Alkan – Concerto for solo piano, and Etude Op. 39 n. 1, 2 & 3

Concerto for Piano Solo Comme le vent En rythme molossique Scherzo diabolico
Vincenzo Maltempo

“In just one year Vincenzo Maltempo has established himself as one of the foremost interpreters of the piano music of Charles Valentin Alkan. The young Italian has it all: the musical taste, the grasp over the longer structures, the wit and irony, the superhuman technical abilities to overcome the most fearful difficulties, but most importantly: the passionate love for this highly original, moving music by Alkan, the Enigma”. This 3rd album (still more to come!) contains the colossal Concerto for Piano Solo (his most ambitious, grand scale work), the eerie and quirky Comme le Vent, En Rhytme Molossique and the capricious Scherzo Diabolique. Maltempo’s first two Alkan recordings for Piano Classics both received 5 stars in Diapason and the Guardian: “…superb…thrillingly demonic…exhilarating, a real revelation!…”​


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Bryce Morrison

/ Gramophone

For Vincenzo Maltempo there are few reservations regarding Alkan's genius. He admits that Alkan's works, which range from the epic and monstruos to the miniatures provoke both hate and Iove, but goes on to refer to the Concerto for solo piano as one of the peaks of the piano literature of all time. In the last in a series of Alkan recitals, his playing flashes with summer lightning and a freer, more expressiv romantic leeway than either Ronald Smith (who he praises en passant - EMI, l/70) and Marc-André Hamelin (who he oddly ignores Hyperion, A/07). His reflexes are nervy and rapid and he dispatches every outlandish difficulty with an astonishing ease and fleerness. Alkan's cruel demind for strict tempo is replaced by something more impulsive and his silvery-tone Yamaha allows him feats of virtuosity unknown to lesser mortals, intimidated by the composer's hermetic world, that of a true misanthrope. 'Comme Ie vent', is reeled off like so much child's play but in "En rythme molossique', Maltempo's measured tempo is totally in keeping with its pungent and insistent rhythm. Goethe may have believed that small is beautiful but for Akan the reverse is true (despite his miniatures) - and in some way sardonic curse suggested by Maltempo's dazzling and idiosyncratic performances, finely recorded and presented by piano Classics.

Robert Nemecek

/ Piano News

Alkan: Concerto for solo Piano, Piano Classics 2014 Since his debut two years ago with a monographic album devoted to Alkan for the label Piano Classic, the Italian pianist Vincenzo Maltempo is considered one of the greatest contemporary interpreters of this composer. And now with his third CD dedicated to Alkan fully confirms his reputation. With the ''Concerto for solo piano'' Maltempo proposes one of the most amazing works of the entire piano literature, and it must be said that since the epic 1973 recording of John Hogdon, no other pianist as Maltempo has managed to dominate in a so well thought-out and orchestral way, its enormous difficulties. So much so that the first half hour of the first movement in any case is too long. In the three other Etudes Op. 39 Maltempo puts his phenomenal technique at the service of his poetic vision in a suggestive manner.

Luca Chierici

/ Classic Voice

[…] Maltempo goes beyond the vision of Alkan as "hypervirtuoso", limiting point of view of some pianists like Hamelin, but at the same time he has remarkable means to penetrate into the spirit of this fascinating music also underlined its technical side of gambling, which seems qualitatively complementary to that of the young Liszt. [...] Maltempo is absolutely at home in this universe in itself and he seems to represent today one of the very few performers who possesses the secret combination to unlock all the treasures of a production so engaging and not at all artificial.


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