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Track(s) taken from CDA68381/2

Solfeggio in C minor, H220 Wq117/2


Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: January 2021
Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA
Produced by Judith Sherman
Engineered by Judith Sherman
Release date: January 2022
Total duration: 0 minutes 59 seconds

Cover artwork: Photograph. Karolina Skorek


‘Certain performers seem to find a Being John Malkovich-like secret portal to the brain of every composer they play. Marc-André Hamelin is certainly among them. And when the brain is that of the maverick of the Bach dynasty, Carl Philipp Emanuel, we can expect extraordinary things … Hamelin’s two generously filled discs make a strong case not only for the composer’s historic significance but also for the modern piano’s suitability to his limitless flights of imagination and unsettling juxtapositions … throughout the programme, Hamelin’s delight and relish are highly infectious. The informative booklet essay is by Mahan Esfahani, himself a seasoned CPE Bach exponent on the harpsichord. In short, I cannot think of a better introduction to CPE Bach on the modern piano than these two joyous discs’ (Gramophone)

‘Straddling the transition from the harpsichord to the piano, CPE Bach showed the way forward to a new instrumental sensibility, cultivating a new expressive language in a style which appealed to cognoscenti and amateur alike. Marc-André Hamelin delivers 50 tracks to brilliantly illustrate that argument, in an exploration of the composer’s own exploration of possible effects … at his best CPE wrote some lovely works: try the F sharp minor Fantasie written in his penultimate year, and his farewell to a beloved instrument, Abschied von meinem Silbermannischen Claviere in einem Rondo’ (BBC Music Magazine)» More

‘Brilliantly brought to life by Marc-André Hamelin … I really enjoyed the way he identifies with the complex demands of the music … Hamelin is the kind of modern pianist with the firepower to make the most of Emanuel Bach’s sudden switches of mood and timbre, and the unexpected endings, often at the most exhilarating speeds. Insightful booklet notes by Mahan Esfahani enhance the whole thing; it’s an effective recording as well’ (BBC Record Review)

‘This is an all-time great tribute … Hamelin has of course an embarrassment of excess prowess when it comes to the technical demands of these pieces, but artistically they most certainly have his full attention. He finds something to communicate in every one. He is in no hurry to get through the program. He revels in the many little pauses, rhetorical flourishes, witty asides and pratfalls in which this music abounds. If I could listen to his playing with one other person in history, it would be Haydn, who would get all of the jokes … as always the Hyperion sound is unsurpassed. The sound stage is a perfect size for this most elegant of chamber music’ (Audiophile Audition, USA)

‘Few pianists are more tirelessly exploratory than Marc-André Hamelin. In this enriching new album he turns to the strange and idiosyncratic world of CPE Bach … a world of quirky surprises, of fits and starts, of a determination to advance towards new musical horizons … dazzling advocacy, together with Hyperion’s superb sound and Mahan Esfahani’s scholarly and illuminating notes’ (International Piano)

‘The always interesting (and regularly surprising) Marc-André Hamelin adds to his massive catalogue with a double album of keyboard music by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the most famous and prolific of Johann Sebastian's composer sons. Emanuel's music looks ahead to the slower harmonic rhythm and emotive style of later composers while retaining the lavish ornamentation of his father's generation (especially Scarlatti). While the album's notes were written by a harpsichordist (Mahan Esfahani), there's no one better than Hamelin to show how this music should be played on the modern piano. (Also, he's now only one generation away from making the J.S. Bach album we're still anxiously awaiting)’ (CBC Music, Canada)

‘Every so often a recording comes along which excites, totally satisfies and ticks all the right boxes; this disc is one such … Marc-André Hamelin’s stunning virtuosity, sheer musicality and sense of drama showcase these magnificent works at their best. The bright-sounding Steinway and perfect acoustic all add up to a winning combination. The scholarly booklet notes are the work of Mahan Esfahani, conveniently translated into French and German. This release is already a strong contender for one of my Recordings of the Year’ (MusicWeb International)» More

‘Hamelin, a musician of superlative gifts, makes us feel as if the composer has returned to Earth, discovered the glories of the modern piano, and is improvising the music in front of us’ (The Arts Fuse, USA)» More

‘Hamelin makes spirited cases for hearing this music more regularly, beginning with the A minor Sonata. In its final movement, he handles some geysering phrases with appropriate intensity, while lending others a teasing air. The contrasts come hard and fast, but Hamelin’s approach always sound well judged. As usual, Hyperion’s presentation is stellar, from the production sound to the liner notes (written by the harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani)’ (The New York Times)

‘Hamelin certainly brings out all the charm, finesse and refinement intrinsic to this music. Poise and perfectly judged dynamic balance between the hands, fluid phrasing and tempered rubato, all come together to do the music full justice. There's a tendency for music from that period to sound overly formulaic, but Hamelin doesn't see it that way. Each and every phrase, ornamentation, harmonic twist sound fresh, musical and innovative under his highly insightful interpretation’ (Classical Music Sentinel)

‘Throughout, Hamelin performs with a polished assurance, his playing at all times thoughtfully nuanced. His flawless technique particularly comes to the fore in such works as the presto finale of the Fantasia in C Major Wq61/6. This recording is an exemplary addition to the catalogue. Not only does it shine light on music that deserves greater recognition, but it proves—if proof is needed—that despite Hamelin's usual focus on virtuosic 19th-century repertoire, he is a master at anything he decides to approach. Excellent notes and attractive packaging are further bonuses’ (The Whole Note, Canada)
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