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Stephen Hough in Recital CD

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Stephen Hough in Recital + Stephen Hough: French Album (French Piano Music) (Stephen Hough) (Hyperion: CDA67890) + Stephen Hough's New Piano Album
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Product details

  • Performer: Stephen Hough
  • Conductor: n/a
  • Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns, Carl Maria von Weber, Claude Debussy, Emmanuel Chabrier, Felix Mendelssohn, et al.
  • Audio CD (2 Mar. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,030 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Felix Mendelssohn (1809 1847) Variations sèrieuses Op 54
2. Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 1827) Piano Sonata No 32 in C minor Op 111 Maestoso - Allegro con brio ed appassionato [8'22] Arietta: Adagio molto, semplice e cantabile
3. Carl Maria Von Weber (1786 1826) Aufforderung zum Tanz Op 65
4. Frédéric Chopin (1810 1849) Waltz in C sharp minor Op 64 No 2
5. Frédéric Chopin (1810 1849) Waltz in A flat major Op 34 No 1
6. Camille Saint-Saêns (1835 1921) Valse nonchalante Op 110
7. Emmanuel Chabrier (1841 1894) Feuillet d'album
8. Claude Debussy (1862 1918) La plus que lente
9. Franz Liszt (1811 1886) Valse oubliée No 1 S215/1
10. Franz Liszt (1811 1886) Mephisto Waltz No 1 'Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke' S514
11. Traditional arranged by Stephen Hough (b1961) Matilda's Waltz

Product Description

CD Description

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)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elpenor TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Aug. 2011
Format: Audio CD
This recital is divided in two halves, and Hough is much more successful in the waltzes than the Beethoven Sonata or Mendelssohn Variations Serieuses. In these two, his playing can often be disappointingly literal and low-voltage. The inherent drama is always kept at arm's length in Hough's quite reticent interpretation. On the other hand, the waltzes are deliciously played with lots of charm, although he played Liszt's Mephisto Waltz with much more demonic drive in his earlier recording on Virgin. Overall, not one of Hough's best.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. Parsons on 26 Dec. 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful piano recital on disc. Delightfully varied programmed played with great musicianship and sympathy with the individual composer styles plus a fine engineered piano sound.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Superbly performed and enjoyable piano recital 10 April 2009
By Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recital disc offers a carefully selected group of pieces played superbly that can be listened to just for pleasure. However, Stephen Hough also offers valuable insights to the interested listener. The first half of the recital is devoted to two pieces, a short one by Mendelssohn and a sonata by Beethoven that place the focus on variations. The second half traces the development of the waltz as a concert piece for the piano, starting with Weber's Invitation to the Dance and going through the 19th Century. The final piece is Hough's own arrangement of Waltzing Matilda, done as a waltz.

This disc offers the opportunity to hear a recital by Stephen Hough much as one might in person. It is a studio recording, but quite lifelike. Hyperion have provided nearly 80 minutes of music, close to the length of a typical solo recital, and excellent sound.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Hough in Recital 7 April 2009
By Opinionated - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A superb recital, and I emphasize recital. No need to load several discs and play at random to hear near-perfect performances of a most satisfying variety of works filling a listening session. There is no room for boredom here. Given that, the disc does contain a recital with a theme -- don't miss the take on waltz themes -- performed with technical and interpretive brilliance, and, as well, a taste of more standard repertoire performed with equal virtuosity. Hough truly belongs to be ranked among the top five pianist performing today. Don't be put off should your package lack a track index, a copy of which can be easily downloaded from the Hyperion web site. I've done so. That lack is insufficient reason to deny yourself the huge pleasures of this outstanding disc.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Track Listing 21 Jan. 2011
By Marc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A great album, amazing performances and well-balanced program selections, which are not listed on Amazon, so here they are:

MENDELSSOHN Variation Sérieuses, op 54
BEETHOVEN Piano Sonata #32 in c op 111
WEBER Invitation to the Dance
CHOPIN Waltzes in c#, op 64/2; and in Ab, op 34/1
SAINT-SAENS Valse nonchalante, op 110
CHABRIER Feuillet d'album
DEBUSSY La plus que lente
LISZT Valse oubliée #1, S.215(1); and Mephisto Waltz #1, S.514
TRAD./HOUGH Matilda's Waltz
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Variations and Waltzes fabulously done 7 Dec. 2009
By Richard Steiger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is one of three recent mixed recitals by Stephen Hough (the others his Spanish and Mozart recitals) and they are all marvelous. This one is divided into two parts, the first featuring works using the variation form (the Mendelssohn and the last movement of the Beethoven sonata), and the second, and lighter, part featuring waltzes. The "serious" Mendelssohn variations are beautifully played. The Beethoven sonata may not be not as probing as some other performances (Schnabel's for one), but I will say it's the most pianistically idiomatic performance of the work I've ever heard. Perhaps Hough's fluency works against the grain of this work (its first movement sounds absolutely jaunty, which is not I think, what Beethoven intended). But never mind, it's still a very enjoyable performance. The rest of the program is utterly delightful, from Weber's Invitation to the Dance (eight minutes of pianistic perfection) through Saint-Saens' aptly named "Valse Nanchalante," which is exactly what it sounds like, Chabrier's exquisite little Feuillet d'album and Liszt's Mephisto Waltz #1 (less overtly virtuosic but more musical than most performances). I have to say, though, that Hough's arrangement of "Walzing Matilda" sounds to me like Bill Evans having a Bad Haircut Day. But eveything else is superb and the recorded sound is as good as it gets. For sheer pleasure, this cd is hard to beat, except maybe by Hough's other recitals (particularly the Spanish album).
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Great Recital Superbly Played 7 Dec. 2009
By David A. Wend - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Stephen Hough says in his notes accompanying this CD that the works recorded represent two contracting mini-recitals: one devoted to turbulent works, the other to tranquil music. To start the recital is Mendelssohn's Variations serieuses. The composer's stated goal of serious variations is certainly met. The work was written for a piano album to raise money for a status of Beethoven at Bonn. The music moves from high energy, to quiet reflection and joyous celebration. The Mendelssohn is followed by Beethoven's final piano sonata, No. 32, with its second movement of variations. The first movement is dramatic and animated giving way to a reflective passage at the conclusion. The second movement picks up the same reflective feeling as the theme is stated. The variations gradually become faster until the jazz-like syncopations in the fourth variation. The original theme reappears and is played quietly on the higher registers of the keyboard.

The tranquil section has as to do with waltzes. Weber's Invitation to the Dance is more familiar in the orchestration by Hector Berlioz. The interesting aspect of Weber's music is that a waltz is transformed into a concert piece and showed the way for the Strauss family. The Weber is followed by two waltzes by Chopin. The first (Op. 64 No. 2) is dreamy with a touch of melancholy while the second (Op 34 No. 1) begins with a military-like fanfare and a melody that begs for dancing. Saint Saens wrote his Valse nonchalante for a Russian ballerina, and it sounds more like ballet music than a waltz for a ballroom. The short waltz by Chabrier is tender and Debussy's La plus que lent is melancholy and has un-waltz like passages where the music hovers.

The recital contains two waltzes by Liszt; the Valse oubliee No. 1 and the Mephisto Waltz No. 1. The former is a delightfully light-hearted waltz while the Mephisto Waltz, with its inspiration from Faust, has more dramatic and devilish overtones. The music closes with Stephen Hough's arrangement of Matilda's Waltz, sounding more like a work by Debussy than the boisterous popular song.

The music is beautifully played by Stephen Hough and, like his Mozart Album, is a thought provoking grouping of pieces. I had not heard Mr. Hough play any Beethoven sonatas prior to this recording and I look forward to hearing more.
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