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Why nobody knows how composer Charles-Valentin Alkan died

Editorial Staff

Charles -Valentin Alkan was many things: a virtuoso pianist; a prolific composer; a musical, academic, and spiritual polymath; a collector of unusual animals; a passionate teacher.

But there is another aspect to Alkan's personality that obscures everything else, and that's exactly how he wanted it: He was such a profound and committed recluse that still today, among gossip, slander and whispers, the truth of his life and his calamitous death remain just barely out of reach.

The latest instalment of Classical (De)composition, a video series written by CBC Radio 2's Tom Allen, sifts through the tantalizing rumours around one of classical music's most intriguing figures. Illustrations by Katy Dockrill, i2i Art Inc. Watch it below.

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