Corey Hamm – The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated!

Composer: Frederic Rzewski
Performer: Corey Hamm, solo piano
Recorded at: Pyatt Hall, Vancouver Symphony School of Music. July 2012
Producers: Don Harder and Corey Hamm
Recording Engineer: Don Harder
Photography: Brian Hawkes (Hamm), Frank Röth (Rzewski)
Cover Art: Where the Wyrm Dieth Not (2013) by Mark Takeshi McGregor
Graphic Design and Manufacturing: Digital Media Group


WINNER: “Classical Recording of the Year” at the 2014 Western Canadian Music Awards.

“There are, arguably, three supremely great recordings of this modern masterpiece: the composer’s own on Hat Art (way out of print), Stephen Drury’s on New Albion, and Marc-André Hamelin’s on Hyperion. This version [Corey Hamm’s] joins them. This is great, and more than that, knowing playing. Add to that absolutely gorgeous sonics, rich and natural, and the result is simply one of the best versions of this remarkable work.” – David Hurwitz

“TPUWNBD! can be (and is) performed in many different ways: as an abstract post-serial exercise, as a realist statement with emphasis on its political references, or simply as a piece of neo-Romantic piano music with (or without) an internal program.  Much depends on the performer’s individual approach to tempo and rhythm.  I think the secret of Corey Hamm’s excellent interpretation is his choice of consistently lively tempi.  This simple principle not only communicates the fundamental idea of revolutionary optimism and refusal to give up or go back, but also makes it possible for the listener to grasp the basic form: just as in classical music the asymetries of Mozart and Beethoven (for example, not sequences of 8 + 8 bars but 7+ 9, as in placement of pieces in the game of Go) can only be perceived when the tempo is fast. Listening to his version, I feel that he never gets lost in his own private world, but constantly focuses on the theme of revolutionary unity, in which both the new and the old share equally; a unity without which no true revolution can be realized.” – Frederic Rzewski

“Corey Hamm’s deep commitment to The People United Will Never Be Defeated! is evident in every note. This is a brilliant and moving tour-de-force of a performance that communicates Rzewski’s iconic work directly to the heart. – Jon Kimura Parker

“This is one of the finest piano performances I’ve heard of any music at any time, a magnificent performance beautifully recorded.”Lynn René Bayley – FANFARE Magazine

“Hamm has a crisp, articulate touch and blazes through the virtuosic music with technical brilliance. There is a lot to admire in this performance. His sensitivity to nuance and expressive details gives the work a variety of tonal colours that is needed in a major work of an hour in length that is performed without a break. This was a mesmerizing and thoughtful performance.” – Christina Petrowska Quilico – Wholenote Magazine

“Corey Hamm’s Not the Only Genius on Latest Effort”
“Following the tune’s thread is like reading a whodunit, and in this rendition Hamm shows himself to be the Sherlock Holmes of concert pianists: unconventional, insightful, and fun to meet.”Alexander Varty – Georgia Straight

“Despite the fact that there are already several fine performances of this work available, this one begs to be included amongst the must-haves.”Colin Clarke – Fanfare Magazine May/June 2015

“Corey Hamm can be proud of this recording, the inevitable outcome of his long-term obsession with TPUWNBD! To borrow the title of a novel and a later film, it’s a magnificent obsession.” – Raymond Tuttle – Fanfare Magazine May/June 2015

“For those coming to The People United… for the first time, any of the composer’s several recordings (Hat Art, Nonesuch, VAI video, or, in five parts, on YouTube) is essential listening. Beyond that, I’d opt for Oppens, or Schumacher, or Hamm—each different to varying degrees, but each an exceptional version of a masterpiece.”Art Lange – Fanfare Magazine May/June 2015

“Hamm is a remarkable artist, whose comprehensive command of this thorny, intense, and complex material is never less than revelatory. The sheer breadth of his unimpeachable technical apparatus, wed to a musical sensibility so deftly in tune with affective nuance and dare I say, micro-dynamics, is overwhelming.  Kudos to the engineer and producer, Don Harder (Corey Hamm is also credited as a producer), who compliments Hamm’s  broad dynamic range on this recording with an immensely warm, inviting, and resonant sound quality that makes it feel as if his rich Steinway was in one’s living room. For those who admire the work of Rzewski, and sublime music making as well, in this recording you will find a definitive performance.” – John Bell Young – Fanfare Magazine July/August 2015

The People United Will Never Be Defeated! is available from:

1. – 38.  The People United Will Never Be Defeated!
36 variations on a Chilean revolutionary song by Sergio Ortega

This recording was made possible through the assistance of a University of British Columbia and Humanities and Social Sciences grant (HSS).

TK431 © 2014 Redshift Music

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