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Track(s) taken from CDA67951/3

Toccata 'Preludio, Fantasia, Ciaccona', BV287


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: 10 minutes 0 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
A major piano composition from Busoni’s late years is the Toccata, a stark and concentrated work at the beginning of which the composer, misquoting Frescobaldi, wrote ‘Non è senza difficoltà che si arriva al fine’ (‘One does not reach the end without difficulty’). It opens with a virtuoso Preludio based on a motif from the opera Die Brautwahl. Then follows a seven-section Fantasia, with contrasting tempos, in which the lyrical theme entrusted to the Duchess of Parma in Doktor Faust is heard twice. The concluding Ciaccona, based on a four-bar energetic sarabande rhythm, culminates in two stretto sections. The second is quite striking, with octaves in both hands, flying in opposite directions.

from notes by Marc-André Roberge © 2013

Une principale composition pour piano des dernières années est la Toccata, une œuvre austère et concentrée au début de laquelle Busoni, citant incorrectement Frescobaldi, écrit «Non è senza difficoltà che si arriva al fine» («On n’arrive pas à la fin sans difficulté»). Elle commence avec un Preludio virtuose basé sur un motif de l’opéra Die Brautwahl. Suit une Fantasia en sept sections, avec des tempos contrastants, dans laquelle le thème lyrique confié à la Duchesse de Parme dans Doktor Faust est entendu deux fois. La Ciaccona qui conclut l’œuvre, basée sur un rythme énergique de sarabande de quatre mesures, se termine par deux sections en stretto. La dernière est frappante par ses octaves aux deux mains volant dans des directions opposées.

extrait des notes rédigées par Marc-André Roberge © 2013

Eine wichtige Klavierkomposition aus Busonis letzten Jahren ist die Toccata, ein nüchternes und verdichtetes Werk, an dessen Anfang der Komponist schrieb (Frescobaldi falsch zitierend): „Non è senza difficoltà che si arriva al fine“ („Man erreicht das Ende nicht ohne Schwierigkeiten“). Es beginnt mit einem virtuosen Preludio, dem ein Motiv aus der Oper Die Brautwahl zugrunde liegt. Darauf folgt eine Fantasia mit sieben Abschnitten, die jeweils kontrastierende Tempi haben und wo das lyrische Thema der Herzogin von Parma aus Doktor Faust zweimal zu hören ist. Die abschließende Ciaccona, die auf einem energischen viertaktigen Sarabande-Rhythmus basiert, gipfelt in zwei Stretta-Abschnitten. Der letztere ist recht eindrucksvoll—Oktaven in beiden Händen fliegen förmlich in gegensätzliche Richtungen.

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

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