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Marc-André Hamelin (piano)

Douze études dans tous les tons mineurs, Op 39
No 08. Concerto for solo piano movement 1: Allegro assai [28:14]
No 09. Concerto for solo piano movement 2: Adagio [11:51]
No 10: Concerto for solo piano movement 3: Allegretto alla barbaresca [9:18]

Troisième recueil de chants, Op 65
No 1: Vivante [2:44]
No 2: Esprits follets. Prestissimo [1:39]
No 3: Canon. Assez vivement [2:32]
No 4: Tempo giusto [3:41]
No 5: Horace et Lydie. Vivacissimo [3:14]
No 6: Barcarolle. Assez lentement [4:00]

Alkan was one of the greatest composer-pianists in history, with a voice as original as Chopin or Liszt, and a technique that even Liszt admitted was the greatest he had ever known. His music is of surpassing difficulty, and fell into relative obscurity in an age where published music was frequently aimed at amateurs. Its greatness is undeniable—but it unquestionably requires performances of unceasing brilliance.
Alkan’s Concerto for solo piano is one of the great pianistic high-wire acts—an epic work which demands unprecedented levels of technical ability and physical stamina. It is conceived on a breathtakingly grand scale and is rich with both orchestral sonorities and lyrical pianistic passages. The Troisième recueil de chants is a delightful rarity, rescued here from oblivion by the wonderful Marc-André Hamelin, who with his transcendent technique is simply one of the greatest living performers of this intoxicating music.

Recording details: Various dates
Various recording venues
Produced by Various producers
Engineered by Various engineers
Release date: September 2007
Total duration: 67 minutes 13 seconds
Available for download on iTunes: No

View sleeve notes/artwork



'A performance of the Concerto of such brilliance and lucidity that one can only listen in awe and amazement. Scaling even the most ferocious hurdles with yards to spare, he is blessedly free to explore the very heart of Alkan's bewildering interplay of austerity and monstrous elaboration … You can only marvel at such a unique mix of blazing if nonchalantly deployed virtuosity and poetic conviction … All of this is superly recorded and presented, prompting some not unreasonable conjecture: if Liszt feared Alkan's mastery as a pianist he may well have feared Hamelin's' (Gramophone)

'The sheer keyboard brilliance of Hamelin's playing is exceptional. The breathtaking clarity with which he articulates even the most ferocious passages, while unerringly projecting melodic shapes that are often obscured under welters of notes, never fails to dazzle, and the way in which he sustains the huge first movement of the Concerto so that each discursive paragraph seems a natural consequence of what precedes it is a triumph of pure musical will' (The Guardian *****)

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