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Busoni: Late Piano Music / Marc-Andre Hamelin

Busoni / Hamelin
Release Date: 11/12/2013 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67951  
Composer:  Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Ninety years have passed since Ferruccio Busoni’s death in 1924, and his original piano works remain box-office poison, although they’ve proliferated on disc. Recent recordings include several all-Busoni discs by Roland Pontinen on CPO along with Wolf Harden’s ongoing complete Busoni cycle for Naxos. Now we have Marc-André Hamelin’s three-disc survey devoted to the composer’s late pieces. It easily claims reference status, not just because of Hamelin’s celebrated technical proficiency, but also for his scrupulous, enlightening musical details.

Comparative observations illuminate my point. For example, the composer Thomas Adès made a lovely, sensitive recording of the
Read more Sonatina Ad Usum Infantis for EMI, and he plays the concluding Polonaise movement with lilting delicacy. However, Hamelin’s slightly faster tempo, more distinct articulation of slurs and staccatos, and observation of rests for their correct durations better convey the Polonaise’s rhythmic essence.

Busoni’s tendency to inflate miniatures by other composers with serious-minded and unnecessary padding begat the Giga, Boléro e Variazione from An Die Jugend, which basically refuses to leave Mozart’s ingeniously cross-rhythmic and succinct Eine kleine Gigue alone. Hamelin’s crisp and headlong performance makes the music’s most compelling recorded case; compare, for instance, Hamelin’s swagger and inhumanly even trills in the Boléro alongside Harden’s slower, heavier version and you’ll hear why. Hamelin’s quietly deft manipulation of light and shade liberates the seven Elegies from a long tradition of dour, mushy performances and brings welcome vibrancy to the Indian Diary’s four movements, from the opening Allegretto’s controlled rubato to the hair-trigger definition of the finale’s rapid arpeggiated chords.

Much as I admire Pontinen’s rock-solid suavity in the Perpetuum mobile, Hamelin’s brisker tempo and more pointed accents win the day. His pliable treatments of the Seven Polyphonic Pieces differ from Paul Jacobs’ more reserved classicism. If anything, the (relatively) familiar Sixth Sonatina based on themes from Bizet’s Carmen receives a suppler, more spontaneous reading than in Hamelin’s excellent yet comparatively square June, 1994 Wigmore Hall Hyperion recording. The opening section’s canonic writing is perfectly contoured between the hands, while the textural interweaving in the Flower Song and in the gorgeous descending chromatic harmonization of the Fate Motive emerges as if several pianos and at least two players were involved. In other words, finally here’s a modern Carmen Fantasy recording worthy of mention alongside the first three commercial 78 rpm editions by Claudio Arrau, Michael von Zadora, and Egon Petri. In short, this is a valuable addition to the Busoni discography and to Hamelin’s ever expanding, standard-setting Hyperion legacy.

-- ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Variations (10) on Chopin's Prelude in c, Op. 22/K 213a by Ferruccio Busoni
Performer:  Marc-André Hamelin (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; Berlin, Germany 
2.
Toccata for Piano, K 287 "Preludio, Fantasia, Ciacona" by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; Germany 
3.
Sonatina super Carmen, K 284 "Kammerfantasie" by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; Berlin, Germany 
4.
Sonatina in diem Nativitatis Christi 1917, K 274 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; Berlin, Germany 
5.
Sonatina for Piano no 2, K 259 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; Berlin, Germany 
6.
Sonatina for Piano no 1, K 257 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Berlin, Germany 
7.
Sonatina brevis, K 280 "In signo Joannis Sebastiani Magni" by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1919; Berlin, Germany 
8.
Sonatina ad usum infantis, K 268 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1916; Berlin, Germany 
9.
Prélude et Étude en Arpèges, K 297 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Berlin, Germany 
10.
Perpetuum mobile, K 293 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1922; Berlin, Germany 
11.
Nuit de noël by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Berlin, Germany 
12.
Notturno prologo for Piano in A minor, K 279 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; Berlin, Germany 
13.
Kurze Stücke zur Pflege des polyphonen Spiels auf dem Pianoforte, K 296 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; Berlin, Germany 
14.
Klavierübung: Variations-Studie nach Mozart: no 1, Canzonetta aus Don Giovanni by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1922 
15.
Indianisches Tagebuch: Book 1, K 267 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; Berlin, Germany 
16.
Fantasia after Johann Sebastian Bach for Piano, K 253 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Berlin, Germany 
17.
Elegies (7) for Piano, K 249 by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; Berlin, Germany 
18.
Albumblätter (3) for Piano by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917-1923; Berlin, Germany 
20.
Indianisches Erntelied by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911 
21.
Klavierübung: Preludio "Allegro festivo" by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1925 
22.
Klavierübung: Preludio "without the third finger, Moderato alla breve" by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1925 
23.
Klavierübung: Veloce e leggiero by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1925 
24.
Klavierübung: Veloce e leggiero by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1925 
25.
Klavierübung: Vivace moderato, con precisione by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1925 
26.
Klavierübung: Motive "Allegro risoluto" by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1925 
27.
Klavierübung: Allegro by Ferruccio Busoni
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1925 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Hamelin continues to impress; nay, flabbergast July 22, 2014 By Robert C. (Tucson, AZ) See All My Reviews "I continue to marvel at Marc-Andre Hamelin. Familiar music he makes new; unfamiliar, he makes welcoming. Busoni, for me, appeals more to the head than the heart (even the fires of the Piano Concerto only smolder sometimes). This recording makes the best case for this music I can imagine. I am starting to re-listen to it all for the third time; sometimes haunting, sometimes playful, sometimes aloof but always, (Hamelin has convinced me)always musical. Could Arkiv develop a Hamelin Plan - by joining (with your payment info of course) you automimatically get the new Hamelin when released - and older releases you might not have are readily available?" Report Abuse
 Review November 14, 2013 By S. Loughman (Fairfield East, NSW) See All My Reviews "Perhaps the Reviewer needs to do more research before writing; Gunnar Johansen recorded the complete Busoni piano music (including the Piano Concerto) many years back - he presented them on cassette so this illustrates the era in which they were presented. Nevertheless, Mr Hamelin's excellent interpretations are indeed superb." Report Abuse
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