ALKAN - STARR; SUITE MACABRE, for symphony orchestra; 1 (of 5) L’Enfer (Hell)

Charles-Valentin Alkan
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page one of ALKAN - STARR; SUITE MACABRE, for symphony orchestra; 1 (of 5) L’Enfer (Hell)

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Full details

The SUITE MACABRE is a collection of five diverse and unfamiliar works by the French Romantic composer Charles-Valentin Alkan, arranged for symphony orchestra by Mark Starr. The first work in this suite is L’ENFER (Hell.) It is based on the second movement of Alkan’s Grand Duo Concertant for violin and piano. Though a relatively early work (Alkan was 27,) the composer’s unique musical personality is already apparent in this electrifying and moving description of a descent into Hell. Years after this work was composed, the conductor/pianist Hans von Bulow gave Alkan the nickname "the Berlioz of the piano." This movement might well be Exhibit A. I have left the solo violin part in tact; but I have expanded Alkan’s piano part to a symphony orchestra of the size Berlioz employed in the Symphonie fantastique.

Orchestral parts are available on rental from Noteworthy Musical Editions. For more information about renting orchestral performance materials for this work, please visit Noteworthy Musical Editions’ website at

Here is a link to this score on the website of Noteworthy Musical Editions:

In addition to perusing the score online and hearing it played by basic MIDI sounds with SCORCH, you can also listen online to an MP3 of L’ENFER, made with enhanced musical sounds. And if you wish, you can download this MP3 file free-of-charge for repeated listening.

Please let me know what you think of this arrangement of Alkan’s L’ENFER - either by email (just click the button EMAIL THE PUBLISHER) or with an online review. I am always interested to read listeners’ comments.


Score ID
Charles-Valentin Alkan
Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
6 minutes
Classical music

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