Romantic Piano Encores
Kenneth Hamilton performs a stunning selection of Romantic Piano Encores. This album is a balm: beautifully and sensitively played, bringing a sense of peace and calm.
Hamilton writes: "This is an album of pieces I've long loved to play. It's also a paradox: encores without a preceding programme; musical icing without the cake. But the tracks here were at least recorded as "encores"played in joyful relaxation and relief towards the end of sessions largely devoted to other albums. Some of the pieces are pretty short, including the premiere recording of the elegant arrangement of Saint-Saëns' Swan by one of my teachers, the late Lawrence Glover. Three of them--Mendelssohn's quirky "Last Rose of Summer", Grainger's luscious Rosenkavalier Ramble, and Ignaz Friedman's fabulous version of Voices of Spring--are fairly substantial, and the anchors of the programme. The final track (Godowsky's Symphonic Metamorphosis on the "Artist's Life" Waltz) is even longer. It's really too long, I admit, to be an encore in a public concert, but it's undeniably a lot of fun, and makes a great close for a CD. Hopefully, listeners will be both shaken and stirred.
Described by the Moscow Kommersant as "an outstanding virtuoso one of the finest players of his generation", by Tom Service in the Guardian as "pianist, author, lecturer and all-round virtuoso", and by Stefan Pieper in Klassik Heute as a "pianist, scholar, maverick thinker and philosopher", Kenneth Hamilton is well-known internationally as a recitalist and recording artist of originality and emotional depth. His CDs have attracted both critical acclaim and a large number of listeners worldwide.
He is a familiar artist on BBC Radio 3, Radio 4 and the World Service, and a keen communicator. His recent BBC Radio 3 broadcast My Life in Music: "Now, O now, I needs must part", was described by Sir Nicholas Kenyon in The Observer as "Revelatory touching a personal story of loss and death that reaches out from the radio. That is what broadcasting is all about."
Hamilton's recordings for the Prima Facie label: Kenneth Hamilton Plays Ronald Stevenson Volumes 1 and 2; Back to Bach: Tributes and Transcriptions by Liszt, Rachmaninov and Busoni; Preludes to Chopin; and More Preludes to Chopin have enjoyed outstanding reviews: "played with understanding and brilliance" (Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review); "an unmissable disk fascinating music presented with power, passion and precision" (Colin Clarke, Fanfare); "precise control and brilliance" (Andrew Clements, The Guardian); "thrilling" (Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone); "a gorgeous recording and excellent performance" (Jack Sullivan, American Record Guide).
More Preludes to Chopin was chosen as one of Spotify's "Best Classical New Releases". Hamilton's Chopin has attracted especial attention for the originality of its performance style. For Dr Chang Tou Liang of the Singapore Straits Timesit encourages "a new way of listening to Chopin". Stefan Pieper (Klassik Heute) commented: "Hamilton's approach to Chopin ignores the pianistic fashions of today's music market, challenges the dogmas of historical performance practice, and offers an entire palette of new and intriguing experiences." James Manheim (AllMusic) wrote: "The commercial success of this release shows how strongly audiences hunger for fresh interpretations of mainstream repertory, and a fresh interpretation is exactly what you get." Ralph Locke (ArtsFuse) concluded "This is real music-making, not subservient reciting from a sacred text. Hamilton's Chopin could change your whole attitude toward the role of the performer in classical music."
Forthcoming releases include Volumes 1 and 2 of Kenneth Hamilton Plays Liszt, and the next instalments of Hamilton's Stevenson and Chopin series.
Track 1. J.S. Bach/Alexander Siloti: Prelude in B minor 2. John Dowland/Percy Grainger: "Now, O now I needs must part" 3. J.S. Bach/Charles Valentin Alkan: Siciliano 4. Felix Mendelssohn: Fantasy on the Irish Air "The Last Rose of Summer" 5. Percy Grainger: Irish Tune from County Derry 6. Robert Schumann/Franz Liszt: "Widmung" 7. Richard Strauss/Percy Grainger: Rosenkavalier Ramble 8. Percy Grainger: Colonial Song 9. Johann Strauss/Ignaz Friedman: "Voices of Spring" Waltz 10. Edward Elgar: In Smyrna 11. Camille Saint-Saens/Lawrence Glover: The Swan 12. Ignaz Paderewski: Nocturne in Bb Major, Op. 16 No. 4 13. Peter Tchaikovsky/Sergei. Rachmaninov: Lullaby 14. Leopold Godowsky: Symphonic Metamorphosis on Johann Strauss's "Artist's Life" Waltz
"The playing is stunning, from first note to the last. Every track here is a winner.This is a splendidly imaginative programme that interests, inspires and amazes. Hopefully there will be more from this remarkable pianist and his wide-ranging repertoire. As they used to say in the music halls, "Never mind the encore, just play it again!" These Encores will give pleasure and entertainment for years to come." MusicWeb International "Hamilton's fondness for the extreme outer edges of the piano repertoire bring a sense of spice and adventure to this recitalyou can feel his love for these often complex arrangements" Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review
"a treasure trove of sound - beautifully shaped performances of music both well-known and awaiting discovery, each performance shaped like an individual jewel." Colin Clarke, Classical Explorer
"brilliantdelightful...an entirely satisfying programme" James Manheim, AllMusic
"An immensely appealing collectionOh, if all piano CDs were put together with such imagination! And played with such spontaneity and grace--yet with total precision. How does he do it, exactly?" - Ralph Locke, ArtsFuse
- J.S. Bach/Alexander Siloti: Prelude in B minor
- John Dowland/Percy Grainger: "Now, O now I needs must part"
- J.S. Bach/Charles Valentin Alkan: Siciliano
- Felix Mendelssohn: Fantasy on the Irish Air "The Last Rose of Summer"
- Percy Grainger: Irish Tune from County Derry
- Robert Schumann/Franz Liszt: "Widmung"
- Richard Strauss/Percy Grainger: Rosenkavalier Ramble
- Percy Grainger: Colonial Song
- Johann Strauss/Ignaz Friedman: "Voices of Spring" Waltz
- Edward Elgar: In Smyrna
- Camille Saint-Saens/Lawrence Glover: The Swan
- Ignaz Paderewski: Nocturne in Bb Major, Op. 16 No. 4
- Peter Tchaikovsky/Sergei. Rachmaninov: Lullaby
- Leopold Godowsky: Symphonic Metamorphosis on Johann Strauss's "Artist's Life" Waltz
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