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NATALIA VALENTIN PROGRAMME This new programme of Natalia Valentin is supported by the Bru-Zane Foundation for French romantic music for the 200th aniversary of composer’s birth.

Charles Valentin Alkan : Mysticism and spirituality Alkan was born CharlesValentin Morhange on 30 November 1813 and died on 29 March 1888. As a child prodig y, he entered the Conservatoire de Paris at the age of six, where he studied both piano and organ. He was a favorite of his teacher, Joseph Zimmermann, who also taught Georges Bizet, C é s a r Fr a n c k , C h a r l e s Gounod, and Ambroise Thomas. Alkan's remarkable technique is evidenced by the technical and physical demands of his compositions; however, this technique was not at the expense of musicality, as exemplified by his more sensitive pieces (e.g. his Op. 22 Nocturne in B and several of his Esquisses).

Like Chopin, Alkan wrote almost exclusively for the keyboard, although in Alkan's case this included the organ and the pédalier, of which he was a noted exponent. Some of his music requires a dazzling virtuosity, calling for extreme velocity, enormous leaps at speed, long stretches of fast repeated notes, and the maintenance of widely-spaced contrapuntal lines. Such examples of his music have been reviewed as "ferociously" and even "impossibly" difficult. The pianist MarcAndré Hamelin has said: «The aspect of Alkan that is most apparent when people who don't know him listen to him for the first time is that his music is difficult to play... But in a way, I wish that it

d i d n o t t a k e a fo r m i d a bl e technique ... the great musical worth of Alkan's music makes it worthwhile to master those difficulties.» Musically, many of his ideas were unconventional, even innovative. Some of his multi-movement compositions show "progressive tonality". He was rigorous in avoiding enhar monic spelling, occasionally modulating to keys containing double-sharps or double-flats, so pianists are occasionally required to come to terms with unusual keys s u ch a s E - s h a r p m a j o r, enharmonic equivalent to F major, and the occasional triple-sharp.


PROGRAMME ALKAN, Charles Valentin Recueil d'Impromptus n° 1 (1848) L’Amitié La Foi Les Mois, 12 Morceaux caractéristiques, en 4 suites (1840) La Pâque Alleluia pour Piano Fa majeur (1844) Premier recueil de chants (Trente Chants) (1857) L’Offrande Deuxième recueil de chants (Trente Chants) (1857) Procession - Nocturne Super flumina Babylonis, paraphrase du psaume (1859) 25 Préludes dans tous les tons Majeurs et mineurs pour piano ou orgue (1847) Prière du soir, Ancienne mélodie de la synagogue J’étais endormie, mais mon coeur veillait (Cantique des cantiques)

Camille Saint-Saëns Cloches du soir Op. 85 Cloches de Las Palmas Op. 111 n° 4 Valse Canariote Op. 88 Marcial del Adalid Regrets Résignation Richard Wagner In das Album der Fürstin M.  Ankunft bei den schwarzen Schwänen "Arrivée aux cygnes noirs"

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By Adélaïde de Place

TO KNOW MORE

Charles Valentin Alkan (whose true name was Charles Valentin Morhange) was born into a Jewish family originating in Central Europe. His bicentennial falls on November 30th 2013, and he remains one of the most original personalities of the 19th century. Possessed of a firmly artistic temperament, a fantasist verging on eccentricity at times, he was a hypochondriac and a misanthrope, apparently indifferent to praise, cultured and full of elevated tendencies. A former child prodigy, he was a noted pedagogue, a passionate lover of chamber music, a great organist and a remarkable virtuoso at the piano who, as the Figaro wrote in 1838, could produce “the same note twenty-four times in the space of a single second”. Alkan’s compositional legacy consists primarily of works for piano and Érard’s pedal piano. An antiWagnerian, he was greatly admired by his friends Chopin and Liszt. But his music was not always understood by the public as his compositions deviated from the forms used by his contemporaries. Joseph d’Ortigue compared them to “strange things that seem to be a voice from the past, echoing in the future”. A lover of outsized forms, Alkan published a Grande Sonate, opus 33, in 1847, a gigantic score on the four ages of life. The work’s cyclical motif was based on the subject of one of the fugues of Bach’s WellTempered Clavier. Among Alkan’s contemporaries were Adolph von Henselt, a refined composer and pianist to the Empress of Russia, and Henri Herz. Herz combined multiple activities: he was a concert performer, composer, professor at the Conservatoire, and director of a Parisian concert hall. He also a piano-maker, and travelled the world to show off instruments produced by his workshops. From 1873 onwards, Alkan performed annual Petits Concerts at the Salle Érard in Paris. As Alkan was a great lover of Baroque music, he prominently featured works by Bach, Händel, Scarlatti, Couperin, and Mozart. But he also included works by Weber, Beethoven, and Chopin. On April 16th 1874, Camille SaintSaëns was the soloist. A stunning pianist, Saint-Saëns’s piano repertoire was fairly limited. But he was a deeply erudite composer, who like Alkan failed at the Concours de Rome, and was an ardent defender of Bach, Rameau, Mozart and Gluck. He was also one of the first French musicians to admire Wagner. Wagner devoted his life to his ideal, the musical drama. But it is less well known that he wrote several works for the piano. Was Wagner a good pianist? His friend Auguste de Gasperini remembered him as “playing with the hands, the wrists, the elbows, pounding the pedals, crushing the keys”. Alkan’s life was full of disappointments: already in 1826, Liszt’s prodigious virtuosity let him “weeping with vexation”. Later he aspired to take over from his mentor Zimmerman at the Conservatoire, but it was Marmontel who was chosen instead. This was an even greater shock given that his brother Napoléon Alkan and his son Eraïm Miriam Delborde taught there. These personal and professional failures had a notable influence on Alkan’s personality. Hidden away in his well-stocked library, he took refuge in the study of the Talmud and the Bible. With his heightened religious tendencies and his penchant for mysticism, this alchemist of the piano tried to create, in his way, great and beautiful works. It is for the pedal piano that he composed his religious piece where “he reveals a side of the Hebraic soul”. A proud artist, Alkan died alone. He was found lifeless on the morning of March 29th 1888 in his Parisian apartment, the victim of a fatal accident or illness. He was buried discreetly, in the presence of a few friends.

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BIOGRAPHY Having successfully completed her piano studies at the Conservatoire Régional (CRR) in Paris with a Premier Prix in piano performance in 2000, she began specializing in Fortepiano, studying with Patrick Cohen at the CRR. In 2003, she obtained an Early Music Diploma, alongside a Premier Prix in chamber music at the Gustave Charpentier Conservatory. Natalia Valentin then completed her studies at the prestigious Paris Conservatory (CNSM), in June 2007 she obtained a Premier Prix in Fortepiano performance with high distinction, in a unanimous vote by the jury. While studying under professors Patrick Cohen, Pierre Cazes, and Kenneth Weiss, Natalia Valentin worked to perfect her fortepiano technique under the guidance of Susan Alexander-Max and Arthur Schoonderwoerd. Natalia Valentin has performed both solo and chamber music repertoire in several prominent French music festivals, including: Courants d’Airs (Manosque), Musicancy (Bourgogne), Les Solistes de Demain (Auvergne), in addition to appearances at the Gaudete (Varallo Sesia, Italy), Phoenix (Luzern, Switzerland), Antigua Musica de la Laguna (Tenerife, Spain) and tours of the US and Mexico following an invitation from the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra (Texas). Since 2008 she is regularly invited by the National System of Youth and Children's Orchestras of Venezuela to perform concertos with the Caracas Symphonic Youth Orchestra conducted by Dietrich Paredes at the Teresa Carreño Theater and chamber music recitals with the soloist of the Simon Bolivar Symphonic Orchestra. She participated to the Chopin’s Year festivities in La Cité de la Musique of Paris, playing several recitals on a Broadwood Fortepiano played by Chopin himself during his last tour in England. In November 2010 she is invited by the Musée de l’Armée in Paris to perform Mozart and Haydn’s concertos with the Trio Euterpe and the soloist of the Paris Orchestra, and in 2012 she performed an especial program for the Napoleon’s Russian Campaign festivities. Natalia Valentin currently teaches fortepiano and piano at the Bobigny Conservatory in Seine St Denis and at the Vigneux-Sur-Seine Conservatory, both suburbs of Paris. In September 2010 she was engaged to make a fortepiano workshop in the Hochschule Luzern Musik and sins 2011 she is assistant professor at the Accademia Europea delle Tastiere Storiche of Villa Bossi in Italy. In 2009, Natalia Valentin recorded her first album dedicated to the Rondos and Bagatelles of Ludwig van Beethoven and performed on a pianoforte originally from Southern Germany. This record has been really welcomed by the medias in the music field, it won 5 diapasons of the Diapason Magazine, three stars from Classica magazine, TOP5 of the year in Fanfare magazine and awarded of a Coup de Coeur prize by Classique-News. Since her first record’s launch Rondos & Bagatelles of Beethoven, Natalia Valentin performed numerous concerts and developed pedagogic programs like music students exchange with her original country, Venezuela, and actions around the fortepiano history. Brilliant and energetic, Natalia Valentin wishes to promote her large repertoire and her particular touch on historical pianos at an international stage. In 2012-2013, Natalia Valentin will record Muzio Clementi, Chopin and Charles Valentin Alkan works.

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2009-2012 : 2009-2012 PRINCIPAUX Concerts CONCERTS 05/2009: Missa Hispánica by Haydn, direction : Luiz Alves da Silva, Grossmünster of Zürich, Switzerland. 09/2009: Launch of her CD Beethoven « Rondos & Bagatelles » at the Gaudete Festival in Italy. 10/2009: Fortepiano Recitals and chamber music in Orange «  Château Saint Estève  », Montpellier «  Château d’Assas », Pradet « Espace des Arts ».

12/2009: Pedagogic project around the CPE Bach at CRD of Bobigny and Fortepiano Recital at the Museum of Fine Arts of Tenerife (Canaries Island), Spain.

02/2010: Pedagogic project around Haydn at CRD of Bobigny and Concert for Haïti, organized by the Lutheran World Relief Fund, Peace Lutheran Church, Austin Texas USA.

04/2010: Concerts on fortepiano Broadwood 1846 at Museum of Cité de la Musique for the Chopin Exhibition. 06/2010: Red Carpet Fortepiano recital for the Association Musicale Villa Bossi in Bodio, Italy 09/2010: Four hand fortepiano recital with Raphaël Staubli, Phoenix Festival in Luzern, Switzerland. She also ran a fortepiano class at the Hoschule Luzern Musik

11/2010: Concertos of Mozart and Haydn for string quartet and fortepiano at the Invalides, Paris 03/2011: Red Carpet Fortepiano recital for the Association Musicale Villa Bossi in Bodio, Italy 04/2011: Chamber Music Recital with the soloists of the Simon Bolivar Symphonic Orchestra, Masterclass and pedagogic project at the Sistema in Caracas; concert about the « Art of Marie-Antoinette » in the Theater Le Ranelagh in Paris, France 12/2012: Recital with the Soprano Luanda Siqueira in Algiers (Algeria) about French Music melodies of the XVIIIth century. 01/2012 and 03/12: Instrumental travel at the Music’s Museum, Paris

02/2012 and 04/12: Masterclass with Bart von Oort and Alexei Lubimov, Association Musicale Villa Bossi in Bodio, Italy 04/2012: Chamber music recital with violinist Solenne Bort and cellist Juliana Laska in Vigneux-sur-Seine Theatre, France 05/2012 : Pianoforte and percussion recital with Marie-Ange Petit in the Invalides (Paris, France) : Military Music from the 1st Empire

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This programme is part of the 2013-2014 Season of Palazzetto Bru Zane – Centre de musique romantique française whose aim is to favour the rediscovery of the French musical heritage of the years 1780 to 1920, and to obtain for that repertoire the international recognition it deserves. Research and publishing, the organisation and international distribution of concerts, and support for CD recordings are the main activities of the Palazzetto Bru Zane, which opened in 2009. With artists from all horizons, the Foundation prepares programmes that are attractive and original, while respecting their individual qualities as musicians, with compositions ranging from chamber music to large-scale symphonic or choral works. Each year unifying themes are chosen, with the aim of providing an overview of a particular period or genre, or the works of a littleknown composer. Presentation of the concerts at an international level considerably enlarges the public concerned by the Palazzetto’s activities, while maximising promotion of the artists and their work. Direct support for the “extra-mural” programmes given in collaboration with other institutions also strengthens and enriches the network of partnerships with countries from China to Canada and from Lebanon to the countries of Eastern Europe. As part of this Season, each concert with this programme taking place between July 2013 and August 2014 will be receive direct support by the Foundation.

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