Persons related to Chopin Persons related to Chopin

Charles-Valentin Alkan

Charles-Valentin Alkan

Charles-Valentin Alkan

*30 XI 1813 Paryż, †29 III 1888 Paryż

Alkan [Morhange], Charles-Valentin, a French composer, pianist and teacher. From 1819, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire under Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmerman (piano) and Victor-Charles-Paul Dourlen (theory). Familiar with the artistic milieux of Paris, he was friends with Victor Hugo, George Sand and Chopin, among others. After 1848, he gave concerts only occasionally, before withdrawing entirely from pianism and living in isolation till the end of his life. He composed solely piano music. His principle works include the Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 30, etudes (Opp. 12, 13, 15, 16, 35, 39 and 76), sonatas, sets of variations, preludes, impromptus and character pieces.

Chopin performed in a concert organised by Alkan on 3 March 1838 at the Salle Pape in Paris. Chopin sat at one piano with his favourite pupil, Adolph Gutmann; Alkan and Zimmerman at the other. The four pianists thus performed two movements (Allegretto and Finale) of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major in a transcription by Alkan. Chopin and George Sand attended an Alkan concert on 28 April 1844. On 17 April 1847, Chopin went with Alkan to Duvert’s comedy Ce que femme veaut, which he summarised pithily: ‘Not an indecent word, everyone in the know and huge laughter’. According to an account by Wojciech Grzymała, Chopin entrusted to Alkan and Reber the beginning of his ‘method’, or piano school: ‘may they have some benefit from it’ (letter from Grzymała to Auguste Léo, October 1849). Chopin’s correspondence contains many mentions of Alkan, which shows that the two artists were on friendly terms.


 

By category: