Search - Edward MacDowell, Frederic Chopin, Roger Quilter :: The Piano Album

The Piano Album
Edward MacDowell, Frederic Chopin, Roger Quilter
The Piano Album
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Jazz, Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #2


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CD Reviews

Tertullian | USA | 01/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am a pianophile and longtime record collector, and this is one of the most awe-inspiring recordings I have ever heard. Stephen Hough's pianism - and I don't mean to be hyperbolic - simply exhausts all adjectives one might try to use to describe it. This is the kind of album to listen to not so much for the music (though these are charming and now-rarely heard pieces) but for the artistry of the performer. For stunning virtuosity, listen to the final measures of the Moszowski piece or to the MacDowell; for rich tone and melting legato listen to Hough's own transcriptions of the two Roger Quilter songs. Out of hundreds of CDs I have heard, this is one of my absolute favorites - and a steal at the price. Stephen Hough is the modern day Cortot, Gieseking, Rachmaninoff, and Joseph Levine, for he has it all - drama, precision, color, intellect, raw strength, and yes - delicacy. I rarely make recommendations like this, but you absolutely must hear this recording."
Overly rich nostalgic pieces and particles of the piano
scarecrow | Chicago, Illinois United States | 01/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is music that seems to have lapsed into a forgotten time warp, like when you open that old wood truck in the attic to find odd bits and particles,objects,dolls and photographs that immediately transports you into another fantasia place. That's what this music does. Hough has selected for the most part fast filigreed,rapid cascades and ribbons of pieces. Each however has its own narrative,its own special tale to reveal, a special musical texture,an endearing melody. Needless to say most of the composers here are those you've never heard before,like Ignaz Friedman, whose "Music Box" is not what you think, yes it has that timbre of forever moving tickly tones,for a ballerina popping out of a ceramic box. But there is a large pallette of sophistication here as well with the unique timbre of the piano. Every piece does this admirably. The Hexentanz of MacDowell (arr.Liszt) is a helter-skelter piece never stopping,scaling the upper regions of the keyboard,and this would be an encore work. It keeps you on the edge of your upholstered chair.Leoplold Godowsky is not an unfamiliar name,he is a specialist in the art of the arragement trying to capture a timbre, and here in Camille Saint-Saens forever memorable "Swan"the final days of post-romantic Louis Napoleon the Third era is handled with just a few more ripples in the pond than before almost imperceptible.When played in consecutive order all these works I found myself bored,this music inhabits such a rich timbral world that it's message overspends itself, overspills into the next work. A modernist voice of Lowell Lieberman is here, a postmodern specialist in this genre of the new tonality, or the past revisited. Proust taught us the rich chasms of remembering, and the process of reoccurence of time returning in differnt guises. Lieberman's "Gargoyles" has its own sardonic charm.,equally at home compliasant with his timbral brethren."
Not quite perfect, but well worth purchasing
A. Hansen | Walla Walla, WA USA | 03/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Stephen Hough's mastery of the piano, both live and on CD, is phenomenal. His virtuosic technique, impeccable attention to detail, exploration of tone color, and the musical emotions he portrays make these recordings inimitable. It is refreshing to hear a pianist of such high caliber step away from the tried-and-true classics to examine these unfamiliar works.

My only qualm with the recordings themselves is that the virtuosity, while inspiring, could stand to be interrupted more often by pieces of a sparser nature. It is mentally exhausting to listen to two full CDs of nearly constant sixteenth notes! Beyond that, the last track on both discs cuts off prematurely, jarring the listener. The plastic flip-case holding the two CDs is of poor quality (mine broke the first time I opened it), and the song lists in the album booklet can be confusing to decipher. Nevertheless, this album (and nearly any other recording of Hough's) is one I'd recommend to any dedicated pianist looking to expand their listening repertoire."