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[1813 - 1888]

Comme le vent [Like the Wind]

arranged by Mark Starr for four flutes and piano
from Alkan's  Etude in A minor for pianoforte 2-hands,
from Twelve Etudes in Minor Keys, Opus 39 (1857)


link to biography of Charles-Valentin Alkan

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  The audio may take from a few seconds up to a minute to load -- depending on the speed of your internet connection.  If you do not wish hear it, please click on the STOP button (or PAUSE button) on the media player, below.  Also, you may wish to adjust your volume control to a more comfortable level.

If you would like to download a copy of this audio demo in wma format (playable with Windows Media Player and other media players,) please right-click on this link: here; and then select "Save Target As..." Copies of this wma file may be freely distributed not-for-profit and unaltered.


The full score of this arrangement for four flutes and piano is available for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing on the website www.sibeliusmusiccom.  To jump to an online display of the sheet music, please click on the following link:

link to score online of Mark Starr's instrumental transcription of Comme le vent

To display this score on a computer screen -- while listening to a synchronized MIDI performance of the music -- one must first download Sibelius' web music viewer, called Scorch.  Scorch is available free-of-charge on the sibeliusmusic.com website. (Just click on the green button marked Get Scorch)

Charles-Valentin Alkan
Comme le vent
[Like the Wind]

Music composed by Alkan for pianoforte 2-hands in 1857; arranged for four flutes and pianoforte by Mark Starr in 2009.

Arrangement copyright by Mark Starr in 2009.  Also, it is registered with ASCAP.

Hopefully, this transcription for 4 flutes and piano of this work will be of interest to concert flutists as well as flute quartets.  For two reasons.

First, the transcription adds to the flute quartet repertoire a virtuoso showpiece.  The technical demands require accomplished flutists.  This arrangement of Comme le vent represents the zenith of sustained velocity for the flute, made practical by the division of lines among four flutists.

Second, Alkan's work -- which is obscure even among pianists -- is a masterpiece of 19th C. descriptive music. It was originally composed for piano solo.  The technical demands made on a pianist's velocity, stamina and hand extensions are so great, the piece has been performed publically or recorded commercially recorded on the piano by only three majolr pianists in history that I have been able to trace(one of them, of course, was Alkan.)

The original work for piano was undoubtedly influenced by the final movement from Chopin's Piano Sonata no. 2, popularly nicknamed "Wind Whistling Over the Graves."  It should be noted that Alkan was Chopin's neighbor, his occasional piano 4-hands partner, and good friend.  When Chopin died (of either tuberculosis or cystic fibrosis) in 1849, he left all of his piano students to Alkan in a last will made legal in 1848.

Mark Starr's arrangement of this work lends itself to a theatrical presentation.  On the inside cover page of the score, Mr. Starr outlines one such theatrical approach.   This transcription has been performed as a theater piece several times -- with great success.  It is the hope of Mr. Starr that other flute quartets will continue this tradition with even more creative presentations -- possibly featuring film or video, for example.

The materials for four flutes and piano are available on rental directly from Noteworthy Musical Editions.  Public performances and/or recordings must be licensed by Noteworthy Musical Editions and reported to ASCAP.


Comme le vent...