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Marc-André Hamelin, Piano

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Marc-André Hamelin by Sim Canetty-Clarke
Russian music from the imperial and Soviet eras sets the stage for Schubert’s moving contemplation on his own mortality. Scriabin’s Fantasy and Feinberg’s dark-hued Sonata No. 3 are both impassioned works that present substantial technical challenges. No less daunting are Prokofiev’s set of five pungent Sarcasms, innovative works of great color and rhythmic drive. In Schubert’s B-flat Major Sonata, written two months before his death, the composer ponders his end in the first two movements, but an energetic scherzo lightens the mood before the driving finale.


Marc-André Hamelin, Piano


SCRIABIN Fantasy in B Minor, Op. 28

PROKOFIEV Sarcasms, Op. 17

FEINBERG Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 3

SCHUBERT Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960


FAURÉ Barcarolle No. 3 in G-flat Major, Op. 42

DEBUSSY "Général Lavine - eccentric" from Préludes, Book II, No. 6

MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN "Music Box" from Con Intimissimo Sentimento, No. 5

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.

In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.

At a Glance

SCRIABIN  Fantasy in B Minor, Op. 28

Scriabin began his career as a Romantic composer-pianist in the Lisztian mold and ended it as a proto-modernist. Written at the dawn of the 20th century, the intensely virtuosic Fantasy in B Minor illustrates his luminous, not-quite-atonal harmonies, which have much in common with the vocabulary of Liszt, Debussy, and early Schoenberg.


PROKOFIEV  Sarcasms, Op. 17

Reviewers often used words like steely, volcanic, and tempestuous to describe Prokofiev’s piano playing, but he also showed a softer, more poetic side in both his performances and his compositions. This suite of miniature character pieces dates from his student years in St. Petersburg and resembles his contemporaneous Second Piano Sonata in its extreme contrasts of style, mood, texture, and tonality.


FEINBERG  Piano Sonata No. 3, Op. 3

A lesser-known exemplar of the great Russian pianistic tradition, Samuil Feinberg joined the faculty of the Moscow Conservatory seven years after Scriabin’s death. Most of his 12 piano sonatas are cast in a single highly concentrated movement; the three-movement Sonata No. 3, composed during the latter part of World War I, recalls Scriabin’s music in its feverish intensity and fleeting glimpses of ecstasy.


SCHUBERT  Piano Sonata in B-flat Major, D. 960

Schubert’s last three piano sonatas, composed in the months leading up to his untimely death, are notable for the grandeur of their conception. The first movement of the Sonata in B-flat Major is one of the composer’s most spacious musical structures, being almost as long as the other three movements combined.


Marc-André Hamelin

Marc-André Hamelin is known worldwide for his unrivaled blend of consummate musicianship and brilliant technique in the great works of the established repertoire, as well as for his intrepid exploration of the rarities of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries in concert and on recordings.

Mr. ...

Marc-André Hamelin is known worldwide for his unrivaled blend of consummate musicianship and brilliant technique in the great works of the established repertoire, as well as for his intrepid exploration of the rarities of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries in concert and on recordings.

Mr. Hamelin began the 2019–2020 season with a performance of Brahms’s piano concertos with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal and Yannick Nézet-Séguin at the Festival de Lanaudière, and the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth’s Piano Concerto at the BBC Proms, led by the composer. Additional appearances include recitals at the Schubertiade, Helsingborg, Mänttä, Domaine Forget, Orford, and Newport music festivals, and at the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival with friend and frequent collaborator Leif Ove Andsnes. Mr. Hamelin’s recital appearances this season include London’s Wigmore Hall, the George Enescu Festival, and the Heidelberg Festival; at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie for the Husum Rarities of Piano Music Festival; in Moscow with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra; and in Ascona, Prague, Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, and Monte Carlo.

Mr. Hamelin is the inaugural guest curator for Portland Piano International, where he opens the season with two solo recitals. He returns to San Francisco Performances—a series with which he has a long and deeply supportive artistic relationship—as a Perspectives Artist for its 40th anniversary season, with performances that include a solo recital, Winterreise with tenor Mark Padmore; and the world premiere of his own Piano Quintet, commissioned by San Francisco Performances, with the Alexander String Quartet.

An exclusive recording artist for Hyperion Records, Mr. Hamelin’s discography includes more than 60 albums, with notable recordings of a broad range of repertoire. Mr. Hamelin’s upcoming recordings include a release next month with the Takács Quartet, as well as a solo album of Feinberg works that includes the Op. 3 Piano Sonata featured on this evening’s program. Recent recordings include Schubert’s Piano Sonata in B-Flat Major, D. 960, and Four Impromptus, D. 935; Feldman’s For Bunita Marcus; a landmark recording of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Concerto for Two Pianos with Mr. Andsnes; and Medtner’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Rachmaninoff ’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski.

Mr. Hamelin has also composed nearly 30 works throughout his career. The majority of these works—including the études and Toccata on “L’homme armé,” commissioned by the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition—are published by Edition Peters.

Mr. Hamelin lives in Boston with his wife, Cathy Fuller. Born in Montreal, he is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the German Record Critics’ Award Association. Mr. Hamelin has also received seven JUNO Awards and 11 Grammy Award nominations. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec, and member of the Royal Society of Canada.

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