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