Spring 2012 Concert

Marc-André Hamelin
The Enigma of Paris: Charles-Valentin Alkan, Frédéric Chopin and the French-Jewish Romance

  • Terrace Theater
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • Washington, D.C.
  • April 2nd, 2012


Marc-André Hamelin, piano

Concert Summary

Arguably the two greatest pianist-composers of nineteenth-century France, Charles-Valentin Alkan and Frédéric Chopin, were also both outsiders – as Jews and Poles. But while Chopin’s oeuvre has become the quintessence of Romantic piano music, Alkan, every bit his equal, has been forgotten. In our spring 2012 concert, Pro Musica Hebraica partnered with the legendary Marc-André Hamelin to explore the dual legacy of these two musical masters. Hamelin, who has achieved world acclaim as an interpreter of Chopin, has devoted decades to recovering the music of Alkan as well. In this concert, he  presented a new program highlighting the connections between the two men’s artistic languages and musical friendship.

The concert was recommended by The Washington Post’s music critic, Anne Midgette, who wrote that “the event is almost sure to sell out.” In her post-concert review, Midgette wrote that “Hamelin did an outstanding job bringing across a lot of unfamiliar music to the audience.” In a follow-up blog post, she added that Hamelin “offered a refreshingly intriguing program.”


Alkan: Souvenirs “Trois Morceaux dans le genre pathétique,” op. 15
No. 1 Aime-moi
Chopin: Sonata no. 3 in B minor, op. 58
Chopin: Nocturne in D flat major, op. 27/2
Chopin: Barcarolle in F sharp major, op. 60
Alkan: Douze études dans tous les tons mineurs, op. 39
No. 4 Symphony for solo piano 1 Allegro
No. 5 Symphony for solo piano 2 Marche funèbre. Andantino
No. 6 Symphony for solo piano 3 Menuet
No. 7 Symphony for solo piano 4 Finale. Presto