The bicentennial composer that France forgotmain
This year, as the world celebrated centenaries of Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi and Benjamin Britten, Germany, Italy and England swelled with cultural pride and added a bit of swagger.
France, too, had a bicentennial composer but opted to keep quiet about him.
The Saturday, November 30, is the 200th anniversary of the boirth in Paris of Charles-Valentin Morhange Alkan, the foremost French piano virtuoso of the first half of the 19th century and a composer of exceedingly difficult works. Liszt and Chopin, it was said, lived in fear of his skills.
In mid-life, denied the post of head of piano at the Paris Conservatoire, Alkan withdrew from public performance and became a recluse.
His exclusion was, to a degree, founded on anti-semitic prejudice. We wonder what the excuse was for forgetting his bicentenary.