Marc-André Hamelin

Busoni: Late Piano Music

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The late piano works of Ferruccio Busoni can be characterized as virtuoso music par excellence, and because of their contrapuntal complexity, harmonic density, and technical difficulty, these pieces can have no greater champion than Marc-André Hamelin, the virtuoso's virtuoso. This Hyperion set of three CDs presents music that is far from well-known, and its obscurity adds another layer of unnecessary mystery. However, Hamelin is just the artist to sweep that all aside and present these seldom played pieces with clarity, precision, and élan to make them truly impressive. Busoni's music transcends any fixed style and is more than pastiche, though much of his work shows the influence of J.S. Bach, whose music Busoni frequently adapted for the modern piano and found to be a constant source of inspiration. Additionally, Busoni was a leader in the development of pantonal music, which is often confused with atonality, and worked out various ideas he described in his book, The Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music. Hamelin is perhaps the best guide to the complicated world of Busoni, and thanks to his astonishing playing, this music communicates more directly and powerfully than many other attempts by other pianists. Hyperion's recording is clear and reasonably close to the piano, so virtually every note can be heard.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 11:21
2 8:14
Sonatina 'ad usum infantis Madeline M Americanae' (Sonatina No. 3, BV 268)
3 1:30
4 1:32
5 0:59
6 0:52
7 2:09
8 7:55
9 5:44
10 7:42
11 2:26
Indianisches Tagebuch (Book 1), BV 267
12 2:29
13 1:28
14 3:48
15 2:33
Three Albumleaves, BV 289
16 2:30
17 1:59
18 4:57

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 9:59
2 0:50
Klavierübung
3 0:42
4 0:59
5 1:32
6 2:51
7 1:29
8 1:33
9 2:16
10 10:02
Seven Short Pieces for the Cultivation of Polyphonic Playing, BV 296 (Klavierübung, second edition, 1925, Book 9)
11 0:32
12 2:43
13 1:34
14 2:08
15 3:35
16 5:36
17 3:38
18 3:20
Prélude et étude en arpèges, BV 297
19 3:29
20 3:43
blue highlight denotes track pick