Stephen Hough in recital

0 of 5 stars

Variations sérieuses, Op.54
Piano Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111
Invitation to the Dance, Op.65
Waltzes – in C sharp minor (Op.64/2) & in A flat (Op.34/1)
Valse nonchalante, Op.110
Feuillet d’album
La plus que lente
Valse oubliée No.1
Mephisto Waltz No.1
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
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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content