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Track(s) taken from CDA67275

Valse folle


Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Recording details: February 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: October 2001
Total duration: 2 minutes 36 seconds

Cover artwork: Front illustration by Donya Claire James (b?)


'Hamelin's performances are a wonder of brilliance and refinement. The recordings are superb, Jeremy Nicholas's notes a mine of informative titbits. In Marc-André Hamelin Hyperion clearly has a pianist to turn other record companies green with envy' (Gramophone)

'This collection of virtuoso encores by mostly forgotten pianist-composers is simply sensational' (The Sunday Times)

'Twenty encore pieces for lovers of superhuman virtuosity' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Even if you are used to drawing your breath with incredulity at Hamelin's performances, you should tighten your seat-belt: This disc will make you gasp in amazement and roar in outraged laughter at the same time … the piano disc of the year, perfect in every aspect. Run out and buy it now' (Fanfare, USA)

'In latter times a new breed of pianist has appeared, the super-virtuoso for whom no technical challenge is too much. Chief of this tribe of metamusicians is the Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin, whose playing defies rational explanation … This is, in short, some of the most phenomenal playing you’ll ever hear' (Punch)

'Hamelin's refinement, jaw-dropping virtuosity and sense of sheer fun combine to make the whole lot both irresistible and simply unbelievable. With Hamelin around, who needs Horowitz?' (Piano, Germany)
To those who know Massenet as the composer of Manon, Werther and the ‘Méditation’ from Thaïs, his Valse folle is the aural equivalent of being hit in the face with a brick. Composed in 1898 (by which time Massenet had become wildly wealthy and famous from his success as an opera composer), the ‘Mad Waltz’ was dedicated to his friend Raoul Pugno (1852–1914). Pugno himself, one of the first internationally acclaimed lions of the keyboard to commit his art to disc, recorded the work in April 1903 for the Gramophone and Typewriter label. Its innocent main theme contrasts with abrupt changes of tempo and (for Massenet) unexpected discords and harmonies, to say nothing of the violent ending, providing a brief glimpse of an unexpected side to the elegant, urbane Massenet.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2001

Pour ceux qui associent Massenet à Manon, à Werther et à la «Méditation» de Thaïs, cette Valse folle fera l’effet d’un coup de massue. Composée en 1898 (à une époque où ses succès comme compositeur d’opéra l’avaient rendu à la fois richissime et célébrissime), cette Valse folle fut dédiée à son ami Raoul Pugno (1852–1914). Pugno, l’une des premières célébrités internationales du piano à confier son art au disque, enregistra lui-même cette œuvre en avril 1903 pour le label Gramophone and Typewriter. L’innocence du thème principal contraste avec des changements de tempo abrupts et des dissonances et des harmonies inattendues (de la part de Massenet), pour ne rien dire de la violente conclusion, qui nous offre un bref aperçu d’un visage insoupçonné de l’élégant et courtois Massenet.

extrait des notes rédigées par Jeremy Nicholas © 2001
Français: Josée Bégaud

Wer Massenet als den Komponisten von Manon, Werther und der „Méditation“ aus Thaïs kennt, für den ist sein Valse folle das akustische Äquivalent zu einem Schlag ins Gesicht mit einem Backstein. Der 1898 komponierte „Verrückte Walzer“ (Massenet war damals dank seines Erfolgs als Opernkomponist schon unglaublich reich und berühmt) ist seinem Freund Raoul Pugno (1852–1914) gewidmet. Pugno selbst, einer der ersten international berühmten Klavierlöwen, der seine Kunst auf Schallplatte bannte, hat das Werk im April 1903 für das Label „Gramophone and Typewriter“ eingespielt. Sein unschuldig klingendes Hauptthema kontrastiert mit jähen Tempowechseln und (für Massenet) unerwarteten Diskordanzen und Akkorden, von dem gewaltsamen Schluß ganz zu schweigen, der einen kurzen Blick auf einen unerwarteten Aspekt des eleganten, weltmännischen Massenet gewährt.

aus dem Begleittext von Jeremy Nicholas © 2001
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

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