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Legato - The World of Piano / Hamelin, Aimard...

Beethoven / Bach / Aimard / Berezovsky / Hamelin
Release Date: 03/25/2014 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 2059848  
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenNikolai MedtnerDafydd LlywelynLeopold Godowsky,   ... 
Performer:  Boris BerezovskyRoland PöntinenMarc-André HamelinPierre-Laurent Aimard
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A Series created by Jan Schmidt-Garre

Picture format: NTSC 4:3
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
Running time: 466 mins
No. of DVDs: 4

R E V I E W S

A word that comes up again and again in conversations with Marc-André Hamelin is curious. It is one of his favorite ways to describe himself. It is certainly the chief trait that early on shaped his unique career, which was established with his extraordinary, often revelatory performances and recordings of obscure and frequently exceptionally difficult works. His playing of Alkan, in particular the Concerto for Solo Piano , recorded in 1992,
Read more established him as a musician of greatness. For this writer, it was Hamelin who unlocked the secret to the wonderful music of Leopold Godowsky, including the monumental Studies on Chopin’s Etudes , music that I never thought could be played at its full potential, until Hamelin came along.

Hamelin continues to explore new music, and is even amassing a growing body of his own compositions. But since changing management and contracting to record for the Hyperion label, he has performed more and more of the standard repertoire. It should come as no surprise that the flair and excitement that he brought to Roslavets and Ornstein also lights up his Schumann and Schubert. The Chopin Sonata performance here is chock full of insight, imagination, and sheer visceral impact. Hamelin plays it, in short, with the excitement of discovery. This is a two-edged sword. It is wonderful to share in the artist’s exploration of the music, but one can only imagine how this pianist will play this score after years of living with it (I hasten to add that having a major piece under the fingers is very different from simply knowing the music). Hearing this Chopin is akin to drinking a great Barolo while it is still young—all of the qualities that mark it as a superb wine are present, but it does not yet sing with a single voice. Both Hamelin’s Chopin and the Barolo need some aging.

The same cannot be said of the Debussy. These are extraordinary performances right out of the starting gate, bursting with character and color. Hamelin grew up in a household awash in the sounds of great piano recordings, including plenty of the French repertoire, but nothing is taken for granted here, all is freshly considered. And although Hamelin winces when the discussion turns to his by now legendary technique, there is simply no way this kind of Debussy would be possible without the dynamic gradations, precise voicing, and coloristic manipulations that inform this playing. The Haydn is also terrific, and new to the pianist’s fingers, but this is less demanding material than either the Chopin or the Debussy, either technically or intellectually. Hamelin encores are always giddy fun, as they are here.

The interview portions of the DVD are useful to those interested in the way in which Hamelin learns a piece, as he looks at every angle, pulls every thread, and teaches himself, as he puts it, to honor the intentions of the composer. Jan Schmidt-Garre, who produces this series of piano DVDs, is an oddly disheveled interviewer, but fortunately, Hamelin is eloquent and expansive, so the interview is almost on autopilot. Still, a bit more pushing on the part of Schmidt-Garre might have fleshed out some of the material. For example, he gets Hamelin to talk about his beloved father and other influences from his childhood in Montreal, but I was surprised he did not ask Hamelin about specific influences, which would have made clear that his father, though more conservative than the son, inspired Hamelin’s earliest forays in exotic literature, or that his teacher, Yvonne Hubert, actually hated much of the music Hamelin went on to champion, including Scriabin. Hamelin once told me that he first studied Ives and Boulez in secret, because Hubert would have been furious.

For those who have never seen Hamelin live, the excellent video of this 2007 Essen, Germany, recital should be of interest. He is very undemonstrative in body language (a potential manager once rejected him because he did not make his playing seem difficult enough), but his hands are beautiful to behold, with classic position and balletic grace. In close-up, it is very clear that, as astonishingly gifted a player as he is, he does indeed work incredibly hard, with a degree of concentration that is almost frightening. In all, this is a very gratifying portrait of a uniquely compelling artist.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
reviewing the Hamelein disc Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Variations (33) for Piano on a Waltz by Diabelli in C major, Op. 120 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1819-1823; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Fairy Tales (2) for Piano, Op. 14: no 2 in E minor "March of Paladin" by Nikolai Medtner
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Fairy Tales (2), Op. 20: no 2 in B minor by Nikolai Medtner
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Russia 
4.
Fairy Tales (4) for Piano, Op. 34: no 2 in E minor by Nikolai Medtner
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1916-17; France 
5.
Fairy Tales (4) for Piano, Op. 26: no 3 in F minor by Nikolai Medtner
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1912; Russia 
6.
Fairy Tales (4) for Piano, Op. 35: no 4 in C sharp minor by Nikolai Medtner
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Russia 
7.
Fairy Tales (2) for Piano, Op. 48: no 2, Tale of the Elves by Nikolai Medtner
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
8.
Fairy Tales (6) for Piano, Op. 51: no 1 in D minor by Nikolai Medtner
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1928; France 
9.
Fairy Tales (6) for Piano, Op. 51: no 2 in A minor by Nikolai Medtner
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: ?1928; France 
10.
Improvisation on "Change of Plans" by Dafydd Llywelyn
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
11.
Triakontameron: no 11, Alt Wien by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; USA 
12.
Etude and 3 Preludes for Piano, Op. 40: Prelude in D minor by Anatole Liadov
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1897; Russia 
13.
Preludes (4) for Piano, Op. 46: no 3 in G major by Anatole Liadov
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
14.
Bagatelles (3) for Piano, Op. 53: no 3 in A flat major by Anatole Liadov
Performer:  Boris Berezovsky (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
15.
Pičces de clavecin, Book 2: Ordre 6 in B flat major - Les baricades mistérieuses by François Couperin
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1717; Paris, France 
16.
Nouvelles suites de pičces de clavecin: no 7, Gavotte [with 6 Doubles] in A minor by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1729-1730; France 
17.
Work(s) by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
18.
Prelude for Piano by Kaija Saariaho
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
19.
Prelude for Piano by Kaija Saariaho
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
20.
Suite Iberia, Book 2: no 1, Rondeńa by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; France 
21.
Suite Iberia, Book 2: no 3, Triana by Isaac Albeniz
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906; France 
22.
Morceaux de fantaisies (5), Op. 3: no 5, Sérénade in B flat minor by Sergei Rachmaninov
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Russia 
23.
Miroirs: Oiseaux tristes by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; France 
24.
Sonata for Keyboard no 46 in E major, H 16 no 31 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1776; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
25.
Sonata for Piano no 3 in B minor, B 155/Op. 58 by Frédéric Chopin
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844; Paris, France 
26.
Préludes, Book 2 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
27.
Oh, Kay!: Do, Do, Do by George Gershwin
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; USA 
28.
Show Girl: Liza "All the clouds'll roll away" by George Gershwin
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; USA 
29.
The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080: Excerpt(s) by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1745-1750; Leipzig, Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/05/2008 
Venue:  Akademie der Schönen Künste, Munich 
30.
Matribute by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Written: 2007 
Date of Recording: 03/05/2008 
Venue:  Akademie der Schönen Künste, Munich 
31.
Diversions (2) by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; USA 
Date of Recording: 03/05/2008 
Venue:  Akademie der Schönen Künste, Munich 
32.
Caténaires by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
33.
Shadowlines by George Benjamin
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2001; England 
Date of Recording: 03/05/2008 
Venue:  Akademie der Schönen Künste, Munich 
34.
Sonata for Piano no 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1821-1822; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/05/2008 
Venue:  Akademie der Schönen Künste, Munich 

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