Marc-André Hamelin

Haydn: Piano Sonatas, Vol. 3

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Famed virtuoso pianist Marc-André Hamelin is best known for his recordings of extraordinarily difficult keyboard music, such as the mysterious sonatas of Alexander Scriabin, or splashy works by Franz Liszt, Charles Alkan, and Leopold Godowsky. However, his recordings of the classical piano sonatas of Franz Joseph Haydn have provided a fascinating byway where listeners can appreciate Hamelin's artistry in music of comparative simplicity and abundant elegance and wit. The third volume in Hyperion's critically praised series is a double-disc, like the previous volumes, and presents 11 sonatas selected from the early, middle, and late series. Characteristically for Hamelin, the playing is brisk and sparkling, and still bespeaks his showmanship, though the approach he takes is not authentic to the period, and his interpretations seem to transcend stylistic dogma. Instead, he relies on his own taste and sense of proportions to make music that should appeal to any listener for its good natured moods and attractive formal balance, mixed with sensitive expressions. Hyperion's recorded sound is clean and noiseless, so every note of these nuanced performances is exquisitely preserved. Highly recommended.

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