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Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, November 2018

The late Joel Hastings recorded a fine sampling of Jean Roger-Ducasse’s piano works. He’s a composer well deserving of a revival, an inventive musician and meticulous craftsman whose star sank with changing tastes in post-World War I France. Hopefully, this disc will stimulate further interest in his music. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, January 2018

The most important competition to this disc comes from the complete traversal of Roger-Ducasse’s piano music by Martin Jones. …Jones has a very cleanly articulated touch, if not always an especially even one. …Hastings, by contrast, has more of the French style under his fingertips, his playing being less volatile but with more attention to detail.

…I prefer Hastings to Jones, as the former sticks more closely to what Roger-Ducasse writes… © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

James Harrington
American Record Guide, July 2017

Hastings has a deft touch and brings a world of piano colors to these selections. There is not an easy piece here. He handles the considerable difficulties with great skill. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Jacques Bonnaure
Classica, July 2017

The Canadian pianist, Joel Hastings, who passed away prematurely at the age of 46 only a few months after recording these works, penetrates deeply into the mysteries of this music, which is supple, complex but never unfathomable. © 2017 Classica

Harriet Smith
Gramophone, May 2017

Among the most striking pieces here is Rythmes, its shimmering, shifting textures most persuasively coloured by Hastings. The Prelude in A minor is yet another example—and a vivid one too—of French composers’ obsession with all things Spanish, while the second of the Quatre Études is a twinklingly good-natured fugue. Altogether a fascinating snapshot of a composer who was a key figure on the French scene. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2017

Born at much the same time as Debussy and Ravel, Jean Roger-Ducasse was one of the most prolific, wide-ranging and highly regarded Impressionist era composers. Unfortunately, like his colleague, Paul Dukas, he was also highly self-critical and destroyed much that he wrote. He was, by training—his mentors included Faure—a pianist and a composer, his keyboard works forming a sizeable part of the works he allowed to exist. That we hear so little of his music is really a disgrace, as this beautiful disc will testify, for if you append the name Debussy to it, it would appear in the standard concert repertoire. It is full of those vibrant Mediterranean colours we see in Impressionist paintings of the time, and he excelled in subtle shading. Maybe their cameo status is a little against their inclusion in concerts, though pair the two Barcarolles and you have sixteen minutes of music, and the Six Preludes almost reach fourteen minutes. The disc amounts to around a third of his existing piano music, and is here performed with the utmost refinement and dedication by the Canadian-born, Joel Hastings, whose disc of music by Liszt I enthusiastically reviewed on the Naxos label in January. At the same time, I conveyed our sadness that the young man had died quite suddenly last May, this disc being recorded just weeks before that untimely event. I would recommend it as probably the finest release we have on Grand Piano. © 2017 David’s Review Corner

Records International, March 2017

Just a year ago, we offered a three-disc set of Roger-Ducasse’ complete piano music (see 03R045 for a blurb ending with an excerpted Gramophone review saying in part “…a bewildering stimulation for jaded palates … a tireless elabortion often within a slow tempo (lent, lentment and très lent are frequent instructions) and a preference for subdued, darker regions of the imagination”. For those of you wanting another interpretation or who didn’t want to go for the whole set, here’s an ample 78-minute chunk. © 2017 Records International

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