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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: 21 minutes 22 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 G major, Hob XVIII:4
composer
published in 1784 by Boyer; 1st and 2nd movement cadenzas by Marc-André Hamelin (b1961)

Allegro  [9'19]
Adagio  [7'48]
Rondo: Presto  [4'15]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
While there is no firm evidence, the Concerto in G major, Hob XVIII:4, probably dates from a few years later than the F major. What we do know is that it was played at the Concert spirituel in Paris by the famous blind Viennese pianist Maria Theresia von Paradis (1759–1824) in the spring of 1784, and published shortly afterwards (with inauthentic added parts for oboes and horns) by the firm of Boyer. Later the same year Mozart would compose his Piano Concerto in B flat major, K456, for Paradis.

With its lean scoring for strings alone, Haydn’s concerto has none of Mozart’s melodic and colouristic richness. Paradis may even have found it slightly old-fashioned by the standards of 1784. Yet on its own terms it is a delightful, inventive work, more memorable in its ideas and more adventurous in its keyboard writing than the F major. The powerful modulating sequences at the centre of the opening Allegro recall the sonatas and fantasias of C P E Bach, which Haydn studied avidly after they circulated in Vienna in the mid-1760s. Strings are muted for the florid, rhapsodic C major Adagio, capped by a touching little orchestral coda. But the most arresting movement is the rondo finale, full of Haydnesque zest and wit (the refrain keeps popping up in unscripted keys), and one of his earliest flirtations with the Hungarian gypsy style.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2013

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