Please wait...

Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Reclining Female Nude (c1844/5) by Jean-François Millet (1814-1875)
Musée d'Orsay, Paris / Peter Willi / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67706
Recording details: March 2008
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: January 2009
Total duration: 21 minutes 39 seconds

'Though Hamelin has made many fabulous discs, particularly in repertoire of superhuman virtuosity, this is one of his very finest achievements to date' (Gramophone)

'Hamelin's impeccable pianism allows him to make light work of the most demanding passages. The first movement [Third Sonata] is as imposing as you would expect of a player renowned for his staggering virtuosity, but a solid framework also underpins moments of wonderful delicacy. Hamelin builds the Second Sonata just as unerringly, producing a poetic and passionate performance that is finally carried off on a spectral wind … Hyperion's new release adds up to a hugely satisfying Chopin recital' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Hamelin's fabulous, transcendental technique takes all the challenges of the treacherous keyboard writing in its stride … Hamelin's pianissimos have a wonderful purity and definition' (The Guardian)

'In the Op 27 Nocturnes his hesitations are masterly, while the Berceuse, the seductive opening track, shimmers with pensive beauty … an excellent excursion into standard repertoire for this adventurous pianist' (The Times)

'Chopin’s second and third piano sonatas lie at the heart of the Romantic piano literature, and Hamelin, a poet among virtuosos, brings sensibility and a brilliant technique in equal measure to this oft-recorded music … this is the Chopin of a true Romantic, spellbinding at its (considerable) best and superbly recorded' (The Sunday Times)

'This is Chopin playing of a superior kind in which a musician of penetrating intellect is able to observe every detail of these miraculous scores … this is a fine example of supreme technical skill at the service of musical poetry' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hamelin turns on the nightlight, emphasizing the music's poetry as Chopin's nearly elfin lyricism is the engine behind his music's unearthly beauty. Hamelin inhabits this music utterly, revealing a purely aesthetic ear that is not usually attributed to him. He allows each piece to unfold organically while shaping its broad outlines with a seductive lyrical poetry. Hamelin unfurls Chopin's elegant filigreed lines with ease while never losing the music's inner logic … these are world class Chopin performances' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'It has been a delight to see Marc-André Hamelin, who long explored the bravura fringes of the piano literature, work his way deeper into the standard repertory. The second volume of his survey of Haydn piano sonatas for Hyperion could just as easily have been listed here. Chopin, meanwhile, offers full scope not only for his bravura impulses (which he indulges lustily) but also for an astonishing lyrical gift that increasingly comes to light. The opening Berceuse in D flat is melting' (The New York Times)

Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor, Op 35
composer
third movement originally composed as a separate piece in 1837; completed in Nohant in 1839; published 1840; 'Funeral March' Sonata

Scherzo  [5'47]
Marche funèbre  [7'25]
Presto  [1'38]

Other recordings available for download
Artur Pizarro (piano)
Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Yakov Flier (piano)
Arthur de Greef (piano)
Percy Grainger (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Two years after composing the Op 27 Nocturnes, Chopin wrote a Marche funèbre (1837). It was shortly after his hopes of marriage to Teresa Wodzinska had been dashed, but perhaps we should be cautious about inferring too much from that. At any rate two years later, during the summer of 1839 (the first of the seven highly productive summers he spent at George Sand’s country estate at Nohant in the French provinces), he wrote a further three movements to complete his Piano Sonata No 2 in B flat minor Op 35. The work was published the following year (1840). This time Schumann was not so generous. His reference to the four movements as ‘four unruly children smuggled under this name into a place they could not otherwise have penetrated’ is intriguing. As a criticism it is hardly fair, criticizing Chopin for failing to achieve something that was never really in his sights, but at the same time it does point to what is really singular about this work. Of course it is possible to relate it to the historical archetype of the Austro-German sonata (the overall shape, with the funeral march following rather than preceding the scherzo, is close to Beethoven’s Op 26, a sonata that Chopin taught and played), but really Chopin was trying to create something quite different: a new kind of sonata, albeit based on the old kind. Essentially he used the sonata genre as a framework within which the achievements of his earlier music—the figurative patterns of the Études and Preludes, the cantilenas of the Nocturnes, and even the periodicity of the dance pieces—might be drawn together in a kind of synthesis.

It is possible, for example, to analyse the first movement as a sonata form with the inverted reprise that is so characteristic of Chopin (compare the Ballades). But equally it is possible to hear it as a double cycle where figurative patterns are followed by cantilenas. Moreover, just as Nocturnes are embedded in the first movement in this way, so another Nocturne is trapped within the Scherzo and yet another haunts the middle section of the funeral march. In neither of these inner movements does the central song feel like a natural outgrowth of the flanking sections. It remains remote from them, strengthening our impression of a series of contrasted, relatively self-contained musical worlds juxtaposed rather than smoothly joined. And in this reading the notorious finale assumes the character of a baroque-like Étude or Prelude (compare Nos 14 and 19 from the Op 28 Preludes). This in no way diminishes the powerful affective quality of the sequence, where the funeral march yields first to the detached, otherworldly song of its ‘trio’, and then to the disintegrative, harmonically elusive, and purposefully insubstantial finale. But it does reinforce (in a positive way) the gist of Schumann’s observation. The components of this work are formally separated, albeit thematically linked.

from notes by Jim Samson © 2009


Other albums featuring this work
'Arthur de Greef – Solo and concerto recordings' (APR7401)
Arthur de Greef – Solo and concerto recordings
MP3 £15.49FLAC £15.49ALAC £15.49 APR7401  Download only  
'Chopin: Piano Sonatas' (CKD250)
Chopin: Piano Sonatas
MP3 £8.00FLAC £10.00ALAC £10.00 CKD250  Download only  
'Chopin: Piano Sonatas Nos 2 & 3' (CDA30006)
Chopin: Piano Sonatas Nos 2 & 3
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £8.50 CDA30006  Hyperion 30th Anniversary series  
'Chopin: The Complete Works' (CDS44351/66)
Chopin: The Complete Works
MP3 £45.00FLAC £45.00ALAC £45.00Buy by post £50.00 CDS44351/66  16CDs Boxed set (at a special price)  
'Yakov Flier – Chopin, Kabalevsky & Rachmaninov' (APR5665)
Yakov Flier – Chopin, Kabalevsky & Rachmaninov
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5665  Download only  
'Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings' (APR7501)
Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings
MP3 £16.49FLAC £16.49ALAC £16.49 APR7501  Download only  
'Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 4 – Schumann, Schubert, Chopin & Liszt' (APR5574)
Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 4 – Schumann, Schubert, Chopin & Liszt
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5574  Download only  
'Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings' (APR6010)
Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6010  for the price of 1 — Download only  
'The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 2 – Alfred Grünfeld, Raoul Pugno & Natalia Janotha' (APR5532)
The Piano G & Ts, Vol. 2 – Alfred Grünfeld, Raoul Pugno & Natalia Janotha
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 APR5532  Download only  
'Vladimir Horowitz – The complete solo European recordings' (APR6004)
Vladimir Horowitz – The complete solo European recordings
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6004  for the price of 1 — Download only  
'Hyperion monthly sampler – April 2014' (HYP201404)
Hyperion monthly sampler – April 2014
MP3 £0.00FLAC £0.00ALAC £0.00 FREE DOWNLOAD HYP201404  Download-only monthly sampler  

Show: MP3 FLAC ALAC
   English   Français   Deutsch