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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: 11 minutes 8 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)

Piano Sonata No 6, Op 62

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Sonata No 6, Op 62, was written in the summer of 1911 after the completion of ‘Prometheus’. Scriabin never played it in public; he considered it ‘frightening … dark and mysterious, impure, dangerous’. There is no programme, but a surreal vision is implied in the exotic performance directions: ‘Expansion of mysterious forces … all becomes charm and sweetness … winged, swirling … the Terrifying One arises, she joins in the delirious dance.’ The musical language has moved into the late period: in the words of Scriabin’s opening directions, it is ‘mysterious, concentrated’—tonality has receded into the far background.

Chromatically altered harmonies, like the ‘Promethean’ chord introduced in the Fifth Sonata, are uncompromisingly used as stable consonances. The range of expression has correspondingly expanded into an area of other-worldly mystery: Scriabin, like Richard Strauss after the composition of Elektra a couple of years earlier, was alarmed by the possibilities he had opened up. A transformation of piano sonority has taken place, ranging from monolithic chordal writing at the beginning through weightless, fluttering airborne impulses to an arching theme of boundless sensuality, which is developed in a passage of extreme textural luxuriance with motives and themes mingling in a multi-layered perspective. The final dance, which takes the dances of the Fourth and Fifth Sonatas into a new dimension of febrile hyperactivity, exceeds the range of the keyboard with an unprecedented top D. An anchor for the listener is provided by clear elements of recapitulation, but structure is seamless and the whole gives the impression of following the inscrutable logic of a dream.

from notes by Simon Nicholls © 1996

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