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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67433
Recording details: June 2003
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: June 2004
Total duration: 6 minutes 58 seconds

'Everything on this remarkable disc is played with a nonchalant aplomb and magical dexterity hard to imagine from any other pianist. Hamelin … is in his element, and he has been immaculately recorded' (Gramophone)

'The music is full of virtuosity which Marc-André handles effortlessly' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Beautifully recorded, the disc is a delightful—and, as ever, distinguished—addition to Hamelin's discography as well as a major boost to the reputation of one of today's most paradoxical composers. One for the Christmas stocking, I think' (International Record Review)

'Exceptionally well-played and recorded' (The Times)

'Hamelin is one of Kapustin's strongest advocates and proves his perfect interpreter: super cool, he sounds utterly laid-back even in the most fearsome rhythmic traps; his phrasing is exquisitely turned and 'finished'; and his affection for the music shines out in every note. Hear this and you'll be hooked' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hamelin captures a quality of spontaneity, not to mention sheer agility and elegance, with awesome fluency. A remarkable release in every respect' (Fanfare, USA)

'Hamelin is one of the most gifted pianists around at the moment, and his playing here has such light and shade, wit, nuance, and blinding virtuosity that it is hard to imagine finer performances of this terrific repertoire. The recording is characteristic of Hyperion's piano sound at its considerable best. All in all, one of the most enjoyable piano discs I have heard in ages. Recommended with unquenchable enthusiasm!' (International Piano)

'Marc-André Hamelin simply flies through the music, ignoring any technical difficulties with the most marvellous command and virtuosity … in all, this second disc of Kapustin's marvellous music from Hyperion is the most exceptionally satisfying discovery' (Hi-Fi Plus)

'Hamelin plays with all his trademark virtuosity and nimble wit, making the keyboard thunder and sing' (San Francisco Chronicle)

'Chapeau évidemment à cet incroyable Marc-André Hamelin dont la technique époustouflante s'adapte à tous les genres musicaux. Précipitez-vous pour acquérir cet événement discographique et découvrir cette musique sans pareil. Pour notre part, nous l'avons écoutée une bonne dizaine de fois pour bien nous convaincre de la réjouissante folie du dénommé Kapustin!' (Répertoire, France)

Variations, Op 41
composer
1984

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Variations, Op 41 (1984) encompass Kapustin’s style in microcosm. A brief introduction leads into a thirty-two-bar theme in D flat major that moves between a jazzed-up rendition of the solo bassoon motive that opens Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps (‘the rite of swing’, if you will!) and a descending, bluesy gesture. Kapustin subjects the Stravinsky-derived theme to subtle rhythmic displacements within and over the barlines. The steady medium swing tempo is implied more than overtly stated. In the first variation the right hand’s fragmented lines and aphoristic, Count Basie-like chordal punctuations are in constant dialogue with the left hand’s walking and talking bass rejoinders. There are also anchoring moments of steady chordal ‘comping’ that support longer lines in both hands. The steady stream of right-hand semiquavers concluding this variation dovetail into the next one, building up to some grandly swinging, full-bodied piano writing that Erroll Garner would recognize as his own. An eleven-bar interlude with darting, be-boppish lines over a walking bass sets the stage for a change of key and a quick, skittish variation in 3/4 time. All this activity winds down in another transition, this time introducing a Larghetto minor-key variation evoking Kapustin’s Russian romantic pedigree, capped by a brief cadenza that plunges right into the concluding Presto: a rollicking pair of variations jam-packed with quicksilver passagework and scintillating stride piano.

from notes by Jed Distler © 2004

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