A Parisian his whole life, Charles-Henri Valentin Alkan (real surname Morhange) was accepted by the Conservatoire there at the tender age of 6. There he studied with Zimmermann. He grew up, in a similarly musical family, into the contemporary salon society. This brought him into contact with such luminaries as Victor Hugo, Liszt, George Sand, and the composer who he perhaps most closely approximates, Chopin.
Like Chopin, Alkan's oeuvre is almost entirely for piano. However, an eccentrically skewed of both humour and aesthetics means that the music of the two is not easily confused. His sense of scale is also significantly greater; his Douze Etudes Op. 39 contain a "symphony" and "concerto" for piano, not to mention the five other movements! Alkan also wrote many programmatic pieces and works on non-musical themes.
- MIDI FILE - Etude Op.39 No.12 (8’54’’)