CHARLES VALENTIN ALKAN (1813-1888): Quasi Caccia, Op. 53, Palpitamento, Impromptu in F Sharp, Fantasticheria, Bourrée d'Auvergne, Op. 29, Esquisses, Op. 63, Nos. 4, 5, 8, 20 & 21, 3 Andantes Romantiques, Op. 13, Scherzo Focoso, Op. 34.
Catalogue Number: 03N045
Description: The young English pianist who gave us that memorable Bortkiewicz disc on Rachmaninov's Steinway back in Feb. 2009 (02K076) now offers some rare Alkan, some not so rare and two World Premiere Recordings: Fantasticheria ("Daydream"), the first of two pieces with this title, dates from 1868, a four-minute sequence built around a rondo theme in canon which builds to an explosive climax. The other is the almost nine-minute-long Scherzo Focoso, the piece about which Ronald Smith said that "it provides a remorseless path to pianistic immolation for all but the most invincible techniques" (he also thought it might originally have belonged to the Op. 39 Études but was replaced by Ouverture). Upon listening to the master after editing, Buck produced a mini-disc of the work played at the Royal Northern College of Music in one take whose quality was such that it was decided to use it, regardless of the lesser sound quality. They were right... Lloyd Buck (piano).