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Track(s) taken from CDA67656

Prelude and Fugue


Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Recording details: July 2007
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: April 2008
Total duration: 3 minutes 42 seconds

Cover artwork: Front illustration by Julie Doucet (b?)


'Played with such astounding agility and aplomb that you end up mesmerised by virtually every bar. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that no other pianist could approach Hamelin in such music. Notes pour and cascade like diamonds from his fingers and he has an inborn flair for the music's wild, free-wheeling melodies and rhythms, for its glittering whimsy and caprice … superbly presented and recorded, this is a special addition to Hamelin's towering and unique discography' (Gramophone)

'Although this fine recording is entitled 'In a state of jazz' it includes no true jazz—every note is written down—but for all that it bursts with the daring vitality that is the hallmark of the best improvised music' (The Observer)

'The Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin possesses one of those musical brains that spark with maddening brilliance in whatever direction takes his fancy … it's hard to believe Hamelin didn't grow up within earshot of some dubious jazz haunt in New Orleans or Harlem … as Hamelin explains in his enjoyably lucid booklet notes, Gulda's astonishing pianistic pedigree deserves to be seen in a far wider context … Hamelin's evocations of these are wonderfully whimsical yet as crisp as celery. The syncopations 'sit' so comfortably under his fingers—exactly the right balance between ambition and restraint, warmth and edge—a pretty rare commodity in the performance of classical repertoire, let alone jazz-inspired music … this is a lovely, lovely disc; I highly recommend it' (International Record Review)

'Hamelin plays with such dexterous panache that he puts back much of the heat that the formalisation of jazz as 'composition' removes … dazzling and enchanting' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Nikolai Kapustin's remarkable Sonata No 2 is a convincing integration of classical form with jazz. Alexis Weissenberg's Sonate en état de Jazz, which evokes tango, Charleston, blues and samba in its four movements, is more idiosyncratic but no less dazzling' (The Scotsman)

'What an imaginative program Marc-André Hamelin has assembled: jazz-inspired works that are virtuosic like nobody's business and totally fun to listen to … technically, of course, Hamelin is beyond reproach … he's a serious contender for the first word in piano playing' (Classics Today)
The Prelude and Fugue has the interesting distinction of having been played and recorded by none other than Keith Emerson, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, on the album Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends. The swinging arpeggio patterns of the prelude pave the way for a highly syncopated fugue subject, developed at a frenetic pace and keeping the performer busy disentangling some rather gnarly four-part writing. At the point of highest excitement, just before the coda, the score breaks off, and Gulda calls on the pianist to improvise the rest of the piece. This is probably the main reason why this tremendously exciting and beguiling work, though several decades old, has not so far entered the repertoire.

from notes by Marc-André Hamelin © 2008

Le Prelude and Fugue a cette particularité intéressante d’avoir été joué et enregistré par Keith Emerson (d’Emerson, Lake and Palmer), rien de moins, sur l’album Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends. Les modèles arpégés swingants du prélude pavent la voie à un sujet de fugue fort syncopé, développé à une allure frénétique et où l’interprète doit sans cesse démêler une écriture à quatre parties plutôt nouée. Au comble de l’excitation, juste avant la coda, la partition s’arrête brutalement et Gulda demande au pianiste d’improviser le reste du morceau—ce qui pourrait expliquer pourquoi cette œuvre terriblement passionnante et séduisante, déjà vieille de plusieurs décennies, n’est toujours pas entrée au répertoire.

extrait des notes rédigées par Marc-André Hamelin © 2008
Français: Hypérion

Prelude and Fugue genießt die interessante Auszeichnung, dass das Werk von keinem Geringeren gespielt und aufgenommen wurde als von Keith Emerson von Emerson, Lake and Palmer, auf ihrem Album Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends. Die swingenden Arpeggio-Figuren des Preludes ebnen den Weg für ein extrem synkopiertes Fugenthema, das in einem hektischen Tempo beginnt und den Spieler in Atem hält, wenn er die recht verzwickte Vierstimmigkeit entwirren muss. Auf dem Höhepunkt des Getümmels bricht der Notentext genau vor der Coda ab, und Gulda fordert den Pianisten auf, den Rest des Stückes zu improvisieren. Das ist wahrscheinlich der Hauptgrund dafür, warum dieses ungeheuer aufregende und faszinierende Werk bisher keinen Eingang in das Repertoire gefunden hat, obwohl es schon einige Jahrzehnte existiert.

aus dem Begleittext von Marc-André Hamelin © 2008
Deutsch: Ludwig Madlener

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