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Stephen Hough's English Album CD


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Product details

  • Audio CD (22 Feb. 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B0000631BG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 230,565 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Bagatelles - Alan Rawsthorne
  2. Two poems in homage to Delius - Stephen Reynolds
  3. Valse Enigmatique 1-2 - Stephen Hough
  4. In Smyrna - Edward Elgar
  5. Two poems in homage to Faure - Stephen Reynolds
  6. Song to the seals - Granville Bantock (arr. Hough)
  7. Reverie d'Amour, op. 20 no. 2 - York Bowen
  8. Serious Dance, op. 51 no. 2 - York Bowen
  9. The way to Polden (an ambling tune), op. 76 - York Bowen
  10. The dew fairy - Frank Bridge
  11. Heart's ease - Frank Bridge
  12. Six Studies (Study-Variations), op. 56 - Kenneth Leighton

Product Description

CD Description

This disc, which is very close to Stephen Hough's heart, should be thought of as an addition to his very successful series of 'Piano Albums'. In fact this recital started off with material left over from his New Piano Album (CDA67043). The disc is a tribute to the English school of piano composition mostly a 20th-century phenomenon, and the material is very much a personal selection rather than an encyclopaedic overview. The mood is predominantly lyrical and nostalgic (perhaps very English phenomena), and most of the pieces are very much the kind Stephen might present as encores. There is some serious 'meat' though in the form of Leighton's Study Variations. These are a major addition to the piano repertoire and add to the growing recognition, some fourteen years after his death, that in Kenneth Leighton we have a major composer indeed.

Review

'Another winner from the ever-imaginative Stephen Hough. In all these pieces Hough's magic is presented in full, clear Hyperion sound' (Gramophone) 'Powerful, sympathetic and beautifully recorded, and his fans everywhere will be thrilled' (BBC Music Magazine) 'Hough's performances are magical scintillating, refined, sensuous in the smaller works, commanding and powerful in Rawsthorne and Leighton. I hope this superb pianist records many more recitals of British music' (American Record Guide) 'Hough's pianism is a constant source of wonder every chord and phrase perfectly judged' (Classic FM Magazine) 'scrupulous, full ... bodied, and technically impeccable performances ... He revels in the sensuous harmonic felicities that color Stephen Reynolds' pastiches and makes an easy task of York Bowen s fustian textures (Classics Today.com) 'these performances can be regarded as definitive ... A CD of revealing personal choices of a master pianist, and one that reveals yet more very worthy British music ... Strongly recommended' (Fanfare, USA) 'Exquisite presentation ... [Hough] is a pianist of such refinement and impeccable technique that he makes everything he plays compellingly interesting ... [the Leighton Studies] have a clear awareness of other 20th -century musical styles, including jazz, and there is an element of virtuosity that Hough, of course, delivers brilliantly' (The Guardian) '(Hough) plays with an astonishing command, great insight and some terrific finesse, in a performance that ranges from the elegant and sensitive to the vigorous and exhilarating' (Hi-Fi News and Record Review) 'Hough plays [Leighton] superbly, with marvellous tonal control in the rugged and spiky passages and also in the quiet harmonic episodes that glow with fierce intensity ... enjoyable, excellently performed and beautifully engineered CD' (International Piano) 'I ve long admired the unfailingly beautiful, carefully honed, paradoxically rich but lean textures and sonorities Stephen Hough cultivates ... a style in which patient, sustained utterance came to seem immediate, fervent and idealistic ... Crystal-sharp sound and superb performances; transcendental technique in the service of music that at least sets itself transcendental goals' (Pianist) 'Hough is one of world s grandest piano performers, imaginative, graceful, powerful, able to dazzle with both his technique and his mind ... a haunting and complex collection' (Philadelphia Post) 'This is a treat for lovers of the piano ... Fascinating stuff' --(Manchester Evening News)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9f94e7f8) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f9552c4) out of 5 stars Gorgeous, unbelievably beautiful... 11 April 2002
By Kenneth J. Luurs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Can I give more than 5 stars?
This is an amazing recording, unbelievable artistry -- gorgeous music, played sensitively. These are not warhorse pieces that you will necessarily recognize. Yet, despite being off the beaten trail, the music draws you in. This is one of those rarest of recordings, something different -- and yet so desirable.
Can I say something negative about this recording? Uh..no...it is English music -- which is to say not Bach, Beethoven, Brahms -- but it is sensuous music -- and by no means, dull.
I purchase over 300 Classical CDs every year. I'd be surprised if this isn't my favorite recording of 2002. I used to work in a music store when I was in college. In a couple of instances I used to "guarantee" people that they would like a particular performance or their money back. This is that kind of recording, so good I can't imagine someone not being taken in by its charm.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa11f996c) out of 5 stars Nothing more than I expect 7 Aug. 2002
By Mireille Wastwater - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I wonder if the previous reviewer felt the same about this CD a few seconds after his ecstatic, climactic review. Do not be misled by the title of 'English Piano Album' for it is not a survey of english piano music but rather, as Hough explains, english piano music that means something to him. So there is no Sterndale Bennett, no Pinto et al. There are two 'rough' works included here; Rawsthorne's Bagatelles and Leighton's Studies. These will not appeal to those with delicate ears used to listener-friendly music. The other works are less astringent - my particular favourite in this collection was York Bowen's (sometimes known as the English Rachmaninov) serious dance, delicately (and seriously!) performed by Stephen Hough. Although I would not recommend this to the general music lover, I am happy to say that those interested in piano playing and rare repertoire will not be disappointed with this disc.
On a different note, I am disappointed to see that Simon Trpceski's debut album is not available on this site. It includes exceptional playing at a bargain price and I highly recommend its acquisition.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa0794aa4) out of 5 stars Who Said The English Can't Compose Music? 23 Oct. 2004
By Walter Fekula - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had occasion to get a recording of Kenneth Leighton's "Six Studies (Study Variation) Op. 56. I had to purchase this CD as it contains the only available recording of the piece. I am very happy I did as it contains some fabulous music, which is beautifully played by Stephen Hough who contributes two short compositions of his own. The other composers, among them Alan Rawsthorne, Stephen Reynolds, Edward Elgar (how did he get in there), Stephen Reynolds, are easy to listen to. Hough has a lovely touch and the recording could not be better. The Leighton? It concludes the recording and will wake you up if you doze off while listening to the soothing, magical music, that precedes it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa05dbae0) out of 5 stars Stunningly Beautiful 13 Jan. 2003
By Hoppy Doppelrocket - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is beautiful music from off the beaten path, played skillfully and with feeling. As a bonus, included are Hough's typically terrific liner notes. And for once, Hyperion even managed to get the duration time posted on the back to actually match that of the cd. Well done!!!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f9557f8) out of 5 stars An interesting and attractive release 11 Dec. 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Stephen Hough has definitely established himself as one of the leading pianists of today, but he still gives us marvelously played discs of music off the beaten path. The disc at hand is a charming case in point; despite the status of British music of the last hundred years, it is interesting that they have made relatively little impact on the piano repertoire. Whether that is fair or not might be discussed, but at least this disc gives us several very fine piece, if few genuine masterpieces. Hough's own compositions are gentle salon pieces, charming but rather inconsequential - as are the Reynolds pieces; beautiful and atmospheric and well written but ultimately without much lasting power. Rawsthorne's four Bagatelles are, however, interesting pieces; the first and third are brilliant, virtuoso pieces and the second and fourth reflective (the second Allegretto innocently charming, the fourth Lento more substantial); not masterpieces, but well worth hearing.

Elgar's In Smyrna represents Elgar in lighter mood, but has memorable touches; Bantock's Song to the Seals is less effective. The contributions by York Bowen and by Frank Bridge are in many ways the highlights of the disc. Wonderfully varied, melodic works which deserve wider currency. The Six Studies by Kenneth Leighton constitute the most substantial music on the disc and exhibit a somewhat tougher language than the other pieces; they are surely technical demanding in their furious clashes of notes and clustering chords, but also ultimately very rewarding pieces of music in their own right. Needless to say, Hough's performances are absolutely superb; the more challenging works are handled with technical aplomb; the more reflective ones with delicacy and a large and finely nuanced color palette. A very satisfying, pleasant release which deserves a firm recommendation.
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