To the uninitiated it is hard to describe the musical world of the American composer Frederic Rzewski. A pianist himself, Rzewski initially made a name for himself as a champion of the avant-garde, performing everything from Cage to Boulez. In the '70s his own music took a much more populist turn as his political beliefs drove him to find a much more approachable language, basically tonal and incorporating much quotation from popular music. It is music of this period that is recorded here.
Even though Marc-André Hamelin is world-renowned for his astonishing virtuosity and a massive repertoire of the most demanding piano works, including those of Scriabin, Godowsky, and Sorabji, he has startled many with his sudden turn toward the placid domain of Classical music. First came his critically acclaimed recordings of Franz Joseph Haydn's keyboard sonatas, which were surprise best-sellers for Hyperion, and here he offers a double-CD of the piano sonatas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with a handful of short pieces to round out the discs. Since Hamelin's fine reputation precedes him, suffice it to say that these are among the most meticulously played and wittily interpreted renditions of these pieces ever recorded. Even though Mozart's sonatas are tamer than the showpieces of pianistic derring-do normally associated with Hamelin, they are endlessly fascinating for their skillfully crafted details, subtle phrases, and elegant expressions. Since the issue isn't how Hamelin manages all the notes, but instead how he shapes them into such entertaining and moving performances, there is much food for thought in this album, and anyone who attentively follows his playing will find a deeper appreciation of Mozart. Highly recommended.
Fête Galante, a 1999 release featuring soprano Karina Gauvin and pianist Marc-André Hamelin, won numerous awards, and the outstanding performances on this 2011 reissue confirm how well-deserved those honors were. Gauvin has an exceptional voice – clarion-bright, warm, confident, and agile, with a variegated palette of colors – and her effortlessly incisive interpretive skills give depth and life to everything she sings. The distinctiveness and character she brings to these songs show a terrific grasp of the genre of the mélodie, from the late 19th century songs by Fauré and the young Debussy to the mid-20th works by Poulenc, Honegger, and Émile Vuillermoz. The CD demonstrates her range with the zany comedy of Poulenc's "Paganini" followed immediately by the intensely poignant multi-layered sadness of the composer's profound "C." Throughout, Gauvin's tone is ravishingly pure and she soars gloriously in the more lyrical songs.
"These performances are notable for the blending of piano and strings into impeccably balanced textures. It’s an approach that’s better suited to the subtle Piano Quartet, a masterwork that owes much to classical models, than to the Piano Quintet. (…) These highly recommendable performances (…) join many other polished, modern accounts such as Takács/Hamelin and Mandelring/Le Guay that have been praised in these pages…" ~Fanfare
‘Hamelin mastered its rising and falling cascades of scales, biting rhythms and thunderous textures as though he was Busoni himself’ (The Birmingham News, USA). Marc-André Hamelin is indisputably the king of Busoni pianists. He triumphantly masters the extraordinary technical difficulties and contrapuntal complexities this composer presents. This generously priced triple album offers most of Busoni’s mature works and the widest selection of pieces from the Klavierübung so far recorded, many of them for the first time.
This year, April is Hamelin month at Hyperion; not content with giving us another blockbuster addition to the Romantic Piano Concerto series, the pianist gives us his contribution to the Liszt bicentenary. The Liszt Sonata is undoubtedly one of the peaks of the repertoire, and recordings are suitably copious, but when an artist of Hamelin’s virtuoso pedigree wishes to tackle it no excuse need be made for an additional version. The recital opens with a lesser-known masterwork, the Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H, and for light relief there is Liszt’s scintillating supplement to his Italian Année de Pèlerinage, the three pieces of Venezia e Napoli, but perhaps the emotional core of the recital is Liszt’s intensely spiritual Bénédiction du Dieu dans la solitude.
Marc-André Hamelin has proved himself—in three lauded volumes of Haydn’s piano sonatas—to be a formidable Haydn pianist, combining style, exuberance and dazzling technique with a palpable sense of joy in the music. Now he has recorded the composer’s three most popular concertos.
Cet ouvrage traite de deux sujets, à savoir d’un géographe et d’une conception plurielle du territoire.Ce rapprochement est naturel tant sur le plan de la science que sur celui de l’émotion, tellement l’auteur semble s’être traduit dans ses travaux …
Complete sets of the Scriabin sonatas are not as unusual as they once were (e.g., Ashkenazy, Laredo, Hamelin, Szidon, Taub, Kasman). Austbo makes his contribution as well. Those who like a more docile timid approach to the sonatas will like Austbo's versions. Even in the fortissimo parts Austbo, at times, seems to play "quietly"; he plays with little volume.
Alkan's one of music's originals, a relatively neglected composer valued for his highly original, often visionary keyboard works accessible only to the most skilled virtuosos. Marc-André Hamelin certainly fills that bill and almost outdoes himself on this disc, playing with breathtaking virtuosity and imaginative insight. The Symphony for solo piano is just a four-movement work of symphonic scope and color. The Symphony was part of an even bigger work, the Opus 39 Études, whose 12 pieces include Alkan's best music. The three brief pieces that follow have strong attractions, deep spirituality prime among them. The final three pieces from his early Opus 15 set exemplify Alkan the Romantic. Again, Hamelin makes light of their technical difficulties, while shaping them sensitively. Notable are Le vent, where the right-hand runs make you hear the whistling wind and Morte, another powerful funeral march.