Alkan - Scherzo Diabolico
  • Classical music "Scherzo Diabolico, anticipates Liszt's 'Mephisto' style but is more classical in shape and sterner in character. Although in G minor its leading subject opens with a bold splash of Ab colouring and throughout the main section this constant contradiction of G minor by the Neapolitan sixth, Ab, adds tension to its obsessional drive. The tempo slackens for a trio in huge fat chords. Then comes the surprise. The scherzo returns but in a breathless whisper and it vanishes, wraithlike, into a sulphurous haze of pedal. Alkan's instruction to hold both pedals throughout this final section is highly imaginative but cruelly exacting, especially on most modern instruments. It should certainly be risked, its success depending on the pianist's ability to tame such wide-spanned velocity into a controlled 'ppp'." *All quotes taken from Ronald Smith's book entitled Alkan - The man, The Music.*

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