Charles Valentin Alkan’s cycle of variations Le Festin d’Ésope derives from his monumental series of etudes op. 39, the 12 Études dans tous les Tons Mineurs, and forms the culmination of that work. Now G. Henle Publishers presents, for the first time in an Urtext edition, what is by far the most well-known piano composition by this French pianist and composer notorious for the extreme virtuosity of his works. Because no autograph manuscripts survive, the first edition from 1857 is the sole source. The premier Alkan scholar Wolfgang Rathert gives details about the life and œuvre of the composer in his preface, while fingerings are provided by the Italian keyboard virtuoso Vincenzo Maltempo, who has recorded numerous works by Alkan. By popular demand, this composer may also now finally assume his place in the Henle Urtext catalogue!
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Charles Valentin Alkan (1813–88) was born in Paris, the eldest son and the second of six children in the Ashkenazi-Jewish Morhange family, a family of musicians, which in the 18th century had moved from the village in Lorraine of the same name to the French capital. Alkan’s phenomenal musical talent revealed itself early – in 1820, at the age of six, he was already … more