Esquisses (Alkan)

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Esquisses (Sketches), Op. 63 is a set of 49 short piano pieces written 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.

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 Esquisses[edit]

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-sharp major
  8. Pseudo-Naïveté in B minor
  9. Confidence in A-flat major
  10. Increpatio in C-sharp minor
  11. Les Soupirs in B-flat major
  12. Barcarollette in E-flat 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-sharp minor
  8. Petit marche villageoise in B major
  9. Morituri te salutant in G-sharp minor
  10. Innocenzia in D-flat major
  11. L'homme aux sabots in B-flat minor
  12. Contredanse in E flat 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-sharp major
  8. Minuetto in C-sharp minor
  9. "Fais dodo" in A-flat major
  10. Odi profanum vulgus et arceo, Favete linguis in E-flat minor
  11. Musique militaire in B-flat 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-sharp minor
  8. Transports in C-sharp major
  9. Les diablotins in G-sharp minor
  10. Le premiere billet doux in E-flat major
  11. Scherzetto in B-flat minor
  12. En songe in F major
  13. Laus Deo in C major

See also[edit]

External links[edit]