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Track(s) taken from CDA67951/3

Fantasia after J S Bach, BV253

composer
1909

Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
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Recording details: January 1998
Abbey Road Studios, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: November 2013
Total duration: 13 minutes 37 seconds

Cover artwork: Materia (1912) by Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916)
Private Collection / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
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Marc-André Hamelin (piano)

Reviews

'Works where Busoni found his truest voice … Hamelin, playing with unfaltering lucidity and authority, achieves an astonishing triumph even by his exalted standards. As always, Hyperion has done him proud … an album that could never be bettered' (Gramophone)» More

'Marc-André Hamelin’s performance of the Busoni Piano Concerto for Hyperion is one of the finest ever recorded of that mammoth work, and now he has produced what is arguably the most important collection of the solo piano music since Geoffrey Douglas Madge’s epic six-disc survey for Philips in 1987 … All the most significant works are here … Hamelin includes some rarities Madge omitted, notably Busoni’s first foray into 'Red Indian’ music, the spellbinding Indianisches Erntelied (not published till 2001) … As to the performances, they are all you could hope from a player of such quality, laced with repertoire he might have been born to interpret. This is playing of a very high order, such as—despite the now numerous competing versions of the Elegies, Sonatinas and Toccata—one seldom hears. Hamelin is well-nigh ideal in sensitivity of phrasing, clarity of tone and delineation of voices, not to mention subtlety of pedalling … He reminds you that you are listening to one of history’s greatest piano composers, a philosopher of the piano to whose ear and mind the whole of European concert music seems to have been continually present. A fabulous set, almost beyond praise' (BBC Music Magazine)» More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

'What comes through on listening to Hamelin is the underlying consistency of his approach over this music as a whole and, above all, the singularity of Busoni's musical vision and its relevance to composers and pianists almost a century on' (International Record Review)

'Few pianists have the time and technique to devote to music that is so little-known. Marc-André Hamelin is the shining exception. He demonstrated his Busoni credentials more than a decade ago with an outstanding account of the Piano Concerto … Hamelin handles all with great intelligence. There's a swagger when the music demands it, a fabulously refined sense of sonority and transparency when required. The technical challenges are surmounted so effortlessly that you begin to take the confidence of his playing for granted, when in fact it's a remarkable achievement' (The Guardian)» More

'The gift I'd choose for myself would be Marc-André Hamelin's magisterial three-disc survey of Busoni's later piano music—elusive and haunting material from a pivotal figure' (The Times)» More

'Hyperion does Busoni a great service in issuing this magnificent three-disc box. Those readers who know Busoni mainly (or only) via his transcriptions will have a whole new world revealed to them. Hamelin, one of today’s super-virtuosos but also a musician of the highest rank, seems to be the ideal interpreter, and is captured throughout in superb sound' (International Piano)» More

'This three-CD set presents Marc-André Hamelin, another formidable pianist, in Busoni works from the first quarter of the 20th century. The music draws from the heritage of Bach, Liszt and Wagner, while taking modern paths and anticipating atonality. Even when a particular piece seems amorphous or elusive, these elegies, fantasias, sonatinas and more are continually fascinating, especially in Mr. Hamelin’s commanding performances' (The New York Times)

'Hamelin's recent release of three CDs devoted to the late piano music of Ferruccio Busoni represents another milestone in an outstanding career … These three discs contain a number of pieces not previously recorded and also include a sampling of the numerous Bach arrangements Busoni is best known for. The programming is exemplary, the sound is alluring (from a Steinway piano recorded in London’s Henry Wood Hall) and the program notes are excellent. Bravo Hamelin!' (The Whole Note, Canada)

'L’impeccable virtuosité de Marc-André Hamelin se joue des pièges recélés par ces redoutables partitions; sa quête faustienne, à la fois analytique et méditée, assume la dimension philosophique quasi médiévale de cette alchimie sonore et nous en livre une référence absolue' (Classica, France)
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

‘Marc-André Hamelin gelingt, alle Facetten in exzellenten Interpretationen darzustellen … seiner qualitativ hochwertigen Edition der Klaviermusik von Ferruccio Busoni dürfte deshalb über eine lange Zeit der Referenzstatus sicher sein' (Piano, Germany)
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING
In May 1909, a few months before the death of his mother, Busoni had lost his father. In his memory the son created an original work, poised and noble in tone, out of three organ pieces by Bach: Busoni’s way of thanking his father for an early introduction to the music of a composer he had been championing for years. The Fantasia after J S Bach (by ‘Bach-Busoni’, as the composer is identified on the cover page) is the first of his works that can be called a Nachdichtung—a work resulting from such a free transcription or adaptation of a model that it becomes original and independent in its own right. Following an improvisatory-like introduction in the low register leading to a more chromatic theme, Busoni offers his piano versions of the first, second and seventh sections from the chorale partita Christ, der du bist der helle Tag, BWV766. He also amplifies the fughetta on Gottes Sohn ist kommen, BWV703 (from the Kirnberger chorale settings), as well as the chorale prelude Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott, BWV602 (from the Orgelbüchlein).

from notes by Marc-André Roberge © 2013

En mai 1909, quelques mois avant la mort de sa mère, Busoni perdait son père. À sa mémoire le fils a créé une œuvre originale de ton calme et noble, à partir de trois pièces pour orgue de Bach, pour le remercier de lui avoir fait découvrir tôt la musique d’un compositeur dont il allait se faire le champion pendant des années. La Fantasia nach J. S. Bach (par «Bach-Busoni», comme la couverture identifie le compositeur) est la première de ses œuvres que l’on peut appeler une Nachdichtung, soit le résultat d’une transcription ou adaptation si libre d’un modèle qu’elle devient originale et entièrement indépendante. Après une introduction de type improvisatoire dans le registre grave qui mène à un thème plus chromatique, Busoni propose ses versions pour piano des première, deuxième et septième sections de la partita chorale Christ, der du bist der helle Tag, BWV766. Il amplifie aussi la fughetta sur Gottes Sohn ist kommen, BWV703 (tirée des chorals Kirnberger) ainsi que le prélude de choral Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott, BWV602 (tiré de l’Orgelbüchlein).

extrait des notes rédigées par Marc-André Roberge © 2013

Im Mai 1909, wenige Monate vor dem Tod seiner Mutter, hatte Busoni seinen Vater verloren. Zu seinem Andenken komponierte der Sohn ein originelles Werk mit einem souveränen und noblen Gestus, dem drei Orgelwerke von Bach zugrunde liegen—auf diese Weise dankte Busoni seinem Vater, dass er ihn schon so früh an die Musik eines Komponisten herangeführt hatte, für den er sich viele Jahre lang engagiert hatte. Die Fantasia nach J. S. Bach (von „Bach-Busoni“, wie es auf der Titelseite heißt) ist das erste seiner Werke, das als Nachdichtung bezeichnet werden kann. Nach einer improvisatorisch anmutenden Einleitung in tiefer Lage, die zu einem eher chromatischen Thema hinleitet, lässt Busoni seine Klavier-Versionen des ersten, zweiten und siebten Abschnitts der Choralpartita Christ, der du bist der helle Tag, BWV766, erklingen. Zudem erweitert er die Fughetta über Gottes Sohn ist kommen, BWV703 (aus den Kirnberger-Chorälen), und das Choralvorspiel Lob sei dem allmächtigen Gott, BWV602 (aus dem Orgelbüchlein).

aus dem Begleittext von Marc-André Roberge © 2013
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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