53,674 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...




selling Internationaly

Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider

Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Recordings of the Month


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE

Enescu Ravel Britten

Debussy Images etc.

53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)



Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne




Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888)
From: Douze Études dans tous les tons mineurs, Op.39 (pub. 1857)
Concerto for solo piano, Op.39, Nos. 8-10 [51:10]
Comme le vent, in A minor, Op.39 No.1 [4:41]
En rhyhme molossique in D minor, Op.39 No.2 [8:27]
Scherzo diabolico in G minor, Op.39 No.3 [4:44]
Vincenzo Maltempo (piano)
rec. June 2013, Studio Musicanti, Rome

Piano Classics seem to be running a small stable of Alkanists in their ongoing and engrossing releases devoted to the composer’s music. Alessandro Deljaven has been entrusted with the responsibility for, amongst other things, The Trois Grandes Etudes and Sonatine whilst Vincenzo Maltempo has already recorded (Piano 0056) Le Festin d’Ésope, Trois Morceauxdans le genre pathétique and, indeed, the same Op.61 Sonatine as Deljaven, whose disc (PIANO 0051) also included the Deux Petites Pièces, Op.60.
The focus on Maltempo’s latest disc is the mighty Concerto for solo piano, which forms part of the even mightier edifice called Douze Études dans tous les tons mineurs, Op.39, published in 1857. This disc constitutes the third (of four) in Maltempo’s Alkan survey, which will take in the whole of the Op.39 set.
The focus on Maltempo’s latest disc is the mighty Concerto for solo piano, which forms part of the even mightier edifice called Douze Études dans tous les tons mineurs, Op.39, published in 1857. Though Egon Petri recorded a truncated version before the war, it was probably Ronald Smith’s recording in 1968 that alerted people to the status of the Concerto, and a ripple of disc followed. They were dominated by Ogdon’s and, most particularly, Lewenthal’s, though since then Jack Gibbons, for ASV, and Marc-André Hamelin for Hyperion have cast their musical hats into the ring, and others too have ventured onto this most powerful of grounds.
Maltempo has by now shown himself to be a powerful interpreter of Alkan, which he needs to be in the expanse of the Concerto. Here he shows how to fuse the bravura and the more elfin, prismic moments in this work. The virtuosity is commanding but the poetry is bewitching. The flux and fluid flow of Alkan’s writing is rendered, through single-minded application, at once logical and also strange. Digital clarity lays bare Alkan’s colossal demands but never strips the music of its mystery, so that the lyric tracery of the vast first movement – it’s as long as the whole of Liszt’s Sonata – conjoins with moments of hymnal chording to maximum advantage. This is not to suggest that Maltempo underplays the toccata-like drama – he may not quite equal Hamelin in implacability here - but rather more to suggest that he navigates his way (and ours) through this edifice with naturalness and refinement. These dappled moments and their brothers, the stormy petrel outbursts, are more conjunctive in the central movement where one feels the music increasing in tension for the increasingly triumphant finale, its ‘barbaresca’ element finely realised by maltempo
Maltempo shows throughout that he has both the technique and the ear for poetic mystery that the work needs. In the three opus mates he also shows a convincing command of Alkan’s more single-minded pursuits. Comme le vent is a technical tour de force, hands flying everywhere, a piece of mid-nineteenth-century pianistics that must still inspire dread in the unwary. In the octave study, En rhyhme molossique, the difficulties are, if not surmounted, then at least largely hides from the acute ear. This was the piece that Busoni premièred in Berlin and which earned for Alkan some of the worst criticisms of his career. Finally, Maltempo ends with the study in leaps, Scherzo diabolico, in which he doesn’t overlook the powerhouse chording – as if he could.
This is a formidable disc, excellently recorded and – as I hope I’ve made clear – splendidly interpreted.
Jonathan Woolf