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Redefining virtuosity in Marc-André Hamelin's 12 Études In All The Minor Keys Dulu, Bogdan Claudiu


Marc-André Hamelin is ranked among the elite of world pianists of our time. Mirroring the lost tradition of composer-pianists specific to the 19th century, his music stands nowadays as an exception. As such, his collection 12 Études In All The Minor Keys, written over a period of almost twenty-five years and published by Peters Edition in 2010, is a purposeful contribution towards perpetuating this nearly extinct art. This dissertation is the first academic study addressing Hamelin’s piano études. The presentation of this set is tied to the concept of virtuosity in relation to its past meanings. I offer a brief overview of the term “virtuosity,” and show that Hamelin’s études stand as far more than just “pianistic challenges beyond the reach of most human fingers.” The interviews conducted with the composer, as well as other experts in the field, allowed me to form an insightful opinion on the topic, and to offer an apprized overview of the set as a whole, with special focus on six of these études (nos. 5-10).

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