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Track(s) taken from CDA67789

Étude No 1 in A minor 'Triple Étude, after Chopin'

1992; after Godowsky's lost Study, reputed based on Chopin's études Op 10 No 2, Op 25 No 4 and Op 25 No 11; published by C. F. Peters Corp., New York; Hamelin's Étude No 1 was formerly an arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee

Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Recording details: November 2009
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: September 2010
Total duration: 2 minutes 15 seconds

Cover artwork: Still of Marc-André Hamelin from the film Des pas sur la neige.
CLC Productions, 2009


'Dear Marc-André, I begged and pleaded for Hyperion to keep this disc under wraps. But now that it's released, all of us composer / pianists have no choice but to go out of business. Isn't it enough for you simply to be the world's most proficient pianist? Do you also have to compose amazingly well for your instrument, and rewardingly so? Must you serve up some of the most witty, charming, entertaining and devastatingly effective piano music of your generation?' (Gramophone)

'Hamelin's original etudes … as well as the character pieces that round out the disc, with their blend of tasteful lyricism and striking textures and harmonies, are as enjoyable as his homages. While brashly flaunting his influences (Gershwin, Poulenc, Rachmaninov) he sounds utterly individual. Of course, the composer makes all the technical difficulties sound easy to play in these vividly recorded performances' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A set of 12 Études that reveals Hamelin's immersion in the great virtuoso tradition … Hamelin the composer has the same kind of tact and imagination that Hamelin the pianist does … the virtuoso demands are daunting; but there's so much harmonic and contrapuntal interest in these works, so much sheer joie de vivre, such evident love for the instrument and its history, and such consistent wit, that even music lovers who disdain virtuoso excess are likely to be seduced … in its gentle luminosity, the [Theme and Variations] is the most touching work on the CD. Hamelin the pianist, of course, plays with his usual understated virtuosity—his unerring control of phrasing, articulation and dynamics; his ability to generate huge masses of sound without banging; his succulent legato; and, most important in the more thorny textures, his ability to give each contrapuntal line its own flavour … the engineering is first rate. A cause for celebration' (International Record Review)

'One of this extraordinary musician's finest achievements, indeed, one of the great solo piano recordings ever made' (Fanfare, USA)

'These are astounding pieces … with a hint of frenetic, sometimes out-and-out grotesque, madness. They bar no holds where technical extremes are concerned … these are the other individual works on this superlative disc cover anythign from grandiose Romanticism to 20th-century stride' (The Scotsman)
Between 1894 and 1914 Leopold Godowsky published his extraordinary collection of 54 Studies on Chopin’s Etudes. There is evidence, judging from back-cover listings in early editions of these pieces, that a further eleven studies were at least conceived and possibly even written out. One of these was to have been a contrapuntal combination of Chopin’s Op 10 No 2, Op 25 No 4, and Op 25 No 11, a tantalizing idea to be sure. It has always been the desire of many die-hard pianophiles to find out how in the world Godowsky was able to pull off such a bizarre compositional stunt while having the end result remain musically coherent. There has been hope that the manuscript still exists, but the greater likelihood is that it was lost or destroyed during World War II, along with the other unpublished studies.

The Triple Étude (after Chopin) was written at the suggestion of my friend Donald Manildi who, on the basis of my reworking of Op 10 No 5 (Étude No 10 in this collection) thought that I could perhaps come up with something approaching Godowsky’s contrapuntal feat. I took great pleasure in writing this little piece, especially after realizing that the first eight bars fit so well together. It gets considerably more complicated afterwards, since all three studies have widely different structures and harmonic rhythms; it therefore becomes necessary for one of them to dominate at any time, while the other two are made to conform to it. All three of them do precisely that here, in turn.

from notes by Marc-André Hamelin © 2010

Entre 1894 et 1914, Leopold Godowsky a publié son extraordinaire recueil de 54 Études sur les Études de Chopin. Et si l’on en juge par les listes figurant en quatrième de couverture des premières éditions de ces pièces, il semble que onze autres études étaient au moins conçues et peut-être même écrites. L’une d’entre elles aurait été une combinaison contrapuntique de l’op. 10 no 2, de l’op. 25 no 4 et de l’op. 25 no 11 de Chopin, idée séduisante à n’en pas douter. De nombreux pianophiles irréductibles ont toujours cherché à savoir par quel miracle Godowsky avait pu réaliser quelque chose d’aussi bizarre en matière de composition tout en parvenant à un résultat final cohérent sur le plan musical. On espérait que le manuscrit existait encore, mais, selon toute probabilité, il aurait été perdu ou détruit pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, avec les autres études inédites.

La Triple Étude (d’après Chopin) a été écrite à la suggestion de mon ami Donald Manildi qui, sur la base de ma nouvelle version de l’op. 10 no 5 (Étude no 10 dans ce recueil) pensait que je pourrais peut-être proposer quelque chose approchant l’exploit contrapuntique de Godowsky. J’ai eu grand plaisir à composer cette petite pièce, surtout après m’être rendu compte que les huit premières mesures s’assemblaient si bien. Ça se complique beaucoup par la suite, car les trois études ont toutes des structures et des rythmes harmoniques très différents; il faut donc toujours que l’une d’entre elles domine, alors que les deux autres sont faites pour s’y conformer. C’est précisément ce qu’elles font toutes les trois, tour à tour.

extrait des notes rédigées par Marc-André Hamelin © 2010
Français: Marie-Stella Pâris

Zwischen 1894 und 1914 veröffentlichte Leopold Godowsky seine außergewöhnliche Sammlung von 54 Studien über die Etüden von Chopin. Auflistungen auf der Umschlagrückseite früher Ausgaben dieser Werke lassen den Schluss zu, dass wenigstens weitere elf Studien geplant und womöglich sogar schon niedergeschrieben waren. Eine davon sollte eine kontrapunktische Kombination von Chopins op. 10 Nr. 2, op. 25 Nr. 4 und op. 25 Nr. 11 werden, auf jeden Fall eine höchst spannende Idee. Es war schon immer der Wunsch vieler Klavierverrückter herauszufinden, wie in aller Welt Godowsky in der Lage gewesen sein sollte, ein so bizarres kompositorisches Kunststück durchzuziehen und dabei noch ein musikalisch stimmiges Ergebnis zu erzielen. Man hoffte, dass das Manuskript noch existierte; aber die Wahrscheinlichkeit ist größer, dass es während des 2. Weltkrieges zusammen mit den übrigen unveröffentlichten Studien verloren ging oder vernichtet wurde.

Die Triple Étude (after Chopin) entstand auf Anregung meines Freundes Donald Manildi, der nach dem Vorbild meiner Bearbeitung von op. 10 Nr. 5 (Etüde Nr. 10 in der vorliegenden Sammlung) der Meinung war, dass mir etwas einfallen könnte, was mit Godowskys Kunststück Ähnlichkeit hat. Die Komposition dieses kleinen Stückes machte mir dann wirklich viel Freude, besonders als ich feststellte, dass die ersten acht Takte so gut zusammenpassen. Später wird es bedeutend komplizierter, weil alle drei Etüden in Aufbau, Harmonie und Rhythmus recht unterschiedlich sind. Notwendigerweise muss deshalb eine von ihnen jeweils dominieren, während sich die übrigen zwei anzupassen haben. Genau das tun hier abwechselnd alle drei.

aus dem Begleittext von Marc-André Hamelin © 2010
Deutsch: Ludwig Madlener

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