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Stephen Hough?
#2974691 05/04/20 06:34 AM
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I've never found Hough's playing anything special at all - nothing noticeably bad, just very plain. What's the general feeling towards him? I'm guessing uncontroversial but not considered to be one of the great pianists?

Last edited by Florestan7; 05/04/20 06:37 AM.
Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974722 05/04/20 08:25 AM
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I think generally he is one of the greatest living pianists. I do not like everything he does - his Rachmaninov leaves me cold. But his Brahms concertos for me are among the greatest recordings.

Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974739 05/04/20 09:40 AM
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Whether Hough is "one of the great pianists" depends in part on how many pianists one would choose to put on such a list. 5,10, 25, 50? Living pianists only?

I think he is sensationally good and would never describe his playing as "plain" or "uncontroversial". I believe he gets consistently excellent critical and public praise and performs in the most prestigious venues.

Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974748 05/04/20 10:04 AM
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I think he's fantastic. He also strikes me as a lovely person, although I've never met him.

Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974767 05/04/20 10:41 AM
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Hank Drake

Admin: https://www.facebook.com/groups/VladimirHorowitzPianist

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell
Re: Stephen Hough?
pianoloverus #2974769 05/04/20 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Whether Hough is "one of the great pianists" depends in part on how many pianists one would choose to put on such a list. 5,10, 25, 50? Living pianists only?

I think he is sensationally good and would never describe his playing as "plain" or "uncontroversial". I believe he gets consistently excellent critical and public praise and performs in the most prestigious venues.

Great pianists, living and dead - those that particularly stand out, who consistently record music that is musically and technically brilliant, and has a distinct quality... I have no idea - it's all subjective!
I may be underestimating Hough, and this is only my opinion, but I've never found his Beethoven, Chopin or Rachmaninoff to be anything particularly captivating, although I do like his recording of the Liszt Sonata.

Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974774 05/04/20 11:04 AM
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I've heard him live - flawless playing. However, I found his novel, "The Final Retreat", dark and depressing. Of course, I shouldn't try to identify the writer with his book. I applaud him for doing many things well - music, art, literature.

Sam

Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974775 05/04/20 11:05 AM
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I heard him play Chopin's 2nd piano concerto in F minor with the Seattle Symphony a while ago. I have a tendency to be overly critical of pianists but in Hough's case, I was completely thrilled by his performance. I think his playing is outstanding.

Florestan7, all pianists have good days and bad and most pianists shine with some composers and don't sound as good with others. Perhaps this was the case when you heard him?


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Deborah
Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974805 05/04/20 12:27 PM
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In addition to his stature as a pianist, I think Hough is one of the greatest living composers of transcriptions for piano.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtqQAfoNCeI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd7klOizFVo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MziXbBF_Irc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhmyqxjQ92s

Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974814 05/04/20 12:41 PM
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I had a master class with him in my college days. Very humble and I appreciate his attitude towards his art; he is committed to making a strong case for composers who have been forgotten, even though it's often thankless work that doesn't bring in the big dollars.

Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974821 05/04/20 01:00 PM
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I think Hough is phenomenal. One of my very favorite pianists. Would love to hear him live one day. I think he's like marc andre hamelin, jack gibbons, leslie howard. A virtuoso, who is also very balanced in their musical approach. Some may see their playing as a "plain" or "cold" it's a nice counterbalance to more hot blooded performers (who are also fun to listen to)

Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2974824 05/04/20 01:06 PM
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I have quite a few recordings of his and frankly have enjoyed them all. I've watched a few youtube clips and found him to be very pleasant, insightful and genteel. His latest book, "Rough Ideas" is a great read as well. I really like Volodos's Brahms recording and was equally impressed with Hough's recent release.

Re: Stephen Hough?
jeffreyjones #2974825 05/04/20 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffreyjones
I had a master class with him in my college days. Very humble and I appreciate his attitude towards his art;
I saw a masterclass with him at Manhattan School of Music a long time ago. He seemed extremely caring and only interested in helping the students.

Re: Stephen Hough?
kbrod1 #2975115 05/05/20 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by kbrod1
I have quite a few recordings of his and frankly have enjoyed them all. I've watched a few youtube clips and found him to be very pleasant, insightful and genteel. His latest book, "Rough Ideas" is a great read as well. I really like Volodos's Brahms recording and was equally impressed with Hough's recent release.

I also enjoyed Rough Ideas, particularly the sections that dealt with effective practice techniques. I've seen Hough live (which is the only way to REALLY judge someone's playing) at least as much as any other pianist and can attest he's the real thing - not the product of record producers. I haven't purchased his recent Brahms CD or the new cycle of Beethoven concertos (frankly I have so many of the latter I'm not sure if I can stand another version) but I've found many of his CDs refreshing, not just in performance, but in programming.


Hank Drake

Admin: https://www.facebook.com/groups/VladimirHorowitzPianist

The composers want performers be imaginative, in the direction of their thinking--not just robots, who execute orders.
George Szell
Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2975200 05/05/20 10:55 AM
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I saw Stephen Hough give a recital this past January. I thought he was sensational.


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Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2975336 05/05/20 03:46 PM
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I've clearly been missing something with Hough, reading what's been written - I'll try listening to some of his other recordings, to appreciate his playing more, even if I don't enjoy it as much as other pianists.

Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2975341 05/05/20 03:58 PM
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How do people think he compares to (the brilliant) Nelson Freire, for example?

Last edited by Florestan7; 05/05/20 03:58 PM.
Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2975359 05/05/20 04:21 PM
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I have a big set of tens of CD-s, part of “The Romantic Piano Concerto” series by Hyperion which is about little known concertos and Hough plays the Scharwenka, Sauer, Mendelssohn, Saint-Saëns, as well as one separate CD with Hummel 2nd and 3rd concertos and I believe he is one of the greatest pianists. Nothing is short of brilliant! I wish I could listen to him live.

Last edited by CyberGene; 05/05/20 04:22 PM.

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Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2975363 05/05/20 04:31 PM
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FWIW, MusicWeb reviewer John Quinn loved Hough's recent recording of LVB's 5 piano concerti: http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2020/Apr/Beethoven_PCs_CDA68291.htm

Last edited by Steve.L; 05/05/20 04:32 PM.
Re: Stephen Hough?
Florestan7 #2975451 05/05/20 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Florestan7
I've never found Hough's playing anything special at all - nothing noticeably bad, just very plain.

He's not my favorite pianist, but I'd never call his playing "plain." If anything, he takes quite a bit of liberties and adds a ton of his own ideas. That's never a bad thing, but sometimes it does make one wonder if he's trying to be different for the sake of being different. He also has a tendency to play stuff that nobody else plays.

I have absolutely no reservations about his technique. He's one of the few pianists who can actually play pieces too fast, which probably means he can process information very quickly, which means he's very intelligent.


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