Preludes to Chopin by Professor Kenneth Hamilton
4 October 2018
Professor Kenneth Hamilton has given a premiere concert of pieces from his forthcoming album, Preludes to Chopin.
Performing at the School of Music on Tuesday 9 October, the Head of School performed a selection of pieces from the album and spoke on the history of the pieces.
The album follows his two previous widely admired recordings, Back to Bach (2017) and Ronald Stevenson (2016).
The recording features the great Chopin Sonatas and the Barcarolle, along with two rarities: Busoni’s dramatic reworking of the “Heroic” Polonaise, and a hauntingly nostalgic version of the Chopin/Liszt ‘My Joys’, played according the Liszt student Bernhard Stavenhagen’s “personal memories of Liszt”.
The CD is accompanied by Professor Hamilton’s own detailed notes on the pieces and their performance. In them he writes “My inspiration here is a fascination with the “golden age” of piano-playing from Chopin to Paderewski. I’ve placed Chopin’s wonderful Preludes where they were originally intended – as exquisite prefaces to longer pieces – and tried to channel the spirit of Romantic performance style.”
Alongside his roles as Head of the School of Music and International Dean for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Hamilton performs worldwide as a recitalist, concerto soloist and broadcaster. He has previously been described as “an outstanding virtuoso – one of the finest players of his generation” by Moscow’s Kommersant, and as a performer “full of energy and wit” by the New York Times.
Speaking of the album, Professor Hamilton said: “I tried to produce a very special sound for this CD: a moonlit, silvery sonority that I think of as “Chopinesque“. I hope I’ve succeeded—but that’s ultimately up to the listener to judge!”