MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN (b.1961): 12 Études in all the minor keys, Little Nocturne, Theme and Variations (Cathy's Variations), from Con intimissimo sentimento: Ländler I, Album Leaf, Music Box, After Pergolesi, Berceuse (in tempore belli).
Catalogue Number: 09M094
Reference: CDA 67789
Description: Hamelin's set of 12 études are studies in the sense of Godowsky's astonishing recreations of Chopin; displays of the utmost refinement of piano technique and pianistic imagination, and simultaneously, engaging character-pieces brimming with wit, bravura excitement, and no small amount of quirky humour. Technically they emphasize complete finger-independence and clarity even within the most complex, teeming note-swarms. Some are recreations of other composers' music from Hamelin's vast repertoire, such as the contrapuntally ingenious combination of three Chopin études, or that of two by Alkan (with the intrusion of a third along the way); the left-hand study-transcription of a song by Tchaikovsky, the affectionate Rossini transcription-parody and Scarlatti pastiche. Others are original compositions, dovetailing perfectly with their companions in their æsthetic approach to the extension of piano technique in a tonal, harmonically rich, chromatically contrapuntal idiom. The other pieces avoid such hair-raising exhibitions of virtuoso mécanique (though the same pianistic devices and preoccupations are constantly in evidence, underlying the consistency and compositional sincerity of Hamelin's style), in wistful miniatures from his 'Con intimissimo sentimento' collection and Nocturne, and the Variations - tender and affectionate, though by no means simplistic nor lacking contrapuntal sophistication. Marc-André Hamelin (piano).