NJSO concludes the 2014-15 season with Beethoven
The piano's elaborate entrance provides an opportunity for showmanship, but Hamelin's performance was remarkable from the start for its seeming effortlessness and beauty of tone, no matter how intricate the music. His sound was round, silken and smooth, yet with laser-like articulation as well as thoughtful, personal phrasing.
The performance was also notable for its clear voicing, with depth in left hand lower register as melodies spun out energetically from the right hand alongside sensitive wind solos.
There were dreamy lulling moments, and Hamelin proved confident in weighty octaves and dense passages. The interpretation was meticulously paced, gradually gaining force.
Rugged, affirmative fanfare from orchestra complemented the soloist's displays of might.
The Adagio un poco mosso was fittingly gentle, like an exhalation after the athleticism of the massive first movement, and the whirling dance of the finale had spot-on, twinkle-in-the-eye charm.
Throughout, there was a sense of strength and bold personality so intrinsic to the composer yet a particular grace that was Hamelin's own.
— Ronni Reich,
Review: New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Mr. Hamelin continues his triumphant march through the standard repertory, after years spent exploring arcane material heavy on virtuosic display. The “Emperor” Concerto, for all its musical substance, offers ample scope for virtuosity, and Mr. Hamelin showed his usual easy command in a reading as notable for its exquisite pianissimos and beautifully shaped phrases as for its Beethovenian bluster.
— James R. Oestreich,
The New York Times
Cleveland Orchestra proves there's no such thing as too much Haydn
"None, though, ranked as highly on the clarity scale as pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin... His Adagio was a thing of special beauty. Through him was channeled Haydn himself, engrossed at the keyboard in a moment of profound, personal reflection. Silken phrasing, Hamelin‘s fairy-like touch, and the score‘s own gentle dissonance combined to conjure a musical scene rare both then and today."
— Zachary Lewis,
The Plain Dealer
Will lightning strike twice with Seattle Symphony soloist?
"Hamelin made it clear in his Grieg Concerto performance that he brings more than a set of speedy digits to the concert stage. He is an intelligent and thoughtful artist, one who illuminates the tender eloquence of the Grieg as well as the thundering octaves and bravura flourishes. Hamelin’s clarity of touch was especially evident in the first-movement cadenza, which he played with great freedom."
— Melinda Bargreen,
The Seattle Times
Pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin makes claim on greatness
"Schubert‘s Piano Sonata in B-flat... utterly distinctive to him and rendered in a manner that could only have been cultivated over multiple decades at the keyboard... Though this sonata is full of repeated notes in regular rhythms, no such thing existed in Hamelin‘s performance but was always handled with deeply considered expressive purpose, shaping phrases with such richness and authority that I often thought, ‘So that‘s what it means!‘... Hamelin‘s virtuoso piano technique was fully harnessed in the service of Schubert‘s unvirtuosic music, allowing soft playing to make a more penetrating impression than usual."
— David Patrick Stearns,
The Philadelphia inquirer
The magic of Les Violons du Roy and Marc-André Hamelin
"Hamelin joined for a crisp, but warm, account of Mozart‘s A major Rondo and a brilliant version of Haydn‘s D major Piano Concerto."
— Tim Smith,
The Baltimore Sun
Canadians perform chamber classics
"Hamelin achieved an incredible and sensuous sound at the piano along with his clear and articulate touch... Technically Hamelin was flawless and his mastery and facility at the piano was revealed in this piece, which was enjoyable to experience."
— Jordan Buchholtz,
Kansas City Metropolis
Marc-André Hamelin's extraordinary versatility on full display
"Hamelin is known as a titanic interpreter of late Romantic and 20th-century showstoppers, but the beauty of his Mozart and Haydn shows the extraordinary versatility of his talents: supple, sensitive phrasing, dreamy legato and, always, that golden sound."
— Natasha Gauthier,
Marc-André Hamelin Turns the Keys into Silk at Koerner Hall
"The sensual elements of breeze, vibration, currents and splash were deftly evoked, especially by Hamelin’s magical undulations, so floating it was as if he had turned the keys into silk."
— Robin Roger,
Marc-André Hamelin at Koerner Hall
"Hamelin exhibited his extraordinary touch... brought more tonal definition to the next piece, a supreme example of impressionism impeccably delivered. It seemed impossible to do what he did, musically making sense of avalanches of chords and arpeggiated passages, balancing dynamics without crossing the imaginary line into gauche or inappropriate."
— Paul Ennis,
Marc-André Hamelin at 92nd Street Y
“Is it possible for a pianist to be too good? If anyone faces jeopardy with that question, it’s Marc-André Hamelin... Outwardly miraculous, beneath the surface it felt as if each note’s every possibility had been considered in advance, then ensconced in a pianism of total authority.“
— David Allen,
The New York Times
The Oregon Symphony offers ingenious French music and a piano genius
"Is there anything Marc-André Hamelin can‘t do at the piano?... He was precise and startlingly bright in the Messiaen, giving no sense of effort in confronting the piece‘s considerable technical demands. In Liszt‘s over-the-top virtuoso showpiece, a set of variations on the “Dies Irae“ cast as a quasi-concerto, he gave the keyboard pyrotechnics their full due while still completely in control of touch and tone throughout, with no slop... [He was] urged to return by a riotous ovation."
— James McQuillen,
DEBUSSY Images Books 1 & 2. Préludes, Book 2
"Marc-André Hamelin’s stature, extraordinary from the start, increases with every new issue. And here in his latest album he subdues his legendary, transcendent technique to convey Debussy’s very essence with a surpassing ease and naturalness... Hamelin’s glistening sonority is flawlessly captured by the Hyperion team. This is a disc to treasure."
— Bryce Morrison,
BUSONI: Late Piano Music
"A rich collection for piano connoisseurs of the late Romantic period, performed with impeccable polish and insight by Marc-André Hamelin... Hamelin combines spectacular technique with a clear and immediate understanding of this music."
— Zan Furtwangler,
The Takacs Quartet benefitted from red-blooded humanity
"But the seductive tone Hamelin and first violinist Edward Dusinberre brought to their soft solos was almost as disquieting as the tension of their agitated outbursts. And the performance as a whole was a thrilling exception to the over prepared and under characterized readings that dominate concert halls today."
— Alan G. Artner,
Pianist Marc-André Hamelin brings audience to its feet
"Two sets of variations penned by Hamelin demonstrated the composer-pianist’s forte for executing arpeggios and complicated runs. Of the two, “Pavane Variée,” a new composition this year, was filled with impossibly difficult counterpoint, yet Hamelin breezed through the runs with no problem... Hamelin demonstrated his broad and long experience with keyboard Romantics by applying just the right nuances of dynamics and rhythm... Hamelin’s extensive experience and training again created a beautiful rendering of this late Beethoven work. Hamelin demonstrated a commanding elegance in making the first movement runs perfect, filled with light and air."
— John Cutler,
The Lincoln Journal Star
Marc-André Hamelin, Schumann and Janacek works
"Hamelin begins with the thorny, grief-stricken Janácek and works his way back, through Schumann’s storybook forest scenes to his evocation of (mostly) innocent childhood. It’s an intriguing journey, not least because you can hear, in Hamelin’s playing, how the two composers relate."
— Jeffrey Gantz,
The Boston Globe
Chaotic Yet Pensive, Pounding the Keys
"Mr. Hamelin offered a typically virtuosic performance of the whirlwind, chaotic work, whose driving rhythms and cluster chords are interspersed with brief moments of pensive respite."
— Vivien Schweitzer,
The New York Times
Emerson, Hamelin do well by Schubert
"Hamelin made it feel as if he were Schubert himself composing the piece right before our ears, inviting us into his world. That sense of freshness and urgency hung like a glow throughout the leisurely paced first two movements."
— Harvey Steiman,
The Aspen Times
Recording of the Month: Inner Worlds Revealed
"[On an Overgrown Path] proves to be a totally compelling experience confirming Hamelin‘s strong empathy for the composer…and the two Schumann cycles here are absolutely magical."
— Malcolm Hayes,
BBC Music Magazine
Bernard Labadie conducts the CSO
"Hamelin did so with absolute conviction, his springy rhythms and crystalline fingerwork balanced against the strings and winds in such a way that there was a feeling of easy give-and-take between the piano and orchestra. Hamelin and Labadie are close colleagues and their musical responses to each were like the conversation of kindred souls. "
— John von Rhein,
Hamelin trio adds its own flair to pieces full of history
"The score showcased Hamelin’s saturated touch — from hushed clusters to hammered accents, one always feels that Hamelin is drawing the maximum amount of color from the instrument."
— Matthew Guerrieri,
The Boston Globe
Saved by the Fiterstein (Trio w/ Anthony Marwood and Martin Fröst)
"Their ensemble playing transcended the expected level of professionalism and shot straight into musical camaraderie."
— Niels Swinkels,
San Francisco Classical Voice
S.F. Performances last-minute trio sub finds chic symmetry
"The longer partnership between Marwood and Hamelin could be heard in the tautly coiled rhythms of Schubert‘s Rondo in B Minor, which opened the evening in a superb rendition that was all theatrical vigor and sharp swerves of direction."
— Joshua Kosman,
The San Francisco Chronicle
Hamelin provides the highlight in mixed Philharmonic program
"In Franck’s Variations symphoniques for piano and orchestra, Hamelin exhibited spectacular touch, crisp but blooming, tossing off glittering flourishes with ease as well as care. His softer playing was tender, and his phrasing was made supple by tasteful rubato."
— Eric C. Simpson,
New York Classical Review
Revealing explorations of Brahms by Hamelin and Ax
"It was exhilarating to hear this paragon of virtuosic refinement allow himself a more impetuous mode of playing... As usual with this pianist, however, the playing frequently silenced criticism. The martial dotted rhythms that open the sonata were astonishingly crisp, exactly as Brahms must have wanted..."
— Seth Herbst,
The Boston Globe