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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Front illustration by Donya Claire James (b?)
Track(s) taken from CDA67275
Recording details: February 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: October 2001
Total duration: 3 minutes 48 seconds

'Hamelin's performances are a wonder of brilliance and refinement. The recordings are superb, Jeremy Nicholas's notes a mine of informative titbits. In Marc-André Hamelin Hyperion clearly has a pianist to turn other record companies green with envy' (Gramophone)

'This collection of virtuoso encores by mostly forgotten pianist-composers is simply sensational' (The Sunday Times)

'Twenty encore pieces for lovers of superhuman virtuosity' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Even if you are used to drawing your breath with incredulity at Hamelin's performances, you should tighten your seat-belt: This disc will make you gasp in amazement and roar in outraged laughter at the same time … the piano disc of the year, perfect in every aspect. Run out and buy it now' (Fanfare, USA)

'In latter times a new breed of pianist has appeared, the super-virtuoso for whom no technical challenge is too much. Chief of this tribe of metamusicians is the Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin, whose playing defies rational explanation … This is, in short, some of the most phenomenal playing you’ll ever hear' (Punch)

'Hamelin's refinement, jaw-dropping virtuosity and sense of sheer fun combine to make the whole lot both irresistible and simply unbelievable. With Hamelin around, who needs Horowitz?' (Piano, Germany)

Valse phantastique

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Edna Bentz Woods was an American composer and pianist married to an executive of the Aeolian Company, W Creary Woods. Apart from this snippet, a Duo-Art catalogue of about 1927 provides the sole source of information on the obscure composer of this charming work. From it we learn that Edna Bentz (the name under which her nine or so piano rolls were published) ‘has won success both in recitals of classical and romantic music and in the vaudeville field. She received an excellent musical training from some of the best teachers of America and Europe, among them Busoni and Egon Petri in Berlin, where she was studying when the Great War began. Her compositions number more than fifty pieces, and range from classical models to the most modern, syncopated dance music’.

The catalogue reveals that as well as several piano rolls of foxtrots for Duo-Art, Miss Bentz also recorded Busoni’s ‘All’ Italia!’ (the second of the six Elegien) for them. The Philadelphia publisher Theodore Presser issued several of her pieces, including the Valse Phantastique (1924), the score of which proclaims ‘As played by Mr Josef Hofmann’, who indeed made a piano roll of the work for Duo-Art.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2001

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