Le Prophète

Erin Helyard, Stephanie McCallum

Charles-Valentin Alkan, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Ignaz Moscheles

The only way to listen to the latest symphony or opera in the nineteenth century was to either seek out a live performance or perform it at home with a piano partner, à quatre mains.   Continue Reading

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The only way to listen to the latest symphony or opera in the nineteenth century was to either seek out a live performance or perform it at home with a piano partner, à quatre mains. Thus, an enormous amount of four-hand literature abounds from the 1820s to the 1930s. Works in transcription largely dominate this repertoire: operas, symphonies, and chamber works were adapted en masse for four hands by skilled and not so skilled musicians alike. But there were also works freshly composed in the medium, and four-handed playing could be heard in the home (its natural environment) but also on the relatively new environment of the concert stage. The ubiquity and popularity of the four- handed format meant that it crossed national, social, and economic boundaries. As such, the piano duet was a powerful cultural site in which anxieties about gender, nationality, labour, and pleasure were writ large. Adrian Daub in Four- Handed Monsters: Four-Hand Piano Playing and Nineteenth-Century Culture has brilliantly surveyed nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century novels for traces of how the piano duet interacted with those who played and listened to them. Daub argues on the strength of a rich and provocative bed of primary literature that four-hand piano playing theatricalised nineteenth-century issues of subjectivity, community, eroticism, nationalism, and consumerism. One of the most compelling arguments in Four-Handed Monsters is Daub’s exploration of how four-hands music had a particular and especial relationship to consumption and commodification. Certainly, as the “proto-CD of nineteenth- century domestic culture,” four-hand music was mass-produced and consumed eagerly. The nineteen-year-old Friedrich Nietzsche’s Christmas wish- list in 1863, for instance, reads “(1) The Grand Duo by F. Schubert, arranged for four hands; (2) Düntzer’s edition of Goethe’s lyric poems.” Four-handed music and its performance was undoubtedly one of the important and influential components of nineteenth-century transnational musical culture. One would argue that it could be considered the most pervasive and important, by dint of its widespread agency.

Featuring Artists

Stephanie McCallum   Piano

Erin Helyard   Piano


  1. Le Prophète - Ouverture Giacomo Meyerbeer 12:33
  2. Prélude No. I - Moderamente Charles-Valentin Alkan 3:25
  3. Prélude No. II - Andantino Charles-Valentin Alkan 4:33
  4. Prélude No. III - Allegro moderato Charles-Valentin Alkan 1:55
  5. Prélude No. IV - Tempo giusto Charles-Valentin Alkan 4:50
  6. Prélude No. V - Quasi adagio Charles-Valentin Alkan 5:08
  7. Prélude No. VI - Andantino Charles-Valentin Alkan 4:24
  8. Prélude No. VII - Alla Giudesca Charles-Valentin Alkan 4:30
  9. Prélude No. VIII - Lento Charles-Valentin Alkan 3:10
  10. Prélude No. IX - Adagio Charles-Valentin Alkan 8:54
  11. Hommage à Weber - I. Allegro vivace Ignaz Moscheles 4:30
  12. Hommage à Weber - II. Andantino con moto Ignaz Moscheles 3:57
  13. Hommage à Weber - III. Allegro vivace Ignaz Moscheles 6:09


Brendon Heinst   Recording Engineer

Bart Koop   Assistant Engineer

Brendon Heinst   Mastering Engineer

Brendon Heinst   Artwork

Stephanie McCallum, Erin Helyard   Liner Notes


Sonodore   Microphones

Sonodore   Preamplifiers

Furutech   Cables

Merging   AD/DA Converters

Hegel   Amplifiers

KEF   Loudspeakers

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