Marc-André Hamelin’s Suite à l’ancienne is, as the title might suggest, a Baroque-style suite in six movements, each with the unmistakable wit and virtuosity that characterizes Hamelin’s compositions.

Hamelin’s Praémbule takes J. S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy as the jumping off point for a wild flight of fancy followed by, the deceptively amiable amble of the Allemende, the moto perpetuo sprint of the Corrente, the decadent embroidery of the Air avec agréments, and the Gavotte et Musette’s contrast between staccato strut and pedal-heavy pedal point, before concluding with a spectacular Gigue.

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. Funding the commission with her Gilmore Young Artist Award, Kudo suggested the idea of a work inspired by the music of J. S. Bach and went on to premiere the Suite in a performance streaming from Pordenone, Italy on February 21, 2021, presented by the Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival.