The six études by the South-Korean composer, Unsuk Chin, form the centrepiece of this disc. Some of the most significant pieces to be written for the piano in recent years, these are natural successors to the piano études by György Ligeti and are already of international prominence. With their scintillating textures and inventive use of timbre, they are entirely absorbing and electrifying works which are rapidly becoming a keystone of the piano repertoire.
These have been combined with a variety of études from either end of the twentieth century. The three by Lyapunov are very much in a late-Romantic, Lisztian mould with descriptive titles and compelling narratives.The first, ‘Terek’, is named after a river which flows from Georgia into Russia and is prefaced with a dramatic poem by the Russian poet Lermontov. ‘Nuit d’été’ is more contemplative and is followed by the impassioned and explosive ‘Tempête’.
Szymanowski’s Op. 33 were written less than 20 years after Lyapunov’s yet they inhabit an entirely different sound-world. With mercurial timbres and fleet textures, they are similar to Debussy’s études, written in the same year. The programme ends with 5 Studies in Different Intervals by Nikolai Kapustin. Each study is structured around a specific interval yet, despite this rather rigid concept, they are in a free- formed jazzy style and provide an exuberant finale to the disc.
Acclaimed by The Daily Telegraph as a pianist of “amazing power and panache” , Clare Hammond gave debut recitals at the City of London, Cheltenham and Presteigne Festivals, and made return visits to the Wigmore and Bridgewater Halls in 2013. The Guardian wrote of her performance of Ken Hesketh’s Horae at Cheltenham that she “displayed its scintillating passagework and poetic calm with great flair” . A passionate advocate of twentieth and twenty-first century music, Clare combines a formidable technique and virtuosic flair onstage with stylistic integrity and attention to detail.
Clare’s first disc for BIS, Reflections , of the piano music of Andrzej and Roxanna Panufnik, was featured on BBC Radio 3’s ‘CD Review’ and her performance described as“commandingly virtuosic” in BBC Music Magazine. International Piano Magazine recommended the disc as a “fascinating compendium, expertly executed” and it was awarded 5 stars in Diapason who stated that “Hammond excels at instilling each piece with an atmosphere” . Highlights in 2014 include 3 BBC radio broadcasts, debut performances at 7 festivals across Europe, including the ‘Chopin and his Europe’ Festival in Warsaw, the world premieres of works by 10 composers, and a Panufnik Centenary tour of Poland under the aegis of the British Council’s ‘Artists’ International Development Fund’.