Exploring the compositions of Marc-André Hamelin: 11 pieces worth discovering

18 March 2024
By Ellie Palmer
Hamelin's brand-new album, 'New Piano Works', is a recording made up entirely of his own compositions. Below, you can find out more about the background of each work, plus links to where you can purchase the sheet music for yourself.

"The reason for this recording is that all of these scores are published, but I realised that pianists won’t want to explore the pieces unless they can hear them. That’s really why I made it; aside from the listening public, it was to help pianists get more to grips with the music. It includes almost everything I’ve published within the last ten to 12 years so that they can now be found in one single place."

Every piece is available to stream on his new album below. 


Let's dive in.



Variations on a Theme of Paganini for Piano

The sheet music is available from £15.95 on Amazon here.

Originally composed in 2011, this work includes the main theme, followed by 14 variations. The work includes Hamelin's own idiosyncratic annotations, including witty footnotes and an intentional misnumbering of Variation 13.

He comments, "The nature of my Paganini Variations is such that writing anything about them would inevitably spoil the fun and give many things away. I will only say, quite confidently, that if one looks at the many works that have used Paganini's twenty-fourth Caprice over the years, this one definitely, for better or worse, breaks the mold!"

Hamelin speak in depth about writing his Variations on a Theme of Paganini inside his cover issue of Pianist. Get your copy here.

Watch him perform the Variations below.



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On the Short Side for Piano

You can purchase the sheet music on Amazon from £36.12 here.

This collection brings together a number of my short piano pieces which, with one exception, have not been previously published. Most of them are simply meant to please, and are suitable as encores.

The collection includes 'My Feelings about Chocolate' and 'Meditation on Laura', both of which feature on his brand-new album. Take a listen to both below.



Suite a l'ancienne

The full score of this work is available on Amazon from £19.95 here.

This work is a Baroque-style suite in six movements, each with the unmistakable wit and virtuosity that characterizes Hamelin’s compositions. 

Pianist Rachel Naomi Kudo commissioned the Suite à l’ancienne, about 16 minutes duration, after impressing Hamelin with her performance of his Toccata on L’homme armé in the Van Cliburn International Competition. Kudo premiered the recording back in 2021. Take a listen below.




The sheet music is available via Presto Music from £44 here.

Barcarolle is split into four different pieces. Take a listen to all four on Hamelin's brand new album below.



Pavane Variée for Piano Solo

You can get your hands on the score via Sheet Music Plus from £17.14 here.

This stunning work is based on the pavane Belle qui tiens ma vie, attributed to Thoinot Arbeau (1519-1595) It was commissioned by the ARD International Music Competition 2014.

Watch Hamelin's performance of the work here. You can also stream it on his new album below.




Chaconne for Piano Solo

This 20-page Edition Peters publication is available on Amazon from just £9.40 here

Chaconne features three parts: I. Moderato / II. un poco più lento, freddo / III. Tempo primo.

You can listen to Hamelin's full recording of the work on his brand-new album below.



Toccata on "L'homme armé"

This composition, published by Edition Peters, is available on Amazon for £19.46 here.

Hamelin was asked to commission this piece for the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The piece was premiered 30 times by each of the contestants in Texas during the competition. It's based on a song from the French Renaissance which is the basis for several Masses.

Stream Hamelin's recording of it below.



Further Hamelin compositions worth exploring


Cadenzas for Beethoven Piano Concerti

The full score is available on Presto Music from £17.95 here.

Each Cadenza in this set is dedicated to a different pianist: The cadenza for the First Concerto is inscribed to Bertrand Chamayou, the cadenza for the Second is dedicated to keyboardist and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and the cadenza for the Third Concerto is dedicated to Igor Levit, while Hamelin has dedicated his cadenzas for both the first and third movements of the Fourth Concerto to his wife, the pianist and presenter Cathy Fuller.



Theme and Variations (Cathy's Variations) for Piano

The full 20-page book is available on Sheet Music Plus from £9.33 here.

Hamelin comments, "The Theme and Variations is purely the work of a man in love, and it was inspired by my fiancée Cathy Fuller, my true soulmate, who fascinates me more with each passing day. As a matter of fact, the theme is meant to be a portrait of her, something that I'd never had the idea of attempting before. I will always remember the day I first played this piece for her as one of the happiest in my life."

Is someone cutting onions in here?



12 Études in All the Minor Keys

You can purchase the full Edition Peters publication on Amazon  from £32.68 here

Composed over a remarkable span of 25 years, this set of virtuoso etudes includes both original character pieces and also works that incorporate elements of, or refer back, to works by well-known composers. The likes of Chopin, Alkan, Liszt and Tchaikovsky are all referenced throughout this work.

Listen to him perform all 12 Études below, live from the Rarities of Piano Music at the Husum Festival in 2010.



Con Intimissimo Sentimento

This collection of seven pieces for solo piano is available on Amazon from £50 here.

These short pieces were written over the span of 14 years, and were put together "partly out of a desire to be performed more widely as a composer (since much of what I've written so far is considerably more demanding) and partly because of an attraction I feel towards quiet and intimate music of this nature," Hamelin explains.


Pianist 137 (Apr/May) featuring Marc-André Hamelin is out now. Get your print copy here. Prefer to go digital? Download the issue here.