Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Stephen Hough in recital
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Special Interest, New Age, Classical
Superbly performed and enjoyable piano recital
Reader | Maryland, USA | 04/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
Hough in Recital
Opinionated | 04/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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."
A Great Recital Superbly Played
D. A Wend | Buffalo Grove, IL USA | 12/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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.