Volume 1

Charles-Valentin Alkan




"[in “La Retraite”], Amaral crystallizes a magical spell across the keyboard with noble statement... Closing in on the beginning of Autumn, Amaral’s pianistic expressions in “Les Moissonneurs” have sparkling purity that float by with soufflé amiability... Classical surprises are lifetime gifts... Igor Do Amaral does superb justice to illuminating the energy inside Charles‑Valentin Alkan’s music with impeccable distinction. We look forward to what lies ahead in the pianist’s subsequent volume. An exemplary issue."
Christie Grimstad, Concerto Net [June 2024]
"for the young virtuoso Igor Do Amaral, it is a very-little-known Alkan composition that is the highlight of Volume 1 of what is planned as a multi-CD Alkan cycle on the MSR Classics label: Les Mois (“The Months”)... Each piece in Les Mois is a small gem, encapsulating a feeling if not a specific season or time period, and Amaral gets fully into the spirit of the individual elements and the cycle as a whole, exploring elements of seriousness and levity, intensity and gentleness, with understanding and unfailing skill... The performance certainly whets the appetite for more Alkan from Amaral... It is clear from Les Mois that Amaral has the technique needed to present Alkan’s music effectively... the high quality of Amaral’s handling of Les Mois is a hopeful sign for his future forays into some of the most interesting and interestingly difficult piano music ever written."
Mark J. Estren, InfoDad [June 2024]
"[Charles-Valentin Alkan's piano music] still attracts the attention of performing artists because of the undeniable virtuosity that it requires of the performer. As presented by Igor Do Amaral, well-regarded pianist, teacher, and scholar...we can gather some reasons for a fascination with Alkan’s music that refuses to die. In particular the fact that its composer continued to push out the known limits of piano composition throughout his career... the music on this album is well laid-out, often totally belying the technical difficulties the performer must surmount to present it to us as successfully as Igor Do Amaral does here."
Phil Muse, Atlanta Audio Club [Spring 2024]
During the Romantic period, there was an abundance of important and great composers and pianists. This was a significant period during which numerous composers contributed greatly to the piano repertoire because of its central place in Western culture and society. With this large number of composers and music for the piano, it’s natural and unfortunate that some composers and works were forgotten over time. Charles-Valentin Alkan, (né Charles-Valentin Morhange; 1813-1888), was a Jewish-French pianist, composer and teacher born in this period, his life coinciding with some of the most popular and famous pianist and composers of the day, such as Chopin and Liszt.

Pianist and educator Igor Do Amaral, is known for his passion, dedication, and sincere approach to music. Born in Macau, Amaral was awarded numerous prizes, sponsorships, and scholarships. He was the recipient of several government sponsorships and grants. He was laureate in many competitions, such as Bradshaw & Buono, The American Prize, Michigan State University Faculty Grant and The American Protégé. In addition, Amaral was invited to perform with orchestra and as a soloist in North America, Europe and Asia in prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Gilles- Lefebvre Concert Hall, Teatro Jovellanos, Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall, Ernst C. Stiefel Hall, Macau Cultural Center, and others. Amaral’s outstanding teaching and performing philosophy have led him to him to hold positions on international jury panels and receive numerous awards for his teaching success. He is often invited to give lectures and master classes in and around the United States and Asia. Amaral is currently a faculty member at the Macao Polytechnic University and the Beijing Normal University-Hong Kong Baptist University United International College. He has held teaching positions at Michigan State University, Interlochen Center for the Arts and the University of Saint Joseph. Dr. Amaral graduated with prestigious scholarships and holds a Doctoral Degree of Musical Arts, Professional Diploma and a double Masters Degree. He studied and worked with Simone Dinnerstein and Maria João Pires, as well as with Luong Kim Ying, Jackson Leung, Panayis Lyras, Derek Polischuk and Margarita Shevchenko.
I. Allegro moderato
II. Marcia funebre
III. Minuet et Trio
IV. Finale
LES MOIS (The Months), OP.74
I. Une nuit d’Hiver
II. Carnaval
III. Le Retraite
IV. La Paque
V. Le Serenade
VI. Promenade sur l’eau
VII. Une nuit d’Ete
VIII. Les Moissonneurs
IX. L’Hallali
X. Gros temps
XI. Le Mourant
XII. L’Opera

Recorded 27-29 June 2023 at Oktaven Audio, Mt. Vernon, New York. A Candlewood Digital high resolution Natural Presence recording: Produced, engineered, edited and mastered by Richard Price.

MSR Classics