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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67131/2
Recording details: June 1995
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: March 1996
Total duration: 8 minutes 56 seconds

'He commands the four qualities that a Scriabin interpreter must have: a feverish intensity, a manic vision, a sovereign and fastidious command of the pedal, and a huge dynamic range' (Gramophone)

'Hamelin rises to the challenges of this music with complete mastery. But his is more than a purely technical triumph (though the effortless of his playing has to be heard to be believed)' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is one of the most significant Scriabin recordings of recent years, as well as another triumph for Hamelin, who reveals as much affinity for this Russian mystic as he has for Alkan, Godowsky, Ives, and Bolcom on earlier discs … Two more favorable elements must be noted: Hyperion's spacious and vivid recorded sound, and a really superb set of booklet notes by Simon Nicholls' (American Record Guide)

'Hamelin's playing enthralls the ear with its rounded, never-ugly tone, flickering fingerwork, and thunderous power. A sensational issue in every sense' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hamelin's playing has superb authority and presence, and when required the greatest delicacy too. His amazing technical skill is completely at the service of the music. This is a major release' (Classic CD)

'Hamelin's revelatory cycle of the Scriabin sonatas takes top honors rather easily … a vein that's rarely been mined—and never with such virtuoso perfection. The more you think you know about these scores, the more striking you're liable to find this set' (Fanfare, USA)

'Marc-André Hamelin is the most important interpreter of Scriabin's music to have come along in decades' (Clavier)

'Il a les doigts et la sensibilité, la clairvoyance aussi, qui lui permettent de trouver un lyrisme généreux' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

Fantaisie, Op 28

Fantaisie Op 28  [8'56]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
As a substantial single sonata-form movement the Fantaisie in B minor, Op 28 (1900), bridges the gap between the Third and Fourth Sonatas as the only piano piece of any length written during Scriabin’s professorship. A popular work with Russian pianists—Scriabin is central to the Russian repertoire—its existence was forgotten by the composer. When Sabaneiev started to play one of its themes on the piano in Scriabin’s Moscow flat (now a museum), Scriabin called out from the next room, ‘Who wrote that? It sounds familiar.’ ‘Your Fantasy’, was the response. ‘What Fantasy?’

The virtuosic style is close to that of the Third Sonata. The brooding opening gives way to one of Scriabin’s inspired, soaring and consoling second subjects whose flight is sustained for twenty-six bars. Noticeable here are the touches of canonic treatment. The third theme is close in its massive confidence and chromatic harmony to the world of ‘The Divine Poem’—the Third Symphony, finished in 1904. The recapitulation is hugely expanded and rescored, an early attempt to deal with something mentioned many years later by Scriabin’s brother-in-law Boris de Schloezer: ‘Neither musically nor psychologically can anything justify a near-literal repetition, which causes a painful drop in tension.’ Scriabin addressed the problem more successfully in his piano works than in the orchestral ‘Divine Poem’ and ‘Poem of Ecstasy’; the emotional line rides on through a long coda, a device used later in the Seventh Sonata. But as he moved into the middle and later periods of his music his means of variation were to become both more subtle and more drastic.

from notes by Simon Nicholls © 1996

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