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Hamelin: Etudes / Marc-Andre Hamelin

Release Date: 09/14/2010 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67789  
Composer:  Marc-André Hamelin
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Marc-André Hamelin's works celebrate the great Western tradition of composer/pianists, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Those who know the piano repertoire well (and no one knows it as well as Hamelin does) will find countless delights here, such as the fourth etude, in which the finale of Alkan's Symphony for piano solo rubs shoulders with the same composer's Aesop's Feast. Or consider the first etude, a confabulation of three Chopin etudes in the manner of Godowsky's crazy studies.

Most of your keyboard favorites show up at some point: aside from Chopin, there's Liszt, Scarlatti, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Beethoven, the folk song "Ah, vous dirais-je
Read more maman", and God knows what else, all filtered through the prismatic lens of Hamelin's irrepressible sense of humor, transcendent virtuosity, and yes, compositional genius.

The remainder of the program reveals Hamelin's more lyrical side, though the finale of Con intimissimo sentimento, "Berceuse (in tempore belli)" (Lullaby in a time of war), reveals a fondness for quirky titles worthy of Satie. The Little Nocturne is a gem, and the Variations, a genuinely touching love poem to Hamelin's fiancée, shows that his gift as a composer is not limited merely to writing music of atrocious technical difficulty.

It goes without saying that the performances present the music optimally in all respects, and completely disarm criticism. Two of the etudes were recorded previously, but there is no sonic disparity between these earlier tracks and the more recent ones: the engineering is uniformly superb. Let's just hope that Hamelin's music finds a home under the fingers of other pianists as well; it deserves the attention. Don't miss this. [10/1/2010]

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Etudes (12) in All the Minor Keys by Marc-André Hamelin
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Little Nocturne for Piano by Marc-André Hamelin
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Con intimissimo sentimento by Marc-André Hamelin
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Theme and Variations for Piano "Cathy's Variations" by Marc-André Hamelin
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)

Featured Sound Samples

Etudes in All the Minor Keys: No 4 in C minor
Little Nocturne

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