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Handel Remembered: Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and more... (PFCD235) £12.50/£17.50

Kenneth Hamilton – piano

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Track List

1. G. F. Handel/C. V. Alkan: Chorus of the Priests of Dagon: “Awake the trumpet’s lofty sound” (from Samson)
2-3. Franz Liszt: Sarabande and Chaconne from Handel’s Almira, S181
4. Ludwig van Beethoven: 32 Variations in C minor, WoO80
5. G. F. Handel/Wilhelm Kempff: Minuet, HWV 434/4
6-9. W. A. Mozart: Suite “in the style of Handel”, K.399: Overture - Allemande - Courante - Sarabande (fragment)
10. W. A. Mozart: A Little Gigue, K.574
11. G. F. Handel/Percy Grainger: Hornpipe (from the Water Music)
12-38. Johannes Brahms: Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Handel, op.24
39. C. W. Gluck/Johannes Brahms: Gavotte
40. Percy Grainger: “Handel in the Strand”

Antique view of London with Thames and St Paul's

About this Album

Handel Remembered is a rare recording of piano pieces inspired not by JS Bach, but by his great contemporary George Frideric Handel, and played by Kenneth Hamilton, whose remarkable series of Liszt CDs have garnered such exceptional critical acclaim. Though the album features a little Liszt (the Sarabande and Chaconne from Handel’s Almira), its climax is a commanding performance of Brahms’ magisterial Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel. Baroque tribute pieces by Mozart and Beethoven precede the Brahms, as do Handel transcriptions by Charles Valentin Alkan, Wilhelm Kempff and Percy Grainger. The album ends with two “encores”: Brahms’ elegant arrangement of a Gavotte by Gluck, and Grainger’s uproarious Handel in the Strand. This delightfully life-enhancing disc is, as ever, supplemented by Hamilton’s unfailingly entertaining and informative programme notes.

Credits

Recorded at Cardiff University School of Music on 20/11/20, 19/8/22, 2/12/23, and 3-4/2/24.
Piano: Steinway Model D (Hamburg)
Piano Preparation: Ulrich Gerhartz
Piano Tuning: Gavin Crooks
Recording Producer: Steve Plews
Recording Editor: Phil Hardman
Front cover Image: Antonio Joli (1700-1777) “London, A View from The River Thames, with St. Paul’s”
Back Cover Image: Handel Memorial, Westminster Abbey, London
Photo of Kenneth Hamilton by Andrew Bi
Booklet Notes: Kenneth Hamilton
Booklet Editor: Monika Hennemann
Artwork: Simon Crosby Buttle

You can read Kenneth Hamilton's sleeve notes from Handel Remembered on the Prima Facie blog, Recitative.

Kenneth Hamilton

Kenneth Hamilton head and shoulders smiling
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 Klassik Heute as a “pianist, scholar, radical thinker and philosopher”, Kenneth Hamilton is well-known worldwide as a recitalist and recording artist of emotional depth and striking originality. His latest releases have enjoyed especially exceptional critical acclaim: Volume 1 of Kenneth Hamilton Plays Liszt: Death and Transfiguration was selected as a Gramophone “Best Classical Album of 2022”; Volume 2, Salon and Stage was the Guardian’s “Best Classical Recording of 2023”. Hamilton’s After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance (Oxford University Press) is one of the most internationally influential books on Classical piano performance, and has been translated into Italian, Hungarian and, most recently, Mandarin.

Hamilton is a familiar artist on the BBC in the UK, and a keen communicator, enthusiastically promoting the understanding and appreciation of music. He contributes a regular column, “Musings of a Musician”, for International Piano Magazine. One of his BBC broadcasts, in the series The Essay: My Life in Music, 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 has also appeared on radio and television in Germany, France, the US, Canada, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand, China and Russia, including a performance of Chopin’s first piano concerto with the Istanbul Chamber Orchestra on Turkish Television, and in a dual role as pianist and presenter for the television programme Mendelssohn in Scotland, broadcast by Deutsche Welle Channel.

Hamilton remains deeply grateful for his pianistic training in Scotland with Lawrence Glover and Ronald Stevenson. His recordings of Stevenson’s music, and of works by a host of other composers, including Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Grainger, Godowsky, Pedro Faria Gomes and John Casken have received outstanding reviews: “played with understanding and brilliance” (Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review); “precise control and brilliance” (Andrew Clements, The Guardian); “thrilling” (Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone); “a gorgeous recording and excellent performance” (Jack Sullivan, American Record Guide); “this is real music-making, not subservient reciting from a sacred text (Ralph Locke, ArtsFuse).

Hamilton is a Professor of Music at Cardiff University in Wales. He has been a visiting artist and guest professor at many institutions worldwide, including the Franz Liszt Academy in Hungary, the St Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, and the University of Miami in the US. Travel restrictions permitting, he gives regular masterclasses in China and the Far East. His next album will be Volume 3 of his Liszt series, entitled For Whom the Bell Tolls...