Comme le vent

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The beginning of the work's score, with its unusual tempo and time signature

Comme le vent (Like the wind) is the first of the Études in the minor keys, Op. 39 for solo piano by the French composer Charles-Valentin Alkan. It is in A minor. The tempo marking is prestissimamente (eighth note = 160), and the unusual 2
time signature further encourages a fast performance. The piece is mostly quiet, but is interrupted by short loud outbursts.

The piece is technically demanding, requiring digital velocity and dexterity, as well as stamina: lasting on average four and a half minutes, its 23 pages contains long passages of perpetual triplet-32nd notes (triplet demisemiquavers) for the right hand.

The piece is not to be confused with Alkan's earlier Le vent, one of the Trois morceaux op. 15. Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji considered the earlier piece to be better, making the later piece 'rather anticlimactic and redundant.'[1]

The piece was in the repertoire of Sergei Rachmaninoff in the 1919/1920 concert season.[2]


  1. ^ K. Sorabji, Around Music, (1932), p. 217
  2. ^ "Performance diary October 1919" on Rachmaninoff Society Performance Diary website, accessed 30 March 2015.

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