Hamelin plays Hamelin: a glimpse into the fabulously bizarre musical mind of one of the greatest piano virtuosos of today. The pianophile population has been clamouring for this disc for some time.
Marc-André Hamelin’s 12 Études, written over a period of nearly twenty-five years, have already achieved cult status by reputation as pianistic challenges beyond the reach of most human fingers. They are also highly-wrought character pieces. That they will immediately take their place in the concert repertoire of any pianist who thinks themself equal to them is indicated by their contemporaenous publication by Peters Edition New York.
The disc is completed by more of Hamelin’s compositions: the quiet and reflective Con intissimo sentimento, and the lovepoem ‘Cathy’s Variations’. As a whole it is a detailed portrait of this most talented and complex musician.
“Marc-André Hamelin has long been astonishing the musical world with his superhuman performances of the great virtuoso pianist/composers. Here he plays pieces he’s composed himself in the same style. The simpler pieces are affecting” The Telegraph, 2nd September 2010 ***
“Hamelin the composer has the same kind of tact and imagination that Hamelin the pianist does...there's so much harmonic and contrapuntal interest in these works, so much sheer joie de vivre, such evident love for the instrument and its history, and such consistent wit...that even music lovers who disdain virtuoso excess are likely to be seduced.” International Record Review, October 2010
“Hamelin's original etudes...with their blend of tasteful lyricism and striking textures and harmonies, are as enjoyable as his homages...While brashly flaunting his influences (Gershwin, Poulenc, Rachmaninov), he sounds utterly individual. Of course, the composer makes all the technical difficulties sound easy to play in these vividly recorded performances.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2010 *****
“...some of the most witty, charming, entertaining and devastatingly effective piano music of [his] generation...sophisticated yet accessible at the same time...no piano music lover can afford to miss it.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010
“a refreshingly cool antidote to those pianists who treat the technical challenges in Liszt's piano writing as an end in themselves. Hamelin takes everything in his stride immaculately, whether it's the unfolding of the contrapuntal lines in the B-A-C-H Fantasy and Fugue or the fine-spun melodies of the Bénédiction de Dieu dans la Solitude, both superbly presented” The Guardian, 24th March 2011 ****