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3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 10 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #132,260 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Papillons, op.2 - Fantasiestücke, op.12 - Carnaval, op.9 / Marc-André Hamelin, piano

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Format: Audio CD
Le Carnaval op.9 par Hamelin est probablement le meilleur que vous trouverez sur disque. Le reste est moins convaincant.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa0f0563c) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0fd763c) out of 5 stars Beautiful June 20 2006
By Gareth Ross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
What a stunning CD!

I thoroughly enjoy listening to this CD - the music is enchanting and Hamelin's performances are no less so. He has a great imagination with these groups of piano 'miniatures', giving each piece its own individual character. The 'Carnaval' is particularly spectacular, played with ease and such a high level of musicianship. My favourite moment is in the 'March of the Philistines' where hamelin plays a C octave an octave lower, with incredible sound! Not to mention the breath-taking pace at which he takes 'Paganini'!

A CD well-worth buying for lovers of Schumann, as well as for Hamelin fans.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0f0be40) out of 5 stars Marc-Andre Hamelin Plays Schumann Dec 18 2007
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Marc-Andre Hamelin,one of the most gifted pianists of our time, has recorded works of little-known composers, such as the American Leo Orenstein, together with standard works, such as a recent two-volume set of Haydn sonatas. In this CD, Hamelin performs three of Robert Schumann's most poetic and romantic works for piano, the early Papillons, the Fantasiestucke, and Carnaval. Hamelin's virtuosity on the piano is beyond question; and in this CD he displays the most lyrical and sensitive musicianship to accompany his technical gifts.

Much of Schumann's early piano music draws upon his love of literature, as do each of the three works here. Schumann composed Papillons, Opus 2 in 1832 as a young man of 20 under the influence of a romantic novel by John Paul Richter. The twelve pieces in the collection are dances in a variety of moods -- some tender and reflective, others fiery and passionate. The music is full of both fluttering, light passages and of heavy, marked octaves. The Russian pianist Sviatoslav Richter made a famous recording of this work, and I enjoyed comparing his reading with the varying tempos and interpretations of Hamelin. Both Richter and Hamelin offer outstanding readings of Papillons.

Schumann eight "fantasypieces" opus 12 dates from 1838, six years after Papillons. I had the opportunity to hear Hamelin perform this work live in a concert at Washington D.C.'s National Gallery in 2003. (In fact, he autographed my score of the work.) Probably the best-known portion of this piece is the short selection "Warum". In listening to this recording, I was taken with the opening work, "Das Abends", and with the lightness with which Hamelin plays the difficultly syncopated theme in triplets that runs through the work. In this collection again, Schumann alternates moments of lyricism and introspection with works of bravura. Hamelin captures the impulsively changing moods of this music.

Schumann's Carnaval, opus 9 is one of my beloved works of music for the piano and a highpoint of musical romanticism. I have myself attempted it on the piano. In Carnaval, Schumann depicts characters at a masked ball. He portrays two aspects of himself in the pieces called "Eusebius" and "Florestan". He offers a musical portrait of his wife-to-be, Clara Wieck, in a piece captioned "Chiarina" together with a depiction of a former romantic interest in "Estrella". Chopin and Paganini receive musical portrayals in "Carnaval" -- the latter in a devilishly difficult work which captures Paganini's violin technique, and there are dance interludes and portrayals of figures from the comedia de l'arte such as "harlequin". The work exhibits a spirit of love and artistic optimism as Schumann writes a finale depicting the triumph of art and creativity against the materialism and philistinism of his day.

In its passion, lyricism and celebration of feeling, Schumann's romanticism has much to teach our skeptical age. Whether you are coming to Schumann's music anew or whether you have heard it countless times, this splendid recording by Haemelin will reveal to you the fire and imagination of this great composer.

Robin Friedman
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0f05534) out of 5 stars Hamelin Clears Away the Cobwebs June 10 2007
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Marc-André Hamelin has taken some critical brickbats when he has essayed standard repertoire, and he certainly got them for his first Schumann CD, the one containing the Fantasie. I was not among those who carped about those performances. And I do not sense any deficiency in this more recent disc that contains Papillons, Fantasiestücke and, best of, Carnaval. I think one reason some critics have taken Hamelin to task is that he has such a reputation as a virtuoso that they think he must not have any of the poet in him. (One used to hear the same sort of thing about Horowitz.) But anyone who has listened to his recordings of rather more off-beat composers -- Alkan, Roslavets, Medtner, Scriabin, Catoire -- will have to admit, I think, that there is plenty of poetry in his playing. However, he does not deal in sentimentality and perhaps that is what some listeners miss.

It seems to me that these readings of three of Schumann's most popular works are a breath of fresh air. Papillons and the Fantasiestücke, for instance, tend to move right along -- although the latter's 'In der Nacht' certainly dwells in a perfumed and romantic atmosphere. This briskness is all to the good, I believe.

When it comes to Carnaval Hamelin has come up with a new-sounding approach -- at least in my experience -- in that he does not romanticize the little character pieces, but rather plays them almost classically. This is not to say that 'Chopin' does not partake of that composer's tonal beauty or that 'Eusebius' is not pensive, musing. But on the whole Hamelin plays this music with bracing élan and I loved it. These are pieces I've played myself for nigh on fifty years and yet I heard things I'd never noticed, or heard things I'd never thought of before, and that is something I look for in a performances of these or any familiar works. Bravo, Mr Hamelin. You clearly are not just a virtuoso, you're a thinking and feeling musician.

A definite recommendation.

Scott Morrison
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Mauro Guzzo Decca - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I owe to Hamelin my appreciation for Schumann's music. It was not until I attended one of his recitals that I really began to make sense of Schumann's compositions and let myself into his sad, tortured and yet unexplainably redeeming world. A friend told me that he always came forth from it as a slightly better and more compassionate human being, and I quite agree with that as far as I'm concerned. I had the invaluable opportunity to watch Hamelin play live the Fantasiestücke and I certainly will never forget it. The music in this disc is deeply moving and disarming. I've never heard the Fantasiestücke being played with such wisdom and insight. From the almost unbearably poignant "Des Abends" to the exhilarating and exciting "Carnival", Hamelin plays the piano soulfully and with jaw-dropping technical dexterity. A must-have.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0f0675c) out of 5 stars A Different Take...and a Refreshing One Dec 3 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As more than one other reviewer has noted, in these works Marc-Andre Hamelin plays Schumann almost from a Classical perspective at times, and I don't think that's necessarily such a bad thing. When these pieces were written in the 1830s, after all, the Classical era of music was still in the living memory of more than a few, and perhaps subsequent decades of Romantic influence added performance layers to this music that were not present during its composition. So maybe, as one other reviewer has said, Hamelin is simply clearing away the cobwebs. Actually, I'm not sure that's the best way to describe what happens on this disc, but I do agree that these renditions ratchet back the compositions to that era when the Classical traditions were more than a forgotten echo. And in removing those layers, Hamelin does allow one to experience these pieces from a different perspective than the usual Romantic-soaked one. I'm not saying that makes his recordings better or worse; just that they're different and, to my ears, rather refreshing. I do agree with another reviewer that in places the pianist goes just a tad bit too fast -- even his superb technique doesn't prevent the performances from occasionally obscuring rather than illuminating, but those moments are to my mind relatively rare and more than made up for by the much longer stretches of hearing old pieces become fresh again. If you're a committed Romantic, you might not cozy up to these recordings much, but I suggest you give them a bit of a try nonetheless. Whether they turn out to be cobwebs or something else, the habits that accumulate in one's mind can stand a shaking out now and then.