More Preludes to Chopin (PFCD134) £12.50
Kenneth Hamilton - piano
An Official Classical Chart top 10 recording
Selected by Spotify as a 'very best Classical new release'
- Prelude in C-minor, op.28 no.20 (1’38”)
- Nocturne in C-minor, op.48 no.1 (5’58”)
- Prelude in E-minor, op.28 no.4 (1’44”)
- Waltz in A-minor, op.34 no.2 (4’38”)
- Prelude in E major, op.28 no.9 (1’04”)
- Polonaise-Fantasy, op.61 (13’03”)
- Prelude in Bb minor, op.28 no.16 (1’12”)
- Nocturne in Eb major, op. 55 no.2 (4”36’)
- Prelude Db major (Raindrop), op.28 no.15 (5’18”)
- Prelude in C# minor, op.28 no.10 (0’30”)
- Waltz in C# minor, op.64 no.2 (2’52”)
- Prelude in Bb major, op.28 no.21 (2’08”)
- Nocturne in Eb major, op. 9 no.2 (4’20”)
- Prelude in F major, op.28 no.23 (1’00”)
- Brilliant Variations on the Rondo “Je vends des scapulaires” from Ludovic, op.12 (7’37”)
- Prelude in C-major, op.28 no.1 (0’.50”)
- Ballade No.1 in G minor, op.23 (8’42”)
"Here is a release that stands out from the crowds by a country mile. Well recorded, played with real mastery, and including fabulously but unsurprisingly eloquent notes from Hamilton himself, any lover of Chopin’s music - and indeed of piano playing - should acquire this urgently." Colin Clarke, Fanfare
"All these pieces are superbly played… It is to be hoped that Volume 3 of this project will soon be released. It will be interesting to see what ‘longer’ pieces are coupled with the remaining Preludes." John France, Music Web International
"Both of Hamilton’s Chopin albums have been commercially successful, a testimony to the strength of audience interest in fresh interpretations of core Romantic repertory…Hamilton is a successful new voice." James Manheim, AllMusic
"Imaginative and ingenious...Hamilton’s playing is up there with the best of Chopin interpreters, and it is his spirited advocacy of programme planning by preluding that makes this recital disc stand above the routine." Dr Chang Tou Liang, Pianomania, Singapore
"Explosively brilliant piano playing…Hamilton’s technical pianistic finesse is spectacular…this isn’t a Chopin "for beginners" — instead, one can’t help quickly succumbing to the intriguingly untamed nature of Hamilton’s playing." Stefan Pieper, Klassik Heute
"Magical… Hamilton’s playing here enchanted me and kept me listening for one pleasant surprise after another, each utterly convincing…This is real music-making, not subservient reciting from a sacred text. Hamilton’s Chopin could change your whole attitude toward the role of the performer in classical music." Ralph P. Locke, ArtsFuse
Following the extremely popular and critically acclaimed CD 'Preludes to Chopin', Prima Facie Records presents 'More Preludes to Chopin', a remarkable and thought-provoking new CD by Kenneth Hamilton, as the latest release in its Heritage series.
Hamilton writes: “I was delighted, encouraged and touched by the reception of 'Preludes to Chopin'. 'More Preludes to Chopin' is the second instalment of what will eventually be a three-CD cycle, presenting all of Chopin’s preludes as prefaces to longer pieces. As with the original CD, this new recording shares its inspiration with that of my book 'After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance' (Oxford University Press): a fascination with the performance styles of the so-called “golden age” of pianism from Chopin and Liszt to Paderewski - from around 1830 to 1945 - and an abiding interest in how Romantic and late-Romantic approaches might be adopted or adapted in a modern context to enrich our own playing.”
'Preludes to Chopin' attracted intense attention for the originality of its performance style. For Dr Chang Tou Liang of the Singapore Straits Times it offered "a new way of listening to Chopin". Stefan Pieper (Klassik Heute) commented: "Hamilton’s approach to Chopin ignores the pianistic fashions of today’s music market, challenges the dogmas of historical performance practice, and offers an entire palette of new and intriguing experiences"; while James Manheim (AllMusic) wrote: "The commercial success of this release shows how strongly audiences hunger for fresh interpretations of mainstream repertory, and a fresh interpretation is exactly what you get."
This new recording features a strikingly eloquent later version of Chopin’s famous Nocturne op.9 no.2 using the composer’s personal variants, an epic rendition of the dramatic C minor Nocturne inspired by Chopin’s own interpretative advice to his students, and a gripping performance of the great Polonaise-Fantasy. The CD is accompanied by Hamilton’s fascinating notes on the pieces and their performance history, which you can read on the Prima Facie blog.
Kenneth Hamilton's interview from the radio programme 'Conducting Conversations', on station Classical 959, includes excerpts from 'More Preludes to Chopin'. You can listen to the programme here:
Described by the Moscow Kommersant as “an outstanding virtuoso−one of the finest players of his generation”, by the Singapore Straits Times as “a formidable virtuoso,” and by Tom Service in the Guardian as "pianist, author, lecturer and all-round virtuoso", Kenneth Hamilton performs internationally as a recitalist and concerto soloist. His CDs have attracted both critical acclaim and a large number of listeners worldwide; his award-winning book, the Classical music best-seller 'After the Golden Age: Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance' (Oxford University Press), was welcomed as "full of wit and interest, and written with passion" by Charles Rosen (Times Literary Supplement), and as a "deft and sympathetic account of the old school virtuosos" by Alex Ross (The New Yorker).
Hamilton is deeply grateful for his pianistic training in Scotland with Lawrence Glover and Ronald Stevenson, experience that later informed his recordings of Stevenson’s music. He is a familiar artist on BBC Radio 3, Radio 4 and the World Service; a keen communicator, enthusiastically promoting the understanding and appreciation of music; and Head of the School of Music at Cardiff University in Wales. His most recent BBC Radio 3 broadcast, in the series 'The Essay: My Life in Music', was described by Sir Nicholas Kenyon (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’s performance of the Dowland/Grainger 'Now, O now, I needs must part', as featured on this broadcast, has now, in response to many requests, been released online.
Hamilton’s previous recordings for the Prima Facie label: Volumes 1 and 2 of 'Kenneth Hamilton Plays Ronald Stevenson', 'Back to Bach: Tributes and Transcriptions by Liszt, Rachmaninov and Busoni', and 'Preludes to Chopin' have enjoyed outstanding reviews: "played with understanding and brilliance" (Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review); "an unmissable disk… fascinating music presented with power, passion and precision" (Colin Clarke, Fanfare); "precise control and brilliance" (Andrew Clements, The Guardian); "thrilling" (Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone); "a gorgeous recording and excellent performance" (Jack Sullivan, American Record Guide). His premiere recording of John Casken’s 'Six Wooded Pieces' has recently appeared on the CD 'Stolen Airs'. Coming up later this year (2020) will be a two-disc set entitled 'Romantic Piano Encores'.