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#1448431 - 06/01/10 10:45 PM Lesser Known Composers
lisztonian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 266
What do you think is one of the main contributing factors as to why the music found in the youtube channel (below) is not more well known amongst pianists?

http://www.youtube.com/user/Hexameron


It's frustrating to see it all get buried.
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#1448443 - 06/01/10 10:55 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: lisztonian]
gooddog Offline
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Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4806
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Apropos of a thread I started about composers I'm finding it hard to like, this sounds like an exercise to me. Sorry, that's my honest opinion.
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#1448445 - 06/01/10 10:55 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: gooddog]
lisztonian Offline
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Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 266
Not making any "exercise". I've had this on my mind for quite awhile actually.


Edited by lisztonian (06/01/10 11:03 PM)
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#1448584 - 06/02/10 04:24 AM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: lisztonian]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: lisztonian
Not making any "exercise". I've had this on my mind for quite awhile actually.


I'm pretty they mean the PIECE sounds like an exercise.
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#1448608 - 06/02/10 06:14 AM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: lisztonian]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7913
Originally Posted By: lisztonian
What do you think is one of the main contributing factors as to why the music found in the youtube channel (below) is not more well known amongst pianists?

http://www.youtube.com/user/Hexameron


It's frustrating to see it all get buried.


Conformity, for one thing. Lack of curiosity, for another. A lazy assumption that everything of value is already known. Plus, the more central repertoire is already so enormous that it is easy to devote a whole lifetime to it alone without running out of music.

But then there's the issue of the quality of the music itself. Once you get off the beaten track, the quality starts to vary wildly, and unless you are really young, exploring it can begin to seem like a waste of very precious time. Although I think some of the things on that channel are good, I also think a good deal of it isn't really all that interesting except for value as a historical curiosity. Trying to sift through the vast amount of relatively unknown stuff for music that seems worthwhile takes a lot of time and energy. And I am saying that as person who actually does value a lot of music that is not part of the standard rep.

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#1448679 - 06/02/10 09:37 AM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: wr]
Stanza Offline
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Registered: 01/18/02
Posts: 1458
Loc: Chapel Hill, NC
In answer to the OP's question, one reason why the Hexameron pieces haven't "caught on" is they all seem to be very advanced and not too accessible to the average pianist to play or read through...no "Fuer Elise" pieces found there!
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#1448702 - 06/02/10 10:41 AM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: Stanza]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13804
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I don't know that it gets buried. Part of the problem with the music in Hexameron's channel is that it's mostly Soviet-era avant-garde, which was largely unavailable in the West until the end of the cold war. Even now, economic troubles prevent scores and recordings from being easily available here. It's usually available at online retailers, but you can't really browse or try any of it out like you could in a music store.

It's not just Soviet avant-garde, either. I've had trouble finding Tansman, Schwartz, Th. Kirchner and Reinhold, too - and they were on this side of the iron curtain (and Tansman and Schwartz even lived in the US!)

Availability of scores will likely continue to be a problem. As people turn more and more to illegally downloaded scores, there's less and less of an incentive and means for publishers to provide quality editions and wide distribution of these composers' works.

Also, music that challenges the ears often needs a champion. Sorabji would be unknown if not for Habermann and Ogdon. The Godowski etudes wallowed in relative obscurity until Hamelin's landmark recording.

And then there's the fact that there will always be composers who aren't widely played. There's a ton of music by American composers that goes largely unnoticed - Sessions, Adler, L. Kirchner, Ornstein, Rorem, La Montaine, etc... And even when composers DO write music that gets published, it goes largely unnoticed: the music of John Adams, William Bolcom and Lowell Liebermann is current, accessible, and very, very good, but all everybody seems to know is the Graceful Ghost Rag and Gargoyles.
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#1448917 - 06/02/10 05:05 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: Kreisler]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2652
Loc: Netherlands
I'd like to just mention Geoffry Madge: he was the first ever to perform the Op.Clav., record the Godowski/Chopin, Reubke, and some Xenakis, by the way, nowadays, with the Hamelins popping up like mushrooms everywhere, people might think, gosh, how original, but even those thoughts aren't, well, original, who revived Roslavets?
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#1448925 - 06/02/10 05:15 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: dolce sfogato]
babama Offline
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Registered: 02/15/08
Posts: 801
Loc: Netherlands
Just today I listened to about 10 lesser known, mostly Russian, composers I had never heard of. Wow, there's so much out there...
Really like some Henselt etudes (probably because it's very much like CHopin).

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#1448931 - 06/02/10 05:27 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: dolce sfogato]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8907
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
I'd like to just mention Geoffry Madge: he was the first ever to perform the Op.Clav., record the Godowski/Chopin,

I heard the Madge Godowsky/Chopin. Sorry -and with due respect- I found it utterly unlistenable and a total artistic failure. Tempos were pulled about like taffy and at times Madge seemed completely overwhelmed by the demands of the music. If I hadn't heard the Hamelin recording first (though Madge predated Hamelin by some years), I probably would have dumped the Godowsky studies then and there.
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#1448935 - 06/02/10 05:35 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: argerichfan]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2652
Loc: Netherlands
it was about date, not quality, and by the way, about the nerve to do it at all, he had/has the guts to do it, and i'm sure his endeavour might just have pulled the trigger for new kids on the block to outdo him, witch they, or should I say HE? did,nevertheless...
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#1448954 - 06/02/10 06:02 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: dolce sfogato]
Orange Soda King Offline
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Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
dolce, there are some older recordings of the Chopin/Godowsky etudes by David Saperton, although I think he only did a few. However, those few recordings could be even more impressive than Hamelin's. wink

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#1448957 - 06/02/10 06:04 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: Orange Soda King]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
Berezovsky's recordings, while less technically solid and not complete, show quite a lot of passion ad fire...
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#1448978 - 06/02/10 06:25 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: Orange Soda King]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8907
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
I've heard the Saperton recordings. Was it my imagination or did he seem more comfortable playing the Godowsky dress-ups than the Chopin originals? Nah, can't be...

But possibly it might have been Saperton's example which got Hamelin interested in the first place.
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#1448984 - 06/02/10 06:33 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: wr]
al-mahed Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 769
Loc: Rio de Janeiro
Originally Posted By: wr
Conformity, for one thing. Lack of curiosity, for another. A lazy assumption that everything of value is already known.


It is lazy indeed smile , and fortunately this assumption is totally wrong. Take Ernesto Nazareth for instance, and I swear I'm not saying this because of nationality matters.

Originally Posted By: wr

Plus, the more central repertoire is already so enormous that it is easy to devote a whole lifetime to it alone without running out of music.



OK, but there are some banal/boring/etc pieces people play only because they were written by a great/famous composer. I mean, the composer wrote great pieces and this fact makes people play the other not so great stuff. Specially if the composer were very prolific.

cheers
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#1448993 - 06/02/10 06:42 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: argerichfan]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2652
Loc: Netherlands
all of this said, I must mention this, as an afterthought: I'm an adventurous one, as a person, as a pianist, so I like the not-so-commercial repertoire of some elder people, I'd like to think that, before the whole Marc André H. thing took off, there were people doing his (well, not so his) stuff, and are now completely overblabla-ed (my lack of anglolingo, sorry...), and their endeavours should be honoured, Smith,
Lewenthal, Madge, fill in the rest of those seekers, aren't we of the same kind?
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#1449098 - 06/02/10 09:59 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: al-mahed]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Originally Posted By: al-mahed

OK, but there are some banal/boring/etc pieces people play only because they were written by a great/famous composer. I mean, the composer wrote great pieces and this fact makes people play the other not so great stuff. Specially if the composer were very prolific.


In my eyes, Beethoven was the most consistent composer when it came to good music. Same with Ravel, but he didn't have a large output. Hence they are my two favorites.

But then again, maybe it's the inverse... since they're my two favorites, I find them to be the most consistent. Who know? laugh

You all know that I may like Alkan and all, but even I don't think he's consistent... You really have to acquire a taste to enjoy Le Preux, Scherzo Focoso, or the Grande Sonate. However, I think the Symphony for Solo Piano, Op. 35 Etudes, Concerto da Camara Op. 10 No. 1, and Chant Op. 38a. No. 1 (and some other Chants) are a few of Alkan's works that stand well alongside many standard rep pieces.

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#1449281 - 06/03/10 06:25 AM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: Orange Soda King]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7913
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
dolce, there are some older recordings of the Chopin/Godowsky etudes by David Saperton, although I think he only did a few. However, those few recordings could be even more impressive than Hamelin's. wink


Bolet had also recorded a group of them. If I remember them correctly, they were played with Bolet's typical high-gloss finish and ease, and it made them sound no more difficult than something like Sinding's Rustles of Spring.

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#1449578 - 06/03/10 03:40 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: wr]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2652
Loc: Netherlands
There is this very obscure composer Paul de Schlözer, who wrote only 2 études, the one in A-flat has been recorded 3 times I think, I remember Jorge Bolet, Eileen Joyce and Stephen Hough, and Geoffrey Tozer played it, but the other étude has never been performed/recorded/played? by anyone, fine piece, difficult double notes, style Moszkovski, more difficult one would say, if it weren't for the rumour he composed them himself and lost them to Schlözer in a card game, haha.
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#1449626 - 06/03/10 04:45 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: dolce sfogato]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2652
Loc: Netherlands
Oh, and forgot to menton Carl Maria von Weber, his 2nd sonata in A-flat is a gem, a 35 minutes long gem...Gilels made a definite recording of it, Brendel played it, Richter did, of course, but nowadays it seems to have lost it's popularity, needs to be revived!
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#1449638 - 06/03/10 05:00 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: dolce sfogato]
Mattardo Offline
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Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 1306
Weber used to be quite the popular composer, and quite admired as well!

Then there's Michael Haydn in the field of religious music - but how often do you hear about Josef's lil' brother nowadays? Most people aren't aware that he had a lil' bro'. Mozart actually saved his butt once by finishing some compositions that he owed, but was too ill to finish. Mozart even wrote them in Michael's style - so he wouldn't get caught ha! Oh well - they were good friends.

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#1449654 - 06/03/10 05:16 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: dolce sfogato]
Ridicolosamente Offline
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Registered: 07/08/08
Posts: 1467
Loc: Miami, Florida, USA
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
There is this very obscure composer Paul de Schlözer, who wrote only 2 études, the one in A-flat has been recorded 3 times I think, I remember Jorge Bolet, Eileen Joyce and Stephen Hough, and Geoffrey Tozer played it, but the other étude has never been performed/recorded/played? by anyone, fine piece, difficult double notes, style Moszkovski, more difficult one would say, if it weren't for the rumour he composed them himself and lost them to Schlözer in a card game, haha.
Isn't de Schlozer a fake composer? Is there anything else to go on besides the "card game" story? I've actually heard this piece performed twice at the university level back in Florida, so the piece never seemed that obscure to me.

-Daniel
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#1449672 - 06/03/10 05:48 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: Ridicolosamente]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2652
Loc: Netherlands
that's probabely the one in A-flat, but the other one, E-flat, not to be found.
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#1449685 - 06/03/10 06:03 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: Mattardo]
stores Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6648
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
Originally Posted By: Mattardo
Weber used to be quite the popular composer, and quite admired as well!

Then there's Michael Haydn in the field of religious music - but how often do you hear about Josef's lil' brother nowadays? Most people aren't aware that he had a lil' bro'. Mozart actually saved his butt once by finishing some compositions that he owed, but was too ill to finish. Mozart even wrote them in Michael's style - so he wouldn't get caught ha! Oh well - they were good friends.


Weber, was the pupil of Michael Haydn, who was actually more well known in Salzburg than Mozart, himself. The story (because there is no factual connection) is that Mozart composed two duets for violin and viola for Haydn. Whether it's a true story, or not, isn't really known, but what IS known is that for many years (until the last 20 years, or so) Mozart's K. 444 (Symphony No. 37) was thought to be Mozart's work, when actually it's Haydn's Symphony No. 26. Mozart made some revisions to a copy of Haydn's symphony and the copy was found in Mozart's estate and has been passed down as his own all these years.
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"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#1449701 - 06/03/10 06:30 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: dolce sfogato]
Chopinist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/02/10
Posts: 162
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
There is this very obscure composer Paul de Schlözer, who wrote only 2 études, the one in A-flat has been recorded 3 times I think, I remember Jorge Bolet, Eileen Joyce and Stephen Hough, and Geoffrey Tozer played it, but the other étude has never been performed/recorded/played? by anyone, fine piece, difficult double notes, style Moszkovski, more difficult one would say, if it weren't for the rumour he composed them himself and lost them to Schlözer in a card game, haha.

I'm confused about something. According to Wikipedia's bio of Paul de Schlözer, his nephew was a music critic named Boris de Schlözer. The IMSLP/Petrucci library has the Op. 1 etudes, but the actual score of the first (in E♭) credits Boris as the composer!

Whoever wrote it, I have Op. 1 No. 1 in a Schirmer's Library volume called "Concert Etudes" (now out of print). There's a preface in which each composer represented in the collection is given a one-paragraph biographical blurb, and Boris de Schlözer's reads as follows:

Quote:
Boris de Schlözer (1884-1969)

Schlözer was closely associated with Scriabin, whose second wife was Schloezer's sister. Schloezer composed very little, devoting himself mostly to writing and lecturing. Nevertheless, the etude in this collection was made famous by Josef Lhévinne, who often performed it in his European and American concerts, with stunning effect.

So is this piece actually Op. 1 No. 1 by Paul de Schlözer? Even if his nephew Boris was also a composer, what would be the likelihood that Boris' own Op. 1 No. 1 would also be an etude in E♭?
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#1449711 - 06/03/10 06:43 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: Chopinist]
dolce sfogato Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2652
Loc: Netherlands
That's precisely the tricky and interesting point, there is the étude in A-flat op.1/2 by Paul, and only available as nr. 2 in E-flat is by:... Boris. I think the whole thing was indeed a hoax, possibly the story of Moritz losing at the table, and the 2 cousins or nephews sharing the profit, a very amusing thought, as it is, the E-flat one is very worthwhile also, same style, same level of difficulty, they should be reunited one day in performance! In my case, Paul's one is already in the pocket, ideal encore, Boris's will be soon...BTW, Rachmaninov seems to have played the Paul-one as a daily practise, that's why he was so good, haha
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#1450019 - 06/04/10 09:35 AM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: dolce sfogato]
Mostly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/10
Posts: 271
Haha that card story is hilarious.

On topic - Hexameron has a great channel, but some of the work he presents are way too modern for me. I really like the early-mid Scriabin-like romantics (say Stanchinsky for instance), but when it starts getting really atonal I don't hear it anymore.
So to answer "why they aren't popular ?", I'd say it's because their work requires a lot of practice. For most people, even Prokofiev or Scriabin is stretching their musical tastes (an acquired thing), so obviously atonal music is a no-no... It's also commonly associated in movies with emotions such as "anguish" or "unrest", so one can often not help but feel oppressed when listening to this kind of work. They don't really fit in today's musical culture, a fact that is aggravated by their relative disappearance because of Russian history.

Regarding Alkan, I personnally find him really uninteresting in most works, not really unlike several of Liszt's pieces. Sure, there's lot of technical firework, but the melodies are often commonplace (I'd rather Schubert's) and it sounds so much virtuoso that it's hard to grasp anything else than a feeling of "yeah shred those notes boy !" I often think to myself, when I hear Alkan's, "oh, what bad taste."
I don't dislike everything by him though, like Liszt there are some grandiose sounding works, I had fun listening to the Op. 39 n°11 Ouverture the other day.

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#1450347 - 06/04/10 06:32 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: Mostly]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2652
Loc: Netherlands
it all depends on the performer, there's much more music in Alkan than many pianists can let shine through the quite massive heap of notes/chords/arpeggios, but a wise toucher and some ears, preferably two, one on each side of the head, and of course some able fingers, can make his compositions really agreable to listen to, even take them to the level of Chopin, sometimes, and exceed Liszt's, more often, he even introduces Beethovenian/Schubertian/Mendelssohnian melodies and harmonies into a fabric of Chopinesque/Lisztian virtuosity, a very interesting mix of romantic searching for truth, did he find it? Probabely not, bur the the journey is the purpose of it all, not the goal...
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#1450384 - 06/04/10 07:23 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: dolce sfogato]
argerichfan Offline
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Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8907
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: dolce sfogato
it all depends on the performer, there's much more music in Alkan than many pianists can let shine through the quite massive heap of notes/chords/arpeggios, but a wise toucher and some ears, preferably two, one on each side of the head, and of course some able fingers, can make his compositions really agreable to listen to, even take them to the level of Chopin, sometimes, and exceed Liszt's, more often, he even introduces Beethovenian/Schubertian/Mendelssohnian melodies and harmonies into a fabric of Chopinesque/Lisztian virtuosity, a very interesting mix of romantic searching for truth, did he find it? Probabely not, bur the the journey is the purpose of it all, not the goal...

This is very well put, and thank-you for that!

I guess, for me, the BIG problem with Alkan has always been a sense of utter originality sitting next door to the commonplace.

My favourite Alkan, the Concerto for Solo Piano is a really good example of this. The final moments of the first movement cadenza end up being distressingly predictable -borrowing equipment from Anton Rubinstein?- and then the final flourishes in the concluding movement rely far too much on the pentatonic, and all the banal traps lesser composers fall into.

To me, it is most distressing. Things could have been better.

Alkan does not challenge Liszt or Chopin, not in a moment, he remains a true man of talent -and a genius in a certain sense- but Liszt and Chopin set the bar far too high. To claim that Alkan wrote anything on their level is just wishful thinking, or at worst, idiotic.
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#1450428 - 06/04/10 08:12 PM Re: Lesser Known Composers [Re: argerichfan]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2652
Loc: Netherlands
My list would say: Chopin/Alkan/Schumann/Liszt, yours wouldn't, obviously, no problem, de gustibus non est disputantem, but, have you played A's works? have you really explored the extremities of the repertoire the 4 masters gave us? now for some stupid remarks: compare- Chopin's 1st sonata to Alkan's sonatina/Liszt sonata to Alkan's (very revealing..)/Schumann's Davidbündlertänze to Chopin's préludes/Chopin's études to Liszt's ét.d'ex trans/Alkan's symphony to Schumann's Fantasie/Chopin's Tarantella to Alkan's Saltarelle/Liszt's Venezia e Napoli to Alkan's op.15/there's no end to this, I like Alkan, if you don't, don't, but do not tell us that it is not right, that's up to us.
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