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Godowsky: Strauss Transcriptions And Other Waltzes / Marc-andre Hamelin


Release Date: 08/12/2008 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67626   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Leopold GodowskyOscar Straus
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 9 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



Clarity and subtlety in delightfully eloquent interpretations

The multi-levelled labyrinths of Leopold Godowsky’s piano-writing have long been second nature to Marc-André Hamelin. Listeners familiar with earlier Hamelin Hyperion Godowsky releases can testify to the pianist’s cultured musicianship, extraordinary keyboard proficiency and unflappable tonal control. His key assets include the most together, impeccably voiced chords in the business, plus octaves, trills and rapid leaps that remain effortlessly even and focused, regardless of tempo.

All of this comes into delightful play over the course of the three big Strauss Symphonic
Read more Metamorphoses. Countless inner voices and contrapuntal rejoinders abound in these works, and Hamelin makes them audible and clear without resorting to the pianistic equivalent of red-ink underlining or pop-up windows. Furthermore, Hamelin is a seasoned and subtle orchestrator at the piano; notice how he achieves such eloquent shading of simultaneous legato and detached phrases with no more help from the sustain pedal than is necessary.

To be sure, there are other valid ways to interpret Strauss/Godowsky. For example, David Saperton’s 1952 mono recordings of the Künsterleben and Fledermaus paraphrases convey more linear urgency and harmonic tension by virtue of slightly faster tempi, more pronounced textural contrast between foreground and background material, and sharper accents. One also could argue that Godowsky’s pinpoint tempo modifications throughout Wein, Weib und Gesang might benefit from stronger characterisation, in the manner of Shura Cherkassky’s admittedly more capricious Decca recording, although Hamelin eschews the older pianist’s cuts; in fact, Hamelin plays all three Metamorphoses complete, as written. As it happens, the less demanding shorter selections from Walzermasken, Triakontameron and The Last Waltz inspire some of Hamelin’s most poetic, lyrically inspired playing on disc. All told, a stellar achievement, graced by Hyperion’s close-up yet ample engineering, plus Gramophone contributor and Godowsky biographer Jeremy Nicholas’s thoroughly informative and penetrating annotations.

-- Jed Distler, Gramophone [9/2008]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Symphonic metamorphosis of themes from Johann Strauss's "Kunstlerleben" by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1905; Berlin, Germany 
Length: 14 Minutes 57 Secs. 
2.
Symphonic metamorphosis of themes from "Die Fledermaus" by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1912; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 11 Minutes 9 Secs. 
3.
Symphonic metamorphosis of Johann Strauss's "Wein, Weib und Gesang" Waltzes by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Berlin, Germany 
Length: 12 Minutes 3 Secs. 
4.
Fantasies (24) for Piano "Walzermasken": no 2, Pastell by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 5 Secs. 
5.
Fantasies (24) for Piano "Walzermasken": no 14, Französisch by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
6.
Fantasies (24) for Piano "Walzermasken": no 22, Wienerisch by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Berlin, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
7.
Fantasies (24) for Piano "Walzermasken": no 24, Portrait Johann Strauss by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911; Berlin, Germany 
Length: 6 Minutes 4 Secs. 
8.
Triakontameron: no 4, Rendezvous by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
9.
Triakontameron: no 11, Alt Wien by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
10.
Triakontameron: no 13, Terpsichorean Vindobona by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; USA 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
11.
Triakontameron: no 21, The Salon by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
12.
Triakontameron: no 25, Erinnerungen by Leopold Godowsky
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1920; USA 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
13.
Der letzte Walzer: Act I Waltz by Oscar Straus
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Leopold Godowsky. 

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