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Track(s) taken from CDA67508

Piano Concerto No 1 in B flat minor, Op 32


Marc-André Hamelin (piano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Michael Stern (conductor)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: February 2005
Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: October 2005
Total duration: 27 minutes 55 seconds


'Described by one respected critic as the greatest living pianist, Marc-André Hamelin soars to ever new heights of virtuosity … Hamelin is superbly partnered and recorded, and lovers of lush, romantic melody embellished with hundreds and thousands of winking sequins need look no further' (Gramophone)

'Marc-André Hamelin gives a dazzling account' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Hamelin, who makes out the best possible case for the music, is now the version to have. In any case, his many admirers will flock, and rightly, to acquire this excellently recorded disc of two fairly unfamiliar concertos which, whatever their virtues and failings, provide ideal vehicles for Hamelin's abundant talents' (International Record Review)

'Hamelin's legendary technique thrills at every turn, and in the Rubinstein his scorching virtuosity and emotional intensity mesmerises from beginning to end. Anyone who loves Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninov should investigate this stunning disc without delay!' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Virtuoso repertoire, virtuoso playing—there's breathtaking snap and clarity to the rhythms, imposing weight to the climaxes … surely one of the peaks of Hyperion's 'Romantic Piano Concerto' series. All in all, urgently recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'This will appeal to experts as well as those who only know, say, the Rachmaninov or Tchaikovsky concertos. Another fabulous disc (and as usual excellent sleeve-notes). Rolls-Royce stuff' (HMV Choice)

'We have been in need of a modern recording by a pianist of the stature of Hamelin who can deliver Rubinstein's passion, impetuosity, quick changes of mood, and technical demands with ease. He gives a performance of the last movement that is so rousing that it has never sounded so convincing on disc … an excellent disc that is highly recommended' (International Piano)

'Rubinstein's Fourth Concerto can hold its own against Tchaikovsky's infinitely better known First and, on the strength of this recording, deserves to regain a place in the classical repertoire. There is musical swagger, pathos, poetry and heroism in both of the works couple on this album' (Music Week)
The B flat minor Concerto, though in the expected three movements, forsakes the quick–slow–quick format by dispensing with a separate slow movement. The Adagio is incorporated into the stormy first movement, providing one of many memorable themes in the work, this one allotted to the violas, clarinet and then horns. The second movement is an extended scherzo–rondo demanding a quicksilver touch from the soloist and offering a dizzying, brilliant contrast to the dominant dramatic character of the work. This mood returns in the opening bars of the final Allegro non tanto, a movement which throws down a succession of technically daunting challenges to the pianist. Yet Scharwenka soon introduces a ravishing second subject, not unrelated to the first movement’s Adagio theme, one which, after an imposing cadenza, heralds the ecstatic, lengthy coda and the Concerto’s climactic final pages.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2005

Bien que doté des trois mouvements attendus, le Concerto en si bémol mineur se passe de mouvement lent distinct, délaissant ainsi le format rapide–lent–rapide. L’Adagio, intégré au premier mouvement tempétueux, offre à l’œuvre un de ses nombreux thèmes mémorables, dévolu ici aux altos, à la clarinette, puis aux cors. Le deuxième mouvement, un scherzo–rondo prolongé, exige du soliste un toucher tout en vif-argent et tranche vertigineusement, brillamment avec le caractère de l’œuvre, à dominante dramatique. Le drame revient dans les premières mesures de l’Allegro non tanto final, un mouvement qui lance d’intimidants défis techniques au pianiste. Ce qui n’empêche pas Scharwenka d’introduire un ravissant second sujet, apparenté au thème de l’Adagio du premier mouvement, lequel, passé une imposante cadenza, annonce la coda, extatique et fort longue, ainsi que les dernières pages, paroxystiques, du Concerto.

extrait des notes rédigées par Jeremy Nicholas © 2005
Français: Hyperion Records Ltd

Das b-Moll-Konzert steht zwar in den zu erwartenden drei Sätzen, doch entsagt es der Abfolge schnell–langsam–schnell, indem es auf einen separaten langsamen Satz verzichtet. Das Adagio ist in den stürmischen Kopfsatz übernommen und liefert eines der vielen denkwürdigen Themen des Werks, in diesem Fall für Bratschen, Klarinette und schließlich Hörner. Der zweite Satz in ein erweitertes Scherzo–Rondo, das vom Solisten gewandten Anschlag verlangt und einen überschwänglichen, brillanten Kontrast zum vorwiegend dramatischen Charakter des Werks bietet. Diese Stimmung kehrt in den einleitenden Takten des abschließenden Allegro non tanto zurück – dieser Satz konfrontiert den Pianisten mit einer Folge technisch anspruchsvoller Herausforderungen. Doch bald führt Scharwenka ein hinreißendes Nebenthema ein, das eine gewisse Verwandtschaft mit dem Adagio-Thema des Kopfsatzes aufweist, und dies kündigt nach einer imposanten Kadenz die lange, ekstatische Coda und die dem Höhepunkt zustrebenden Schlusstakte des Konzerts an.

aus dem Begleittext von Jeremy Nicholas © 2005
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

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