Le Festin d’Alkan

Ronald Stevenson – Le Festin d’Alkan (1st mvt, Hamelin) Audio + Sheet music played by Marc-André Hamelin at Greenwich Piano Festival in Blackheath in 1999

For pianophiles extraordinaires (see below)

Ronald Stevenson’s (1928-) immensely difficult Le Festin d’Alkan: Concerto for solo piano without orchestra. This is the first movement, a firm, tumultuous free composition. This is the premiere performance (and the only one, as far as I know), given by Marc-André Hamelin at Greenwich Piano Festival in Blackheath, 06/09/1999.

At the beginning of the score there is a hand-written introduction by the composer:

“The title of this work will be readily recognisable as a homage to Alkan’s well-known “Le Festin d’Aesop”. My work also pays tribute to Alkan’s later preference for giving “petits concerts” in his study for a few friends rather than public concerts for a larger audience. That had become my own preference.
This work, “Le Festin d’Alkan”, encapsulates my aesthetic conviction that free composition, free transcription and free variation (the forms of my three movements in order of performance) are all essentially the same thing. If a transcription is free enough it becomes both free variations and free composition.”
(read more on YouTube)