Immediate (17 December 2015)
MCO contact / Conrad Sweatman at 204.783.7377
Subject / Rare video recording of top pianist Marc-André Hamelin playing Giya Kancheli
The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra is delighted to present a unique video recording of its recent collaboration with the great Canadian-Québécois pianist, Marc André-Hamelin which can be viewed here. The 27-minute video captures Hamelin and the MCO’s dynamite performance in the autumn of 2015 of Giya Kancheli’s modern masterwork Valse Boston (1996).
The piece begins with a loud, single note on the piano, like a warning shot in the dark. With only a few more keystrokes, the hands behind the piano will reveal why they’ve been called “among the wonders of the musical world” (The New Yorker). We then see MCO conductor Anne Manson, leading the “tiny, perfect orchestra” (Toronto Star) through the graceful early moments of this unusual waltz. As the performance further unfolds, filmmaker Ivan Hughes captures everything from the exquisite setting of Westminster United Church, the concert’s venue, to the intricate finger work of Hamelin.
And what finger work it is! At once a masterfully technical and intensely expressive player, Hamelin is — almost — given total freedom by Valse Boston to explore the range of his preternatural talents. By turns anguished and euphoric, the work is a reflection by Kancheli on his native Georgia, which he left five years prior to its publication. Though the work’s waltz-like melodies suggest Kancheli’s nostalgia for his former life, its experimental spirit reminds us why Kancheli could never feel fully at home in Georgia during the artistically repressive Soviet era. Giving added meaning to the October performance is the fact that it marked nearly 25 years to the day since Georgia held their first parliamentary election after the withdrawal of the Soviets.
When a giant of the piano like Hamelin produces a rare performance of a modern masterwork, it’s an event worth capturing and circulating. Accessible through the MCO YouTube Channel for just one year, the video is ideal for sharing through social media and online media platforms.
The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra is grateful for the support of The Winnipeg Foundation in covering some of the production and licensing costs associated with this video initiative.