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arranged for symphony orchestra by Mark Starr
from Alkan's work for violin and pianoforte, 2-hands

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 symphony orchestra 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 display of full score for symphony orchestra online at www.sibeliusmusic.com

To display the score on your computer screen -- while listening to a 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 website's green button marked Get Scorch)

L'ENFER (Hell) is the second movement of Alkan's Grand Duo Concertant for violin and piano. The Grand Duo a relatively early work.  Alkan was 27 when he composed it -- and Edition Richault published it.)  The composer's unique musical personality is already apparent in this music.  Here is an electrifying and moving description of the composer's imaginary descent into Hell.

Years after this work was composed, conductor/pianist Hans von Bulow gave Alkan the nickname "the Berlioz of the piano." This movement might well have been von Bulow's Exhibit A.  A orchestration of a piece for violin and piano to one for large symphony orchestra might seem at first a very radical transcription.  But one look at the outsized and colorful piano part left little doubt in Mark Starr's mind that Alkan had the orchestra in mind when he conceived of this visionary work.

The solo violin part (to be played by the orchestra's concertmaster) has been left in tact.  However, in this transcription Alkan's piano part has been expanded to symphonic proportions, utilizing an orchestra of the dimenions that Berlioz employed in the Symphonie fantastique.


Charles-Valentin Alkan