Esquisses (Alkan)

Esquisses (Sketches), Op. 63 is a set of 49 short piano pieces by French composer Charles-Valentin Alkan and published in 1861. The pieces are divided into four books; the first pair of books and the last pair each comprise between them pieces in each of all the major and minor keys. Book 4 ends with an extra, unnumbered, piece, Laus Deo, in C major. Four pianists have recorded the set in its entirety: Laurent Martin, Osamu Nakamura (now Osamu Kanazawa), Steven Osborne, and Yui Morishita (twice).

Unlike many other of Alkan's pieces, such as the Op. 33 Grand Sonate and the Op. 39 set of etudes in all the minor keys, these 49 pieces do not focus mainly on virtuosity and transcendentalism and instead contain more of Alkan's sentimental and evocative writing. Alkan's innovation is also vividly present in the pieces. The 45th piece, Les Diablotins, features wrenched cluster chords and the 48th piece, En Songe, is a dreamy and quiet piece all except for the very final chord, which is a sudden F major chord with the dynamic ff. The 39th piece, Héraclite et Démocrite, features two sharply contrasting themes for the respective philosophers, and at some passages Alkan overlaps the themes to create a solemn and sad theme in the left hand and a bouncy and joyous theme in the right.

The EsquissesEdit

Book 1
  1. La Vision in C major
  2. Le Staccatissimo in F minor
  3. Le Legatissimo in D major
  4. Les Cloches in G minor
  5. Les Initiés in E major (features a quote from Aristophanes' The Frogs instead of a title in some editions)
  6. Fuguette in A minor
  7. Le Frisson in F major
  8. Pseudo-Naïveté in B minor
  9. Confidence in A major
  10. Increpatio in C minor
  11. Les Soupirs in B major
  12. Barcarollette in E minor
Book 2
  1. Ressouvenir in C minor
  2. Duettino in F major
  3. Tutti de Concerto dans le genre ancien in D minor
  4. Fantasie in G major
  5. Petit prélude à trois in E minor
  6. Liedchen in A major
  7. Grâces in F minor
  8. Petit marche villageoise in B major
  9. Morituri te salutant in G minor
  10. Innocenzia in D major
  11. L'homme aux sabots in B minor
  12. Contredanse in E major
Book 3
  1. La poursuite in C major
  2. Petit air, Genre ancien in G minor
  3. Rigaudon in D major
  4. Inflexibilité (also known as Rigidité) in A minor
  5. Délire in E major
  6. Petit air dolent in B minor
  7. Début de quatuor in F major
  8. Minuetto in C minor
  9. "Fais dodo" in A major
  10. Odi profanum vulgus et arceo, Favete linguis in E minor
  11. Musique militaire in B major
  12. Toccatina in F minor
Book 4
  1. Scherzettino in C minor
  2. "Le ciel vous soit toujours prospére" (also known as Les bons souhaits) in G major
  3. Héraclite et Démocrite in D minor
  4. "Attendez-moi sous l'orme" in A major
  5. Les enharmoniques in E minor
  6. Petit air à 5 voix in B major
  7. Notturino-Innamorato in F minor
  8. Transports in C major
  9. Les diablotins in G minor
  10. Le premiere billet doux in E major
  11. Scherzetto in B minor
  12. En songe in F major
  13. Laus Deo in C major

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit