Marc-André Hamelin

September 28, 2009 § 1 Comment

Marc-André Hamelin – Piano recital
University of Western Australia
Octagon Theatre
Sunday 27th September 2009

In Perth for his performances of Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Marc-André Hamelin completed his Australian tour with a recital at the University of Western Australia’s Octagon Theatre. Perhaps due to the long weekend and another similarly-timed concert, a disappointingly small audience were treated to a remarkable display of “extreme virtuosity” and sublime musicianship by the French-Canadian pianist, now a resident of Boston.

Berg’s Sonata Op.1 evidenced a succinctness and clarity of line and phrasing, a brilliant foil for Liszt’s richly virtuosic Sonata in B minor. Dazzling virtuosity in the latter was always a servant to the music, never its master.

The second half opened with a selection from Debussy’s Preludes book 2 followed by recently completed works penned by the soloist himself. “La puerta del vino”, “les fées son d’exquises danseuses”, “les tierces alternées” and “feux d’artifice” are flights of fancy and delicacy and were a sheer delight in the hands of such mastery. The ensuing works by Marc-André Hamelin’s own hand were from his twelve etudes in all the minor keys. Commenced some 20 years prior, the last of these (number 11) was actually completed during his stay in Perth. No. 8 ‘Erlkönig’, No 2. ‘Coma Berenices’, No 7. ‘After Tchaikowsky’, and no. 12. ‘Prelude and Fugue’ drew on on Mr Hamelin’s formidable breadth of understanding of the solo piano tradition, whilst paying homage to the aforementioned influences. The most recently-completed etude was not performed at this concert but Mr Hamelin promised an airing on a subsequent visit.

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