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This is truly inspired programming, and just as inspired playing. Hamelin links Schumann’s introspection with the shadowy reminiscences of Janáček in the first book of the latter’s Po zarostlém chodničku. A previous performance of this by Hamelin, available on Danacord (from Schloss von Husum, DACOCD559), is supplanted thanks to Hyperion’s impeccable production values. The idea of Romantic and post-Romantic ‘Rückblick’ is viscerally and powerfully made here, with Hamelin moulding his mode of delivery to each composer. Janáček’s individualistic textures have rarely felt so natural (although Kvapil on Regis is a more than viable alternative). The Schumann items take on a new fragility, conspiratorially delivered fairytales. There is not a hint of over-familiarity anywhere, even in the exquisitely managed Träumerei. A truly special and noteworthy achievement.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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