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Marc-André Hamelin performs Janáček
‘Deceptively simple melodic and chordal figurations are subverted as a result of Hamelin’s deliberately introverted playing and astonishingly delicate touch,’ writes Erik levi in his review of Marc-André Hamelin's On the overgrown path in our July issue.
Levi continues: ‘Even in the more ostensibly upbeat pieces such as ‘Come with us!’ and ‘They chattered like swallows’, Hamelin creates a feeling of uncertainty as he disrupts the flow of lively dance rhythms with moments of hesitation and gloomy introspection.’
Janáček originally conceived his collection On the overgrown path, Book 1 as arrangements of Moravian folk songs in arrangements for harmonium. But by the time of their completion, they had become ideal as a set of mood pieces for piano.
The title of the cycle refers to a Moravian wedding song in which the bride laments, ‘The path to my mother’s has become overgrown with clover.’ The pieces themselves have equally striking names – from ‘Words fail!’ and ‘Unutterable anguish’ to ‘The barn owl has not flown away!’ – scholar John Tyrell considers them among the ‘profoundest, most disturbing music that Janáček has written.'
‘Come with us!’ is a short, extrovert polka that offers a cheerful interlude to the darker works either side.
Hamelin’s recording of On the overgrown path is coupled with Schumann’s Waldszenen, Op. 82 and Kinderszenen, Op. 15 on this disc. Click on the button below to buy it.