Marc-André Hamelin's selections for this CD comprise a well-balanced recital program, yet the most substantial works are the two piano sonatas by Rachmaninov and Chopin; one may leave aside the ferociously virtuosic Rudepoêma by Villa-Lobos and Schulz-Evler's flashy Arabesques on Themes by Johann Strauss as entertaining but less important works. Initially, the listener may be drawn to compare the sonatas because of their shared key and numeration, but these are only the most obvious links, for the connections between the works are significant and deep. Rachmaninov's long study of Chopin's Sonata No.
2 in B flat minor inspired the dark coloration, death-obsession, and agitation of his own work; and, by his admission, it led him later to revise his own Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, to bring it the clarity and economy he found in Chopin's model. In the revised version heard here, there are several points where echoes of Chopin's gestures, textures, and contrasts may be detected, and further investigations of Rachmaninov's Op. 36 may prove fruitful. Hamelin's performances are dynamic and exciting, everything one might expect of this brilliant technician. Yet his playing in Rachmaninov's second movement and Chopin's Marche funèbre is deeply felt and poignant. The recording is fine, though a little uneven in the mixing.
|Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 36|
|Allegro agitato||Marc-André Hamelin||7:38|
|Non allegro||Marc-André Hamelin||6:44|
|Allegro molto||Marc-André Hamelin||4:26|
|Rudepoêma, for piano, A. 184||Marc-André Hamelin||17:41|
|Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35, CT. 202|
|Grave - Doppio movimento||Marc-André Hamelin||5:16|
|Marche funêbre, Lento||Marc-André Hamelin||8:02|
|Finale, Presto||Marc-André Hamelin||1:31|
|Arabesques on J. Strauss II's "The Blue Danube Waltz" for piano||Marc-André Hamelin||11:16|