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Track(s) taken from CDA67789

Étude No 2 in E minor 'Coma Berenices'

2008; an evocation of Queen Berenice II of Egypt's hair (itself the source for the constellation name); published by C. F. Peters Corp., New York

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 51 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)
Even if Coma Berenices bears the same name as a well-known constellation, it doesn’t directly relate to astronomy. It has to do with a beautiful head of flowing hair, in this case belonging to Queen Berenice II of Egypt, for whom the constellation was named. The florid texture of the writing is meant to evoke this. In any case, it’s a nice title! The first fourteen measures are an amplification of an excerpt from a tiny little piece in single notes I wrote when I was a teenager.

from notes by Marc-André Hamelin © 2010

Même si Coma Berenices porte le même nom qu’une constellation célèbre, elle n’a pas de lien direct avec l’astronomie. Elle se rapporte à une magnifique tête aux cheveux flottants, appartenant en l’occurrence à la Reine Bérénice II d’Égypte, qui a donné son nom à la constellation. La texture fleurie de l’écriture cherche à l’évoquer. En tout cas, c’est un beau titre! Les quatorze premières mesures sont une amplification d’un extrait d’une toute petite pièce en notes simples que j’ai composée lorsque j’étais adolescent.

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

Auch wenn Coma Berenices denselben Namen wie ein berühmtes Sternbild trägt, hat das Stück doch nicht direkt etwas mit Astronomie zu tun, sondern eher mit einem von wallenden Haaren umrahmten wunderschönen Haupt, in diesem Fall dem der Königin Berenike II. von Ägypten, zu deren Ehren das Sternzeichen seinen Namen bekam. Der üppige Klaviersatz soll dies ausdrücken. Auf jeden Fall ist es aber ein hübscher Titel! Die ersten 14 Takte sind eine erweiterte Fassung des Ausschnitts aus einem ganz kleinen Stück in Einzelnoten, das ich als Teenager komponiert habe.

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

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