Charles Valentin Alkan: 8 voice fugue from the grande sonate // Marc-André Hamelin
The second movement, in D♯ minor (i.e. a key a semitone above the first movement) and ending in the relative major key of F♯ major, called 30 ans and subtitled "Quasi-Faust", is the most substantial piece in the sonata, in a very extended sonata form. Ronald Smith comments on the first subject of this movement:
The duality of this subject, like the dual nature of man, anticipates by six years a similar duality in the Liszt Sonata in which threatening repeated notes are also a feature of the answering phrase.
However, Smith also points out that whilst Liszt treats his material rhapsodically, Alkan keeps to the classical form, if not proportions.
The movement contains much of the most difficult parts in the entire sonata like extremely rapid chords and octaves, huge leaps in both hands and other passage works. Amid the movement, there is a brief, eight-voice fugue.
Raymond Lewenthal wrote regarding this movement: "[it] is actually a tone poem within a tone poem ... it forms the apex of