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Liszt/ Grieg: Piano Concerto No.1 & 2/ Piano Concerto A Minor [CD]

Stephen Hough Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Hough was born in Heswall (then in Cheshire) on the Wirral Peninsula, and grew up in Hoylake, where he began piano lessons at the age of five. In 1978, he was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition and won the piano section. In 1982, he won the Terence Judd Award in England. In 1983, he took first prize at the Naumburg International Piano Competition in New ... Read more in Amazon's Stephen Hough Store

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Liszt/ Grieg: Piano Concerto No.1 & 2/ Piano Concerto A Minor + Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos + Chopin: The Complete Waltzes
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Product details

  • Conductor: Andrew Litton
  • Composer: Franz Liszt, Evard Grieg
  • Audio CD (31 Oct 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B005OCES4I
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,302 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Piano Concerto No 1 in E flat major S124 (FRANZ LISZT) - Stephen Hough/Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
2. Piano Concerto No 2 in A major S125 (FRANZ LISZT) - Stephen Hough/Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
3. Piano Concerto in A minor Op 16 (EDVARD GRIEG) - Stephen Hough/Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Product Description


I'm not sure that there exists a performance of either Liszt concerto more scupulously adherent to the composer's every indication of expression,articulation and dynamics.With these,as with the Grieg Concerto,it is not as though interesting interpretatons have been imposed upon them.Rather,one feels that the scores were so thorougly scutinized,understood and then imaginatively realized that they have yielded fresh riches.It may be tha the full measure of Andrew Litton's extraordinary talent as a conductor has yet to be taken.Stephen Hough's steady ascent to the summit of his profession exhibits equally supreme mastery of his instrument and the deep humanity from which it flowered. IRR OUTSTANDING --IRR,Nov'11

Does the world really need another recording of the Grieg piano concerto? The answer has to be an emphatic yes when the soloist is the barnstorming Stephen Hough, a pianist with the fascinating ability to take a venerable work, strip it of its patina and present it as though for the very first time. This is a wonderfully alert performance, mixing novel tempi with awesome technique and breathtaking, tingling tension. Hough's terrific reading of Liszt's first piano concerto at London's Royal Festival Hall in January got the bicentenary celebrations off to a flying start in the UK, and here we can enjoy it again, this time with the warm and generous Bergen Philharmonic under the meticulous Andrew Litton, coupled with a virile account of the majestic second concerto. Highly recommended. --The Observer,30/10/11

A pleasing and thought- provoking release. Performance ****(*) Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine,Christmas'11

With technique honed to a state of diamond-like brilliance,he gives us rapier-like cadenzas and glissandos that flash like summer lightning. EDITORS CHOICE --Gramophone,Jan'12

Three of the greatest piano concertos on one disc in superb performances, beautifully engineered sound and with a fact-filled booklet. What s not to like. ***** --Classic FM Magazine,Feb'12

Product Description

Liszt : Concertos pour piano n°1, S124 & n°2, S125 - Grieg : Concerto pour piano, op.16 / Stephen Hough, piano - Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra - Andrew Litton, direction

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good news! 23 Jan 2012
Format:Audio CD
Wonderful recordings (as recommended by Radio 3, usually pretty infallible!) and excellent value with the coupling of Liszt and Grieg together. Thoroughly recommended.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very great performance 4 Feb 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I sent for this recording by the wonderful pianist Stephen Hough of the Grieg Piano Concerto plus Liszt's as well. What a performer
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry and Fireworks aplenty here 27 Feb 2012
By Hank Drake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It has become so common to see the Grieg and Schumann Concertos coupled together on CD that this Liszt - Grieg compilation comes as a surprise. The Grieg - Schumann combo makes a certain kind of sense, in that both concertos are in A Minor, primarily lyrical, and start with an orchestral hit followed by a cadenza-like passage for piano. But the Liszt - Grieg makes historical sense because Liszt was among the first to see this concerto before it was published, and was notably enthusiastic.

Critics tend to compare pianists with legendary elders (Volodos is the new Horowitz; Brendel was the new Schnabel, etc.). Stephen Hough reminds me not so much of any pianist as of a conductor: Arturo Toscanini. No, Hough is not temperamental like the Italian Maestro. But his approach to music interpretation seems to be to discard traditional tempo changes, rubatos, and the like (which Toscanini derided as "the last bad performance"), study the score as if it were being played for the first time, and make any interpretive decisions on that basis.

Hough's rendition of the Liszt E-flat Concerto effectively melds virtuoso fireworks in the outer movements, with melting poetry in the second. I've seldom heard those first movement octaves tossed off with such sharpness. Too often, I've heard pianists play the second movement flatly, passing time until they can move on to the "fun" parts. Not here - Hough makes it seem like we're encountering this music for the first time. The finale is given at a steadier tempo than customary, so the structure of the piece emerges clearly - not something Liszt often gets credit for. Those tricky repeated note passages are played to perfection, unlike Arthur Rubinstein's two recordings where they sound garbled. A note on the orchestra's contribution: it's nice to hear the triangle solo in proper perspective: discreet - not garish as in too many recordings.

In Hough's hands, the opening of A Major Concerto is epic, as if it springs directly from the Years of Pilgrimage, building to an enormous climax at movement's end. As with the first concerto, the lyrical second movement is given its due. For me, part of the secret of great music making is that it leads from note to note, phrase to phrase - taking the listener on an emotional journey. That's how Hough makes sense of a concerto that is too often the excuse for shallow virtuosity - rather than the musical virtuosity Hough brings to the fore.

Many have, and still do, treat the Grieg Concerto as "cheap stuff." Here, the lines of the first movement emerge clearly, thanks to Hough's sparing use of the sustaining pedal. The second movement is permeated with a sense of restrained longing, while the finale effectively melds the extroversion of the outer sections with the poetic central interlude. Hough's playing is backed up by particularly fine orchestral playing from the Bergen Philharmonic under Andrew Litton - this is the clearest string playing I've ever heard in this piece.

The sound is focused without being overly immediate, with an excellent balance between piano and orchestra.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bread and Butter" concertos 11 Nov 2011
By GEORGE RANNIE - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The first time that I heard Stephen Hough's extraordinarily great pianism was in his "on fire" and fantastically great performance of the unknown Scharwenka fourth ( 4th ) piano concerto. That performance turned me into an ardent fan of Hough's playing. Now, of course, he has "graduated" to the "big leagues" of the piano playing world and is now recording what I consider to be the "bread and butter" piano concertos. Evidence of that fact is this his most recent recording release of the Grieg A minor concerto and the two (2) known concertos by Liszt in E flat and A major accompanied by the very sensitive conducting of Andrew Litton with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra playing most wonderfully.

Did I really need yet another recording of the above mentioned concertos by Grieg and Liszt that are contained in this recording? After listening to this very fine recording by Stephen Hough and the forces mentioned above, the answer is a resounding YES. Hough plays these very well known works brilliantly with astounding flashes of technical bravado along with "heartfelt" tenderness--his technique is awesome. At the same time, I felt that I was hearing especially the Grieg for the first time. In the aforesaid work, to me, Hough has stripped away a lot of that work's so-called "traditions" Instead we are left with much clarity and lightness that sounds, to me, what I imagine were Grieg's intentions. Don't misunderstand me and be assured that there is "jaw dropping" brilliance on display that Stephen Hough most assuredly delivers. The same applies to the Liszt concertos which I am afraid to admit have never been particular favorites of mine. However, I enjoyed the subject recordings of the Liszt concertos far more than I've enjoyed other recordings of the Liszt works--the first is filled with some very exciting piano playing and the second concerto sounds so "manly" and "full bodied".

A very fine recording indeed with all 69 minutes being in exemplary sound

Do read the very informative notes to this recording. They are filled with much information especially about Liszt and his concertos--a good read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 12 Mar 2014
By BKM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Mr. Hough is an amazing technician, and the pieces he plays in this recording really allow him to display his prowess and that of these 2 great composers.
5.0 out of 5 stars Grieg and Liszt (Piano concertos) 7 Dec 2013
By Margan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Who wouldn't appreciate these concertos by Grieg and Liszt. Absolutely beautiful.
The northland is made understandable with Grieg's treatment of it. Mysterious
Liszt's lighter sounds is a good compliment to Grieg's music.
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous artistry, as always, from this incredible pianist. 10 Sep 2013
By Irma Sheon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Stephen Hough is still relatively little-known in the US. I think he is beyond compare with any other pianist on the concert circuit today. I have collected many of his CD's and continue to enjoy them all with one exception. His latest, Broken Branches, is screechy modern to my ears and not fun to listen to. I understand his willingness to test the edges of what can be done with his instrument and continue to applaud him for that.
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