For the most recent installment in his ever-burgeoning Hyperion catalog, Canadian-born (but Philadelphia-residing) super-virtuoso Marc-AndrÉ Hamelin once again takes on the Romantic complexitie

For the most recent installment in his ever-burgeoning Hyperion catalog, Canadian-born (but Philadelphia-residing) super-virtuoso Marc-André Hamelin once again takes on the Romantic complexities of enigmatic French pianist/composer Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888). Among other Alkan projects, Hamelin previously essayed the composer's formidable Grande Sonate for Hyperion and received universal acclaim not only for his breathtaking technical command but for his ability to imbue this music with real soul. If Alkan's Symphony for Solo Piano is less "excessive" than the Grande Sonate, it's hardly a cakewalk—although Hamelin makes it seem like one. Moreover, with his compelling interpretation of the richly melodious Souvenirs: Trios Morceaux dans la Genre Pathétique, the pianist gives lovers of Chopin and Rachmaninov a real repertoire alternative. The entire set is handsomely recorded by the familiar Hyperion team of engineer Tony Faulkner and producer Andrew Keener.—BB