on September 12, 2012
Marc-Andre Hamelin is one of those rare musicians who seems rarely, if ever, to put a foot wrong. This is the 3rd installment of his Haydn sonatas, today largely ignored, which is a horrible oversight. Mr. Hamelin has the right "feel" for this wonderful music, and his flawless technical playing never obscures Haydn's compositional skill. Several pianists are helping lead a Haydn Renaissance (and not a moment too soon)--and Hamelin stands at the top of the list. Haydn is currently "not fashionable"--and recordings like this should reverse that hopelessly stupid evaluation. Go for it!
Having never been a particular fan of the music of Haydn, but much appreciative of Marc-Andre Hamelin's piano work, I ventured in purchasing all three volumes (total of 6 CDs, thus far) of these solo piano sonatas. Now obliged to focus on a single instrument, beautifully played with interpretative sensitivity, I gain new insight into this composer. Between the high Baroque and early Classical eras, the music captures the spirit of transition. Haydn is best regarded for his symphonies and quartets; these some 60 piano sonatas are hardly known or performed. Of course, Hamelin is properly praised for favoring, and bringing forward, the more obscure composers or pieces. His technical precision and exciting control of volume and intensity make each sonata a unique miniature jewel for inspection. Some sparkle, some opalesce. Some movements are lively dances, some are laments or serious reflections. The engineered sound is first rate. All the package notes give detailed musicological descriptions for the more expert listener. I am simply content and pleased to respond to each sonata in turn.
on August 25, 2014
Marc-Andre Hamelin is an undisputed virtuoso of the keyboard. His performances on stage and record as well remind of a golden age of the pianistic wizardry. Very few musicians of our time can blend in the same persona a stunning technical prowess with a thoughtful musicianship at the expense Marc-Andre does it. And as a veritable virtuoso he deals not only with the technically most demanding repertoire or contemporary realm (which is a constant preoccupation to him) but also with those witty and gracious sonatas by Joseph Haydn, “the King of the Viennese Classicism”., as is the case with the three volumes recently released by the Canadian artist.
His approach is quite breathtaking as it unfolds all the subtleties both in musical and technical terms. The recorded sound quality is simply wondrous, so it fully supports the refined artistry of the performer, highlighting all his interpretive intentions. The play is clear and vivid throughout. The articulation is logic and charming. Competing with truly legends of the piano such as Alfred Brendel or Andras Schiff in this repertory, Hamelin secures for himself a prominent place in the piano Olympus.
The comments above apply all the same to the other two companion twofers devoted by Marc-Andre Hamelin to Haydn’s piano sonata output. A trilogy worth to be included in any piano-fan collection!
on August 9, 2012
I am not a musician and cannot comment on the music. However, the combination of Haydn and Marc Andre Hamelin is superb. The sonatas are classics. Despite the number of them, they are never repetitive. Hamelin plays with a light touch. He is not a bit heavy handed. If you are a fan of piano music and enjoy the sonatas of Beethoven and Mozart, you should give these a try. This CD reminds just how great Haydn was.