The selection of works reflects a concert programme which Stephen performed all round the world in the 2007/8 season, with a quirkily-addressed theme of Variations and Waltzes. These appear in many guises: for instance the 'first half' concludes with Beethoven's Piano Sonata No 32 in C minor, with its extraordinary set of variations in the second movement. Then Stephen takes the listener on a whirlwind tour of the waltz, performing some of the triumphs of the genre with his trademark immaculate polish and unerring style. The disc ends with some typical Hough whimsy-as ever, utterly charming and full of surprises.
'Here's another winning, imaginatively conceived disc from Britain's finest pianist... It is unexpected and delightful programme-building. Prized for his pianism, Hough is also a superb Mozartian. He lends these Fantasias an almost Beethovenian weight and depth of expression... Hough's playing is dazzling throughout' --(Sunday Times)
'There are all too few pianists with the equivalent of Hough's three Michelin stars... Opening with two of Mozart's solo masterpieces, the ear is welcomed into an intimate, pellucid sound world with a sophistcated grading of dynamics... [Liszt-Busoni Fantasy on Non piu andrai] provides a hair-raising bravura display that deserves to be heard more often. At least, when played like this' --(Gramophone)