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Hyperion Records

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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: 30 minutes 8 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 3 in B minor, Op 58
composer
1844

Allegro maestoso  [12'44]
Largo  [9'43]

Other recordings available for download
Artur Pizarro (piano)
Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Stephen Hough (piano)
Lev Oborin (piano)
Percy Grainger (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor Op 58 was the last of Chopin’s three piano sonatas, written in 1844 during the years of his full maturity as a composer, and in contrast to the ‘Sonata funèbre’ it moves closer to conformity with both the formal and the generic archetypes of what was already becoming recognized as German sonata-symphonic thought. It is as though having come to terms with the four-movement sonata in Op 35, approaching it obliquely by way of the familiar ‘Chopin genres’ of the early 1830s, the composer now felt able to tackle this weighty genre on its own terms. This is apparent in the close-knit motivic argument—the developing variation—of the first movement, and in the measured tread—late Beethoven, late Schubert—of the slow movement. There are some parallels with Op 35, including the sequence of the inner movements where the scherzo precedes the slow movement, and again the inverted reprise of the first movement, but in most respects the two works are poles apart. The outer movements point up the contrast. There could be nothing further from the elliptical, understated finale of Op 35 than the grandiloquent sonata rondo with which Op 58 races, or rather gallops, to its bravura coda. This at least is a more conventional way to end a sonata! As for the first movement, this presents us with a much more closely argued thematicism than its counterpart in Op 35. The principal theme is strong and distinctive, but it is quickly broken down into motivic-contrapuntal working in a process of continuous development and transformation that then characterizes much of the movement. Considerable heads of tension are built up by this process, both in the exposition and in the development, and it is the function of the Nocturne-like second theme—one of Chopin’s happiest inspirations—to resolve them.

from notes by Jim Samson © 2009


Other albums featuring this work
'Moriz Rosenthal – The complete recordings' (APR7503)
Moriz Rosenthal – The complete recordings
'Chopin: Ballades & Sonata No 3' (CDH55182)
Chopin: Ballades & Sonata No 3
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55182  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Chopin: Late Masterpieces' (CDA67764)
Chopin: Late Masterpieces
'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)  
'Lev Oborin – Beethoven, Chopin & Liszt' (APR5668)
Lev Oborin – Beethoven, Chopin & Liszt
'Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings' (APR7501)
Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings
'Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 4 – Schumann, Schubert, Chopin & Liszt' (APR5574)
Alfred Cortot – The Late Recordings, Vol. 4 – Schumann, Schubert, Chopin & Liszt

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