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In the endearing liner notes to this recording, Corey Hamm, a piano professor at the University of British Columbia School of Music, describes how he first discovered the cult work, recorded by its dedicatee Ursula Oppens. It marked the beginning of a lifelong love affair with the music, which culminated in a performance in front of the composer at an event to honour Rzewski’s 70 birthday, in 2008. There is stiff competition on the recording front – Marc-André Hamelin (Hyperion), Ralph van Raat (Naxos) and Rzewski himself (various), to name a few – but Hamm is a worthy advocate. Based on a Chilean resistance song, the variations are grouped into a series of six interlinking cycles. Hamm handles the twists and turns – not to mention highly complex technical demands – with aplomb. There is no cadenza in this interpretation.

CLAIRE JACKSON Read the full review on Agora Classica


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