Hyperion Records

Theme and variations 'Cathy's Variations'

'Hamelin: Études' (CDA67789)
Hamelin: Études
Part 1: Theme: Con semplicità, eleganza e tenerezza
Part 2: Variation 1: Più mosso, corrente
Part 3: Variation 2: L'istesso tempo, ma cantabile
Part 4: Variation 3: Molto più moderato, poco rubato
Part 5: Variation 4: Poco animato ma cantabile e senza prestezza
Part 6: Envoi: A capriccio

Theme and variations 'Cathy's Variations'
The Theme and Variations is purely the work of a man in love, and it was inspired by my fiancée Cathy Fuller, my true soulmate, who fascinates me more with each passing day. As a matter of fact, the theme is meant to be a portrait of her, something that I’d never had the idea of attempting before. I will always remember the day I first played this piece for her as one of the happiest in my life.

Save perhaps for the slightly naughty inclusion of a meaningful French folksong somewhere in the texture during the coda, there are no motivic allusions or musical codes à la Robert and Clara. The music is as pure and loving as I knew how to make it, though in the instance of variation 3, the composer-pianist in me couldn’t resist welding the theme to an extended passage from the last movement of Beethoven’s Sonata in E major Op 109, one of Cathy’s favourite pieces, by the one composer she could never do without.

from notes by Marc-André Hamelin © 2010

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