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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Alkan’s Esquisses, 49 little miniatures, are not among his most brilliant virtuoso pieces, but their range of mood and expression is impressively wide. There are occasional foreshadowing of things to come (try the Debussian Les Soupirs or Les Diablotins), but all these pieces, apart from being expertly crafted, are full of imaginative and original touches. Laurent Martin is an excellent player who understands this music inside out and is generally well served by the recorded sound.

Paul Rapoport
Fanfare, November 2002

I list the Alkan Esquisses because this is the best “complete” introduction to Alkan’s very short works, from the ordinary to the bizarre. The Alkan Symphony receives a masterful performance by a pianist firmly connected to his music.

Max Loppert
BBC Music Magazine, July 2002

"...The range of moods and styles covered - from 'antique' to forward-looking, from serene to darkly disturbed - is startlingly wide. For this reason, and at Naxos's asking price, the disc is worth consideration..." ***Performance**Sound.

Jed Distler, June 2002

If you'd like to access the full scope of Alkan's quirky style in bite-sized proportions rather than piling into the Concerto for Solo Piano, Les Quartre Ages, and other large-scale concoctions, here's a disc for you...Laurent Martin commands Alkan's idiom well, and his fingers toss off the composer's fastest flurries of notes (e.g. the Fantasie, No. 16) with next to no effort

Peter Knapp
The Patriot Ledger, June 2002

Admirably performed by French pianist Laurent Martin, these 48 brief character pieces, plus a postscript, in various styles in moods. Some suggest Baroque style. Others belong to Alkan's ages of flamboyant romantic pianists. There is charm, there is drama, there is humor and a lot of imagination.

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