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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 49 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)

Polka de W R
composer
Lachtäuben 'The little laughing dove'; originally thought to be by Vassily (Wassily) Rachmaninov
arranger
March 1911

Other recordings available for download
Howard Shelley (piano)
Simon Barere (piano)
Simon Barere (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Rachmaninov’s father Wassili (or Vassili) was a good amateur pianist (his paternal grandfather, Arkadi, had studied piano with John Field, inventor of the nocturne). Amongst Wassili’s repertoire was a simple polka which he frequently played to the amusement of his talented son. Clearly under the impression that it was a piece his father had written, Rachmaninov composed this deliciously knowing arrangement of the polka in 1911, entitling it Polka de W.R.—(W)assili (R)achmaninov—with a dedication to Leopold Godowsky.

In fact, the polka that Rachmaninov père et fils enjoyed was the Scherzpolka or Turtle Dove Polka, Op 303, by Franz Behr, many of whose numerous other salon works appeared under the pseudonyms of Georges Bachmann, William Cooper, Charles Morley and Francesco d’Orso. Though the middle (B flat) section of the Scherzpolka is not used by Rachmaninov, with Behr’s theme transposed from F major to A flat and an original counter­melody to accompany the return of the main theme, the Polka de W.R. is as much a transcription as others by Rachmaninov (Kreisler’s Liebesfreud and Liebesleid, for instance) and, as such, should properly be designated ‘Behr-Rachmaninov’.

Rachmaninov himself made one piano roll and three disc recordings of the Polka (1919, 1921 and 1928).

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2001


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'Simon Barere – His celebrated live recordings at Carnegie Hall, Vol. 5 – Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 & appendices' (APR5625)
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'Rachmaninov: The Transcriptions' (CDH55458)
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