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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67925
Recording details: October 2012
Palais Montcalm, Québec, Canada
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon & Robert-Eric Gaskell
Release date: April 2013
Total duration: 20 minutes 18 seconds

'Hamelin challenges the benchmark recordings for supremacy … the cadenzas are among the special joys of this new recording … almost worth the price of the disc' (Gramophone)

'Pianist Marc-André Hamelin and Les Violons du Roy play the gypsy rondo of the D major Concerto with irresistible verve … the finale of the G major Concerto is a dazzling piece too … Hamelin's showmanship and the eloquence of his slow movements is an added bonus' (BBC Music Magazine)

'I am bowled over … it is as though we are getting the best possible compromise between the shimmering timbre of the harpsichord and the rather grander majestic sweep of the modern piano, all bound together eruditely by Hamelin … the players of Les Violons du Roy show supreme tightness and fizz in their dispatch of the rapid-bowed figures and yet are as soft as a feather duster when placing chords in the slower movements … Olympian power, authority, consistency and finesse' (International Record Review)

'Hamelin's songful legato in the F major's largo cantabile and bravura in the presto finales make the strongest possible cases for these works, and I don't know a more exhilarating account of the D major' (The Sunday Times)

'Hamelin's masterly control to every little note shows itself to full advantage. This disc offers serious competition … Les Violons du Roy are as lively and as rhythmically solid as Hamelin' (Pianist)

Piano Concerto in F major, Hob XVIII:3
composer
probably circa 1765/7; first published by Breitkopf in 1771; 1st and 2nd movement cadenzas by Marc-André Hamelin (b1961)

Allegro  [8'42]
Largo cantabile  [7'49]
Presto  [3'47]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Probably composed around 1765–7, the Concerto in F major, Hob XVIII:3, appeared in the catalogue of the publisher Breitkopf (not yet united with Härtel) in 1771, though Haydn does not seem to have been consulted, and earned nothing from the edition. Sixteen years later, the Paris firm of Le Duc issued the work, this time with the composer’s authority, as ‘Concerto Pour le Clavecin [Harpsichord] ou Piano-Forte, avec Accompagnement de deux Violons, Alto et Basse’. By 1787 the ‘piano-forte’—i.e. fortepiano—was usurping the harpsichord in salons and concert halls, and publishers of keyboard music were careful to keep the options open.

If the F major Concerto’s spry opening Allegro contains relatively few Haydnesque surprises, it carries the listener along with its energy and confident sense of direction. There are some piquant contrasts of major and minor (a ploy Haydn may have picked up from Wagenseil’s sonatas and concertos), and a long, modulating central development where the ubiquitous moto perpetuo keyboard figuration builds to an impassioned climax. The C major Largo cantabile is a wordless operatic aria designed to display the player’s ‘taste’ (an eighteenth-century buzzword) and feeling, the finale a fetching contredanse with scintillating toccata-style keyboard figuration.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2013

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