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Hyperion Records

SACDA67508 - Rubinstein & Scharwenka: Piano Concertos

Recording details: February 2005
Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: October 2005
Total duration: 59 minutes 11 seconds


'Described by one respected critic as the greatest living pianist, Marc-André Hamelin soars to ever new heights of virtuosity … Hamelin is superbly partnered and recorded, and lovers of lush, romantic melody embellished with hundreds and thousands of winking sequins need look no further' (Gramophone Magazine)

'Marc-André Hamelin gives a dazzling account' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Hamelin's legendary technique thrills at every turn, and in the Rubinstein his scorching virtuosity and emotional intensity mesmerises from beginning to end. Anyone who loves Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninov should investigate this stunning disc without delay!' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Rubinstein's Fourth Concerto can hold its own against Tchaikovsky's infinitely better known First and, on the strength of this recording, deserves to regain a place in the classical repertoire. There is musical swagger, pathos, poetry and heroism in both of the works couple on this album' (Music Week)

'Hamelin, who makes out the best possible case for the music, is now the version to have. In any case, his many admirers will flock, and rightly, to acquire this excellently recorded disc of two fairly unfamiliar concertos which, whatever their virtues and failings, provide ideal vehicles for Hamelin's abundant talents' (International Record Review)

'We have been in need of a modern recording by a pianist of the stature of Hamelin who can deliver Rubinstein's passion, impetuosity, quick changes of mood, and technical demands with ease. He gives a performance of the last movement that is so rousing that it has never sounded so convincing on disc … an excellent disc that is highly recommended' (International Piano)

'This will appeal to experts as well as those who only know, say, the Rachmaninov or Tchaikovsky concertos. Another fabulous disc (and as usual excellent sleeve-notes). Rolls-Royce stuff' (HMV Choice)

'Virtuoso repertoire, virtuoso playing—there's breathtaking snap and clarity to the rhythms, imposing weight to the climaxes … surely one of the peaks of Hyperion's 'Romantic Piano Concerto' series. All in all, urgently recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

Rubinstein & Scharwenka: Piano Concertos

Hyperion’s Record of the Month for October—surely the Romantic Piano Concerto recording of the decade—will have pianophiles the world over in raptures.

These two works are undoubtedly the greatest of the forgotten concertos we have not previously tackled and have been much requested. Both were written by hugely successful virtuoso pianists who were also composers, and both had a major place in the nineteenth-century repertoire, only falling from favour in the 1920s as modernism found its place in the concert hall.

There have been great recordings of each in the past so we waited until we could be sure of making superlative versions before committing them to the series. With Marc-André’s involvement this was sure to be special, and we have not been disappointed—his startling virtuosity can be taken for granted, but here there is also an adrenalin-fuelled excitement which is rarely captured in studio performances and which is guaranteed to involve even the most casual listener. Conductor Michael Stern (son of Isaac) fully enters into the spirit and does magnificent things with the BBCSSO in what is his first Hyperion recording.

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