For Sunday: Alkan’s “Scherzetto” (op. 63, no. 47), played by Laurent Martin


I was lucky to discover the music of Erik Satie when I was still in high school.  Since then, I’ve discovered that I have a real taste for the kind of odd disconsolate abbreviated keyboard music that Satie specialized in.  Chopin wrote some, and so did Schumann (and actually Mozart and Beethoven wrote a bit of it too!), and later Scriabin, and Glazunov, and Medtner, and Mompou.



But most especially Alkan.



Charles-Valentin Morhange Alkan was a French piano virtuoso of the mid-19th century.  He wrote very extraordinary music: etudes, sonatas, concerti.  Somewhere along the line, he became a recluse, and a Talmudic scholar.  The story goes that he was killed when he tried to take down a heavy volume of the Talmud from a high bookshelf, and the entire bookcase fell on him, crushing him to death.



Here is the 47th of the 49 sketches from his Opus 63 “Esquisses,” entitled “Scherzetto.”  It is a strange pianistic scherzo, full of peculiar gestures and loads of nervous energy.






47_Motifs_(48)_for_piano_(‘Esquisses’),_Op._63.mp3 Listen on Posterous



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: