We couldn't let a season go by without Marc-André Hamelin, a complete master of the keyboard. More than that, though, he can bring it to life in playing that grabs hold of you and doesn't let go. A Hamelin recital remains with you all your life. It's true that he's a 'pyro-virtuoso', but he uses his virtuosity in much more interesting ways than his colleagues - more particularly, to take you on an emotional journey to places you never thought existed. During his previous recital at deSingel, we got to know him as a composer, though we couldn't believe what we were hearing - a dazzling series of studies pulled out of a hat and composed just as a challenge to himself.
We get to hear even more 'hardcore' Hamelin at this concert, his recently composed 'Variations on the theme of Paganini's 24th Capriccio', which, in this respect, puts him in the company of Brahms and Rachmaninov. He himself calls the work completely round the bend. Fourteen variations hurtle by in the space of ten minutes. On the way, with the roguish humour typical of him, he slips in quotations galore from the well-known classics. Impressive and hilarious. Fasten your seatbelts!