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Track(s) taken from CDA67789

Étude No 11 in C sharp minor 'Minuetto'

2009; 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: 6 minutes 27 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)
The Minuetto was the last one of these études to be written, and the main theme comes from a sketch dating from about ten years earlier; according to this sketch, I had originally intended this minuet as being part of a sonata. I think it provides a welcome contrast within an otherwise ‘busy’ collection, and because of the (intentional) similarity between its final cadence and the beginning of the Prelude and Fugue, the two pieces go particularly well programmed together. On the personal side, it was interesting for me to link the two pieces this way, uniting, as it were, the earliest-written étude in this opus with the most recent one.

from notes by Marc-André Hamelin © 2010

Le Minuetto a été la dernière de ces études à être écrite et le thème principal vient d’une esquisse antérieure d’une dizaine d’années: si l’on se réfère à cette esquisse, je voulais à l’origine que ce menuet fasse partie d’une sonate. Je pense qu’il apporte un contraste salutaire dans un recueil assez «chargé» et, en raison de la similitude (intentionnelle) entre sa cadence finale et le début du Prélude et Fugue, les deux pièces vont particulièrement bien ensemble dans le programme. Sur le plan personnel, il était intéressant pour moi de lier ces deux pièces de cette manière, unissant, pour ainsi dire, la première étude écrite de cet opus à la plus récente.

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

Das Minuetto ist die jüngste Komposition dieser Etüdensammlung, und das Hauptthema geht auf eine ungefähr zehn Jahre alte Skizze zurück, nach der ich ursprünglich vorhatte, dieses Menuett zum Teil einer Sonate zu machen. Ich glaube, es bildet einen willkommenen Kontrast in einer ansonsten „lebhaften“ Sammlung, und wegen der (beabsichtigten) Ähnlichkeit zwischen seiner Schlusskadenz und dem Anfang von Prelude and Fugue passen diese beiden Stücke von der Programmfolge her besonders gut zusammen. Was mich persönlich betrifft, so war es interessant, die beiden Stücke auf diese Weise miteinander zu verbinden und dabei sozusagen die früheste Etüde dieses Opus mit der jüngsten zu kombinieren.

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

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