Marc-Andre Hamelin, Piano
Nearly three decades have passed since Marc-André Hamelin emerged as the new titan of solo piano. Although a lauded composer in his own right, he has staked his performance career on definitive interpretations of landmark works, cultivating a reputation for technical sophistication and musical bravado. In the twenty years since The New York Times proclaimed Hamelin had "made a career of playing the seemingly unplayable," he has only gotten better, exploring lesser-known composers and modern masters alike, all the while expanding the emotional breadth of his playing.
Hamelin presents a characteristically bold program fit for a pianist whose hands The New Yorker called "among the wonders of the musical world." He begins with Busoni's arrangement of Bach's Chaconne in D Minor, conjuring a church organ's power. Pianist and composer Samuil Feinberg's Sonatas No. 5 and 6, fascinating and little-known works of Russian Modernism from the 1920s, lead into six popular songs by French singer-songwriter Charles Trenet. Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Cipressi is a spellbinding meditation on Italy's stately cypress trees. Hamelin concludes with Chopin's grand Polonaise-Fantaisie in A-flat Major, and his playful Scherzo No. 4 in E major, with its rapid cascades of notes and moments of sublime delicacy.