Marc-André Hamelin has made a name for himself as one of the most interesting pianists of our time – not only as an interpreter of breathtakingly virtuoso late Romantic piano music, but also as a specialist in repertoire outsiders. At his recital in the Chamber Music Hall, the French Canadian, who has received numerous international awards, will give us a taste of his interpretative versatility.
On the first half of the programme, besides compositions by Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven, Hamelin will play two piano sonatas by the Russian Jewish pianist and composer Samuil Feinberg, who died in 1962. After drawing attention to his sensitive, technically flawless piano playing in 1920s Berlin with concerts, radio broadcasts and recordings with Deutsche Grammophon, the strict travel restrictions of Stalinist cultural policy provided Feinberg with no opportunity to continue his pianist career in Western Europe. His compositions were hardly received, even in Feinberg’s home country, as they did not fit the officially propagated ideal of “socialist realism”.
The second part of the concert opens with Alexander Scriabin’s mystical Piano Sonata No. 7, known as the White Mass. The programme continues with music by Frédéric Chopin: His Second Piano Sonata in B flat minor, inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven’s dramatic expression. This work became famous mainly for its third movement: a suggestive, gloomy Marche funèbre whose relentlessness and unyielding rhythm suggest a solemn funeral procession.