces (2) for Piano, Op. 60 by Charles Valentin Alkan
Performer:  Stephanie McCallum (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Venue:  Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium 
Length: 9 Minutes 48 Secs. 
5. Désir, fantasy for piano in A flat major by Charles Valentin Alkan
Performer:  Stephanie McCallum (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844 
Venue:  Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium 
Length: 3 Minutes 13 Secs. 
6. Chapeau bas!, for piano in F sharp minor (Fantasticheria No. 2) by Charles Valentin Alkan
Performer:  Stephanie McCallum (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867 
Venue:  Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium 
Length: 8 Minutes 14 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Quatrieme recueil de chants, Op. 67: No. 1. Neige et lave
Quatrieme recueil de chants, Op. 67: No. 2. Chanson de la bonne vieille
Quatrieme recueil de chants, Op. 67: No. 3. Bravement
Quatrieme recueil de chants, Op. 67: No. 4. Doucement
Quatrieme recueil de chants, Op. 67: No. 5. Appassionato
Quatrieme recueil de chants, Op. 67: No. 6. Barcarolle
Cinquieme recueil de chants, Op. 70: No. 1. Duettino
Cinquieme recueil de chants, Op. 70: No. 2. Andantinetto
Cinquieme recueil de chants, Op. 70: No. 3. Allegro vivace
Cinquieme recueil de chants, Op. 70: No. 4. La voix de l'instrument
Cinquieme recueil de chants, Op. 70: No. 5. Scherzo - Coro
Cinquieme recueil de chants, Op. 70: No. 6. Recapitulation - Barcarolle
Deux Nocturnes, Op. 57: No. 1 Andantino
Deux Nocturnes, Op. 57: No. 2 Très vif
Deux Petites Pieces, Op. 60: No. 1. Ma chere liberte
Deux Petites Pieces, Op. 60: No. 2. Ma chere servitude
Désir. Fantaisie
Chapeau bas! Seconda fantasticheria

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