Stephen Hough in recital

0 of 5 stars

Mendelssohn
Variations sérieuses, Op.54
Beethoven
Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111
Weber
Invitation to the Dance, Op.65
Chopin
Waltzes – in C sharp minor (Op.64/2) & in A flat (Op.34/1)
Saint-Saëns
Valse nonchalante, Op.110
Chabrier
Feuillet d’album
Debussy
La plus que lente
Liszt
Valse oubliée No.1
Mephisto Waltz No.1
Hough
Matilda’s Waltz [arrangement of Waltzing Matilda]

Stephen Hough (piano)

Recorded 22-23 July 2008 in Henry Wood Hall, London


Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood

Reviewed: May 2009
CD No: HYPERION CDA67686
Duration: 79 minutes

 

 

rubato, holding the main subject back as the composer requests until the full force of the fugue erupts. In the ‘Arioso’ second movement the pianist takes the opposite approach, completely unhurried as the timeless melody unwinds. There is a great clarity to the more complex counterpoint of the fourth Variation, though the syncopation is heavily accented. At the introverted climax of this remarkable work Hough’s trills are extremely well executed.

The remainder of Hough selections consists of early Romantic treats juxtaposed with some French delights and concludes with Hough’s own languorous Matilda’s Waltz, which is an amusing send-up of “Waltzing Matilda”.

Weber’s Invitation to the Dance blows away the cobwebs with its bounce and some sparkling right-hand runs. The two Chopin waltzes are nicely restrained and beautifully shaded, and Liszt’s (first) Mephisto Waltz, a real crowd-pleaser, comes across as quite ‘modern’.

Of the ‘lesser’ pieces, Saint-Saëns’s waltz is not the throwaway piece its title suggests; it has a nice lilt to it, as does the soft textures of Chabrier’s lightly coloured ‘album leaf’. Hough plays these with the same dedication as he does the substantial works. Excellent sound completes a fine release that is pleasurable to dip into and satisfying to play complete.

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