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Track(s) taken from CDA67706

Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor, Op 58


Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Recording details: March 2008
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: January 2009
Total duration: 30 minutes 8 seconds

Cover artwork: Reclining Female Nude (c1844/5) by Jean-François Millet (1814-1875)
Musée d'Orsay, Paris / Peter Willi / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Artur Pizarro (piano)
Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Nikolai Demidenko (piano)
Stephen Hough (piano)


'Though Hamelin has made many fabulous discs, particularly in repertoire of superhuman virtuosity, this is one of his very finest achievements to date' (Gramophone)

'Hamelin's impeccable pianism allows him to make light work of the most demanding passages. The first movement [Third Sonata] is as imposing as you would expect of a player renowned for his staggering virtuosity, but a solid framework also underpins moments of wonderful delicacy. Hamelin builds the Second Sonata just as unerringly, producing a poetic and passionate performance that is finally carried off on a spectral wind … Hyperion's new release adds up to a hugely satisfying Chopin recital' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Hamelin's fabulous, transcendental technique takes all the challenges of the treacherous keyboard writing in its stride … Hamelin's pianissimos have a wonderful purity and definition' (The Guardian)

'In the Op 27 Nocturnes his hesitations are masterly, while the Berceuse, the seductive opening track, shimmers with pensive beauty … an excellent excursion into standard repertoire for this adventurous pianist' (The Times)

'Chopin’s second and third piano sonatas lie at the heart of the Romantic piano literature, and Hamelin, a poet among virtuosos, brings sensibility and a brilliant technique in equal measure to this oft-recorded music … this is the Chopin of a true Romantic, spellbinding at its (considerable) best and superbly recorded' (The Sunday Times)

'This is Chopin playing of a superior kind in which a musician of penetrating intellect is able to observe every detail of these miraculous scores … this is a fine example of supreme technical skill at the service of musical poetry' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Hamelin turns on the nightlight, emphasizing the music's poetry as Chopin's nearly elfin lyricism is the engine behind his music's unearthly beauty. Hamelin inhabits this music utterly, revealing a purely aesthetic ear that is not usually attributed to him. He allows each piece to unfold organically while shaping its broad outlines with a seductive lyrical poetry. Hamelin unfurls Chopin's elegant filigreed lines with ease while never losing the music's inner logic … these are world class Chopin performances' (Audiophile Audition, USA)

'It has been a delight to see Marc-André Hamelin, who long explored the bravura fringes of the piano literature, work his way deeper into the standard repertory. The second volume of his survey of Haydn piano sonatas for Hyperion could just as easily have been listed here. Chopin, meanwhile, offers full scope not only for his bravura impulses (which he indulges lustily) but also for an astonishing lyrical gift that increasingly comes to light. The opening Berceuse in D flat is melting' (The New York Times)
The Piano Sonata No 3 in B minor Op 58 was the last of Chopin’s three piano sonatas, written in 1844 during the years of his full maturity as a composer, and in contrast to the ‘Sonata funèbre’ it moves closer to conformity with both the formal and the generic archetypes of what was already becoming recognized as German sonata-symphonic thought. It is as though having come to terms with the four-movement sonata in Op 35, approaching it obliquely by way of the familiar ‘Chopin genres’ of the early 1830s, the composer now felt able to tackle this weighty genre on its own terms. This is apparent in the close-knit motivic argument—the developing variation—of the first movement, and in the measured tread—late Beethoven, late Schubert—of the slow movement. There are some parallels with Op 35, including the sequence of the inner movements where the scherzo precedes the slow movement, and again the inverted reprise of the first movement, but in most respects the two works are poles apart. The outer movements point up the contrast. There could be nothing further from the elliptical, understated finale of Op 35 than the grandiloquent sonata rondo with which Op 58 races, or rather gallops, to its bravura coda. This at least is a more conventional way to end a sonata! As for the first movement, this presents us with a much more closely argued thematicism than its counterpart in Op 35. The principal theme is strong and distinctive, but it is quickly broken down into motivic-contrapuntal working in a process of continuous development and transformation that then characterizes much of the movement. Considerable heads of tension are built up by this process, both in the exposition and in the development, and it is the function of the Nocturne-like second theme—one of Chopin’s happiest inspirations—to resolve them.

from notes by Jim Samson © 2009

La Sonate pour piano no 3 en si mineur op. 58 est la dernière des trois sonates pour piano chopiniennes. Écrite en 1844 par un Chopin au summum de sa maturité compositionnelle, elle se conforme davantage que la «Sonate funèbre» aux archétypes formels et génériques de ce qui était déjà en passe d’être reconnu comme l’idée «sonato-symphonique» allemande. C’est comme si, après s’être colleté à la sonate en quatre mouvements avec l’op. 35, après l’avoir abordée indirectement par le biais des «genres chopiniens» bien connus du début des années 1830, le compositeur se sentait enfin prêt à attaquer cet important genre, tel quel. Ce qui transparaît dans l’argument motivique très uni—la variation de développement—du premier mouvement et dans le pas mesuré—Beethoven tardif, Schubert tardif—du mouvement lent. Il y a certains parallèles avec l’op. 35, notamment la séquence des mouvements internes où le scherzo précède le mouvement lent et, une fois encore, la reprise inversée du premier mouvement, mais, pour l’essentiel, les deux œuvres sont aux antipodes l’une de l’autre, comme le soulignent les mouvements extrêmes. Rien ne saurait être plus éloigné du finale elliptique, discret, de l’op. 35 que le rondo de sonate grandiloquent via leqel l’op. 58 court, ou plutôt galope, jusqu’à sa coda de bravoure. Voilà, au moins, une manière plus conventionnelle de terminer une sonate! Quant au premier mouvement, il nous offre un thématisme bien plus argumenté que celui de l’op. 35. Le thème principal est fort et distinctif mais il est vite décomposé en une écriture motivico-contrapuntique par un développement et un changement continus qui marquent ensuite l’essentiel du mouvement. De considérables sources de tension s’accumulent au cours de ce processus, dans l’exposition et dans le développement, et il revient au second thème, de type nocturne—parmi les plus heureuses inspirations chopiniennes—de les résoudre.

extrait des notes rédigées par Jim Samson © 2009
Français: Hypérion

Die Klaviersonate Nr. 3 in h-Moll op. 58 ist ist dies die letzte der drei Klaviersonaten Chopins, die alle 1844 entstanden, als er als Komponist seine endgültige Reifeperiode erreicht hatte. Anders als die „Sonate funèbre“ ist diese Sonate dem formalen und generischen Archetyp des sich bildenden deutschen Sonaten- und Symphoniekonzepts näher. Es scheint, als ob er nach der viersätzigen Sonate op. 35, in der er sich der Sonatenform verdeckt und über „Chopin Genres“ der frühen 1830er Jahre genähert hatte, sich nun in der Lage fühlte, dieses gewichtige Genre offen anzugehen. Dies wird nicht nur in der eng gearbeiteten Motivik, der sich entwickelnden Variation, des ersten Satzes deutlich, sondern auch im gemessenen Schritt—später Beethoven, später Schubert—des langsamen Satzes. Es gibt einige Parallelen mit op. 35, wie etwa die Reihenfolge der Innensätze, wo das Scherzo dem langsamen Satz vorangeht, und auch die umgekehrte Reprise des ersten Satzes, doch davon abgesehen trennen diese beiden Werke Welten. Die Außensätze zeigen die Kontraste besonders deutlich auf. Nichts könnte sich von dem elliptischen und absichtlich schlicht gehaltenen Finale von op. 35 mehr unterscheiden als das hochtrabende Rondo, mit dem op. 58 auf seine Bravur-Coda zuprescht. Es ist dies jedenfalls eine konventionellere Art und Weise, eine Sonate zu Ende zu bringen. Im ersten Satz finden wir eine deutlich stringentere Thematik vor als im Pendant von op. 35. Das Hauptthema ist kräftig und markant, wird jedoch schnell in ein motivisch-kontrapunktisches Geflecht geleitet, was dann in einen fortwährenden Entwicklungs- und Transformationsprozess übergeht, der den Satz dann weitgehend dominiert. In diesem Prozess bauen sich sowohl in der Exposition als auch in der Durchführung beträchtliche Spannungspunkte auf, und es ist die Aufgabe des nocturneartigen zweiten Themas—einer der schönsten Einfälle Chopins—diese aufzulösen.

aus dem Begleittext von Jim Samson © 2009
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

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