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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67476/7
Recording details: August 2004
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: April 2005
Total duration: 16 minutes 0 seconds

'Here is the most immaculate, effortless and refined of all Iberias. Where others fight to stay afloat, Marc-André Hamelin rides the crest of every formidable wave with nonchalant ease and poetry … Hamelin's Albéniz [on the other hand], proudly but nonchalantly, raises a new and astonishing standard' (Gramophone)

'Hamelin again achieves the almost physically impossible with seeming ease. Albéniz's multiple layers are finely balanced, and apparently awkward textures come to life in a lucid acoustic with pace, grace and a constant sense of dance' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Marc-André Hamelin has a wonderful feel for this music. He has a rhythmic play and sense of chord-balancing that enriches the textures. His most beautiful and lyrical playing occurs in the languid, intimate passages, where one is carried away from the everyday' (American Record Guide)

'Simply put, this is now the recording of choice. Hamelin has a reputation as a super-virtuoso—'jaw-dropping' is one of the favourite adjectives used to describe his technique. It's certainly a well-deserved reputation … Hamelin uses his unparalleled technique not to revel in the music's difficulties but to transcend them; and at his best he offers artistic subtlety where lesser pianists offer little more than gymnastic sweat and strain' (International Record Review)

'Albéniz infused his writing with the flamboyant rhythms and anguished melodies of flamenco, and Hamelin captures the authentic accent while dispatching the notes with astonishing technical bravura and outstanding musicianship. He may not replace de Larrocha, but all who love this music will want to add his interpretations to their collections' (The Sunday Times)

'Rarely has this music's intricate patternings been so subtly exposed, and the recording captures Hamelin's distinctive sonority to a tee' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Marc-André Hamelin's [recordings] all attest to a virtuoso technique and an inquiring musical mind second to none on today's concert, recital, and recording platforms. He brings no less in artistic commitment to Albéniz and to this kaleidoscopically colourful music. Strongly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'There's plenty of technical brilliance to marvel at in Marc-André Hamelin's performances. In quieter, slower music—the very first piece Evocacion is one instance—he offers a lovely, appositely dark-hued singing tone along with an array of delicate shades' (The Evening Standard)

'Mr Hamelin commands an enormous range of touch and expression. He is as comfortable in the languid meanderings of Evocación as in the pointed dance rhythms of Rondeña and he modulates between such extremes with utter fluency. As part of this far-reaching sensibility, Mr Hamelin is always alert to atmosphere, which is everything in this music' (The New York Times)

La vega
composer

La vega  [16'00]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
La vega was originally intended to be part of a suite entitled The Alhambra, based on a set of poems by Albéniz’s English friend and patron Francis Burdett Money-Coutts. La vega presents two distinctive themes: the opening section is loosely based on the Andalusian petenera and exudes a brooding melancholy. The middle section, however, is more buoyant and evokes the jota, a dance native to Aragon in the north of Spain. Albéniz wrote of La vega to a friend that ‘What I have composed is the entire plain of Granada, contemplated from the Alhambra’.

from notes by Walter Aaron Clark © 2005

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