Prima Facie

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Back to Bach (PFCD061) £12.50

Tributes and Transcriptions performed by Kenneth Hamilton, piano

"... fabulous… some fancy finger work indeed" BBC Radio Scotland, Classics Unwrapped: Album of the Week
"An excellent recital, of Bach-inspired works, well chosen and well played throughout." Classical CD Reviews
"... a most rewarding recital from a pianist who merits far wider attention" Gramophone
"... there is no doubting Hamilton’s superb way with this music." Fanfare Magazine
"[Hamilton] pays homage to the virtuoso gestures of these Romantic arrangements with unbridled emotion, served up with a brilliant thunder of octaves along with an extra portion of ecstasy." Klassik Heute
"This is a splendid tribute not only to J S Bach but to the ingenuity and superlative pianism of three great composer-pianists of the golden age, pianism which is matched by Hamilton’s own. Highly recommended". Frances Wilson The Cross-Eyed Pianist
"Kenneth Hamilton has studied his sources in minute detail and brings new insights to Liszt’s Fantasia on Bach, his “Weinen, Klagen” variations, and dispatches Busoni’s great arrangement of the violin Chaconne with magnificent aplomb." The Observer
"Excellent…a show of imperious pianism, authoritative but persuasive“ (5/5 Stars) Dr Chang Tou Liang, Singapore Straits Times

Franz Liszt (1811-86): Fantasy and Fugue on the theme BACH
J.S. Bach (1685-1750) / Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943): Suite from the Violin Partita in E major
J.S. Bach / Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924): Chorale Prelude, “Nun komm der Heiden Heiland”
J.S. Bach / Ferruccio Busoni: Chaconne from the Violin Partita in D minor
J.S. Bach / Ferruccio Busoni: Chorale Prelude, “Ich ruf zu Dir, Herr Jesu Christ”
Franz Liszt: Variations on a Theme of Bach, “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen”

The pianist Kenneth Hamilton, whose recent recording of Ronald Stevenson’s piano works received widespread critical acclaim, returns with an imaginative recording of Bach tributes and transcriptions. This CD forms the first in Prima Facie's new Heritage Series, which seeks to shed new light on familiar repertoire. Back to Bach, mapped out as a pianistic pilgrimage and Romantic musical offering, traverses a path from the resonant virtuosity of Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue on BACH to his movingly intimate Variations on “Weinen, klagen”. Along the way, it takes in Rachmaninov’s witty transformation of a Bach violin partita, the meditative beauty of the Bach-Busoni Chorale Preludes and the famous Bach-Busoni Chaconne. Hamilton’s playing is inspired both by his passion for this music, and by fascination for its varied historical sources – insights into the past that include Busoni’s and Rachmaninov’s own recordings, and the reminiscences of Liszt pupils. The Bach / Busoni Chaconne accordingly features revisions from Busoni’s piano roll of the piece, while the poignant rendition of Liszt’s Variations on “Weinen, Klagen” reflects Liszt’s own performance advice, as well as Hamilton’s conviction that the work was written as an emotional tribute to Liszt’s children Daniel and Blandine, whose tragically early deaths are shatteringly depicted in the music. It is, in fact, a foreshadowing of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder (Songs of the Death of Children), ending not with resigned despair, but with a fervent hope for future redemption.

Kenneth Hamilton

Kenneth Hamilton
Kenneth Hamilton is a concert pianist, writer and broadcaster, and former student and colleague of Ronald Stevenson.

He has considerable TV and Radio experience as pianist, presenter, interviewee and panellist.