I didn’t compose this étude without some hesitation, since I’ve always believed that basing a work on material that is little known to the general public is a useless enterprise. But in this case, I found Alistair’s idea so irresistible that I had to make an exception, so that ultimately work on this étude concerned carrying a germinal idea to a satisfying conclusion, with thoughts of actual performance being secondary. But I hope that the end result can still be appreciated even by those who have not been exposed to Alkan’s music in general, and to these two works in particular.
Those who are familiar with the two source works will realize that this étude is a very free exploitation of Alkan’s original material. As with the Triple Étude, a literal superimposition of both pieces would have been impossible and pointless. I have chosen instead to fashion a work that is somewhat different from either of the two sources while still retaining large chunks of the original music; many portions of the originals are not utilized. Alkan connoisseurs will also note that the theme of his remarkable set of variations Le festin d’Ésope makes a few uninvited appearances. The title is a slightly self-deprecating take on Alkan’s own; ‘perpétuellement semblable’ implies something like ‘always the same old thing’.
from notes by Marc-André Hamelin © 2010