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CD Review

Franz Liszt

Paganini Studies

  • Six Grandes Etudes de Paganini
  • Transcriptions of Schuberts Marsche fur das Pianoforte übertragen
Marc André Hamelin, piano
Hyperion CDA67370 58m DDD
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After Leslie Howard's monumental Liszt series you would have thought that Hyperion would have been resting on their laurels with any new Liszt discs. But they have done exactly the opposite with this splendid pairing of two legendary transcription sets featuring the equally sensational Marc André Hamelin, the 'star' pianist on the company's roster (if the other pianists will permit that tag!).

His interpretations of the tricky and demoniacally technical 'Paganini Etudes' are nothing short of awesome with the famous 3rd quite magical and also very much assured. My personal favourites are the Schubert Funeral Marches which dance along quite magically especially the aptly titled 'Grand March'.

It is rather difficult to choose between Howard or Hamelin but the young Canadian pianist has definitely laid down the gauntlet to the legends in this repertoire such as Jorge Bolet. A strongly focused recording adds to the allure of this release.

Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech