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Track(s) taken from CDA67951/3

Nuit de Noël, BV251


Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: August 2012
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: November 2013
Total duration: 3 minutes 52 seconds

Cover artwork: Materia (1912) by Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916)
Private Collection / Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London


‘Works where Busoni found his truest voice … Hamelin, playing with unfaltering lucidity and authority, achieves an astonishing triumph even by his exalted standards. As always, Hyperion has done him proud … an album that could never be bettered’ (Gramophone)

‘Marc-André Hamelin’s performance of the Busoni Piano Concerto for Hyperion is one of the finest ever recorded of that mammoth work, and now he has produced what is arguably the most important collection of the solo piano music since Geoffrey Douglas Madge’s epic six-disc survey for Philips in 1987 … All the most significant works are here … Hamelin includes some rarities Madge omitted, notably Busoni’s first foray into 'Red Indian’ music, the spellbinding Indianisches Erntelied (not published till 2001) … As to the performances, they are all you could hope from a player of such quality, laced with repertoire he might have been born to interpret. This is playing of a very high order, such as—despite the now numerous competing versions of the Elegies, Sonatinas and Toccata—one seldom hears. Hamelin is well-nigh ideal in sensitivity of phrasing, clarity of tone and delineation of voices, not to mention subtlety of pedalling … He reminds you that you are listening to one of history’s greatest piano composers, a philosopher of the piano to whose ear and mind the whole of European concert music seems to have been continually present. A fabulous set, almost beyond praise’ (BBC Music Magazine)» More

‘What comes through on listening to Hamelin is the underlying consistency of his approach over this music as a whole and, above all, the singularity of Busoni's musical vision and its relevance to composers and pianists almost a century on’ (International Record Review)

‘Few pianists have the time and technique to devote to music that is so little-known. Marc-André Hamelin is the shining exception. He demonstrated his Busoni credentials more than a decade ago with an outstanding account of the Piano Concerto … Hamelin handles all with great intelligence. There's a swagger when the music demands it, a fabulously refined sense of sonority and transparency when required. The technical challenges are surmounted so effortlessly that you begin to take the confidence of his playing for granted, when in fact it's a remarkable achievement’ (The Guardian)» More

‘The gift I'd choose for myself would be Marc-André Hamelin's magisterial three-disc survey of Busoni's later piano music—elusive and haunting material from a pivotal figure’ (The Times)» More

‘Hyperion does Busoni a great service in issuing this magnificent three-disc box. Those readers who know Busoni mainly (or only) via his transcriptions will have a whole new world revealed to them. Hamelin, one of today’s super-virtuosos but also a musician of the highest rank, seems to be the ideal interpreter, and is captured throughout in superb sound’ (International Piano)» More

‘This three-CD set presents Marc-André Hamelin, another formidable pianist, in Busoni works from the first quarter of the 20th century. The music draws from the heritage of Bach, Liszt and Wagner, while taking modern paths and anticipating atonality. Even when a particular piece seems amorphous or elusive, these elegies, fantasias, sonatinas and more are continually fascinating, especially in Mr. Hamelin’s commanding performances’ (The New York Times)» More

‘Hamelin's recent release of three CDs devoted to the late piano music of Ferruccio Busoni represents another milestone in an outstanding career … These three discs contain a number of pieces not previously recorded and also include a sampling of the numerous Bach arrangements Busoni is best known for. The programming is exemplary, the sound is alluring (from a Steinway piano recorded in London’s Henry Wood Hall) and the program notes are excellent. Bravo Hamelin!’ (The Whole Note, Canada)» More

«L’impeccable virtuosité de Marc-André Hamelin se joue des pièges recélés par ces redoutables partitions; sa quête faustienne, à la fois analytique et méditée, assume la dimension philosophique quasi médiévale de cette alchimie sonore et nous en livre une référence absolue» (Classica, France)» More

„Marc André Hamelin ist derzeit unumstritten der König der Busoni-Interpreten. Triumphal meistert er die außerordentlichen technischen Schwierigkeiten und die komplexe Kontrapunktik der Musik Busonis“ (Class Aktuell, Germany)» More

„Marc-André Hamelin gelingt, alle Facetten in exzellenten Interpretationen darzustellen … seiner qualitativ hochwertigen Edition der Klaviermusik von Ferruccio Busoni dürfte deshalb über eine lange Zeit der Referenzstatus sicher sein“ (Piano, Germany)» More
Nuit de Noël (1908), a rarely played six-page ‘Esquisse’ (sketch) with French interpretative directions, was published in Paris by Durand. The accompaniment of the first section uses frail figurations based on fourths and fifths that suggest snowflakes on this unique night. Later a measured trill ostinato in the middle register serves as the background for a theme using a siciliana rhythm followed by a quotation of the Sicilian carol O sanctissima, known as O du fröhliche in German-speaking countries. The two pedals must remain depressed for much of this calm and delicate impressionistic piece featuring two indications asking the performer to suggest timpani and trumpets.

from notes by Marc-André Roberge © 2013

Nuit de Noël (1908), une «esquisse» de six pages rarement jouée, a été publiée à Paris par Durand, avec des indications d’interprétation en français. L’accompagnement de la première section fait appel à des figurations délicates de quartes et de quintes qui suggèrent les flocons de neige de cette nuit unique. Par la suite un ostinato en trille mesuré dans le registre médium supporte un thème en rythme de sicilienne suivi d’une citation du chant de Noël sicilien O sanctissima, connu dans les pays de langue allemande sous le titre de O du fröhliche. Les deux pédales doivent rester enfoncées pendant presque toute la durée de cette pièce impressionniste calme et délicate qui comporte deux indications demandant à l’interprète de suggérer la sonorité des timbales et des trompettes.

extrait des notes rédigées par Marc-André Roberge © 2013

Nuit de Noël (1908) ist eine selten aufgeführte sechsseitige „Esquisse“ (Skizze) mit französischen Vortragsbezeichnungen, die bei Durand in Paris erschien. Die Begleitung des ersten Abschnitts zeichnet sich durch zerbrechliche, auf Quarten und Quinten basierende Figurationen aus, die die Schneeflocken dieser besonderen Nacht andeuten. Später dient ein gleichmäßiges Triller-Ostinato im mittleren Register als Hintergrund zu einem Thema mit Siciliano-Rhythmus, worauf ein Zitat des sizilianischen Weihnachtslieds O sanctissima folgt, welches im deutschsprachigen Raum als O du fröhliche bekannt ist. Beide Pedale müssen in diesem ruhigen und feingliedrigen impressionistischen Stück über lange Strecken gehalten werden, in dem sich zwei Anweisungen finden, wo der Ausführende gebeten wird, Pauken und Trompeten anzudeuten.

aus dem Begleittext von Marc-André Roberge © 2013
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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