Hamelin and Alkan: A Spring Concert Preview

To get a taste of Pro Musica Hebraica’s April 2nd concert, check out this review in Los Angeles Times of Marc-André Hamelin’s 2009 performance in San Francisco. Among the pieces he performed, and which he will perform again for Pro Musica Hebraica, are Charles-Valentin Alkan’s symphonic etudes:

The Symphonie is classic over-the-top Alkan, and Hamelin’s performance was jaw-dropping – all 23 transcendentally eccentric minutes of it. Still, the playing never appeared about the player. Instead, it illuminated a composer’s pungently personal harmonies and enchantingly odd melodies not unlike those of Berlioz (who didn’t appreciate a more macabre competitor). Hamelin stormed and thundered in the first and last movements, and he caught the peculiarly percussive character of a funeral march perfectly. And Hamelin’s bewitching way with Alkan’s mystically calm respites was downright revelatory.

You can learn more about Hamelin and Alkan by reading the whole review.