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#585257 - 02/14/09 11:26 AM Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
Joined: May 2001
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New York City
An interesting review appears in today's NY Times. Maybe someone can post it.

I have only heard him on recordings, youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TC2Wkv8IS8&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtqQAfoNCeI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gCquIhX20w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZcBU56Kdko
(Although I'm not that fond of any transcriptions of this piece the Cortot/Hough version seems less bombastic than the one by Busoni)

and in a masterclass at Manhattan School of Music. I liked them all very much. Anyone heard him perform live in recital or give a masterclass?

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#585258 - 02/14/09 11:38 AM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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argerichfan Offline
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I've heard Mr. Hough live a number of times and even met him briefly after a concert. Wonderful chap. In addition to his many fine recordings, he also writes very well, cf his perceptive essay 'Elgar the Catholic' in the book 'Elgar- An Anniversary Portrait.'

That said, one of his concerts was a bit of a disappointment. At the close of Schumann's Carnival I had the uneasy feeling that his technique was being pushed to the max. Perhaps he was having an off night...


Jason
#585259 - 02/14/09 12:28 PM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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#585260 - 02/14/09 01:08 PM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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Andromaque Offline
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Not every pianist offers a detailed prospectus of the works he means to play. But then not every pianist is Stephen Hough, who has won awards for his poetry as well as for his playing, and who regularly blogs about music, religion, hats and other topics for The Telegraph, the London newspaper.

“This recital is about counterpoint — not so much within the pieces (despite the two fugues), but between the pieces,” Mr. Hough wrote in the program for his Carnegie Hall performance, presented before a large, rapt audience on Thursday night. His essay, which identified a Parisian spirit and the great pianist Alfred Cortot as further leitmotifs, indicated a keen, idiosyncratic intellect, elegantly deployed.

His playing confirmed that impression. He opened with Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV 565) for organ in his own edition of Cortot’s piano arrangement. Dramatic flair, dazzling technique and pinpoint clarity in counterpoint thus established, Mr. Hough shifted gears with Fauré’s mellow, aqueous Nocturne No. 6 in D flat, Impromptu No. 5 in F sharp minor and Barcarolle No. 5 in F sharp.

In these, and in the account of Franck’s Prelude, Chorale and Fugue that followed, Mr. Hough’s execution was scrupulous, his lines affectionately molded. But what impressed most was his quietest playing, a hush so bold that its gravitational pull took you deep inside his work.

After intermission Mr. Hough offered a powerful account of Copland’s Piano Variations of 1934, a piece that reflects Copland’s youthful dedication to radical social politics and steely modernity. What Mr. Hough showed, through his incisive touch and sensitivity to dynamics, was that the sweeping prairies and stately arroyos of Copland’s maturity could already be glimpsed past the rivets and girders here, as long as you knew where to squint.

After a mesmerizing account of Chopin’s Nocturne in B (Op. 62, No. 1), Mr. Hough neatly balanced architectural integrity with Romantic impetuosity in Chopin’s Sonata No. 3 in B minor. Mr. Hough’s fragile gait in the Largo verged on precious, and his blazing speed made the Presto feel breathless. Still, even when you questioned Mr. Hough’s choices, his convictions had a force to be admired.

He played three encores, starting with “Evocación” from Albéniz’s “Iberia.” The second piece, a fiery miniature that had audience members guessing Albéniz and Falla, turned out to be Mr. Hough’s composition “On Falla.” Debussy’s “Girl With the Flaxen Hair” provided a dreamy conclusion.

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#585261 - 02/14/09 03:59 PM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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Carey Offline
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FYI - the Copland "Piano Variations" was written in 1930 (not 1934 as stated in the above review) and premiered in January 1931.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai CA-65
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
#585262 - 02/14/09 04:06 PM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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Andromaque Offline
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ouch. I forgot to paste the name of the reviewer, although the flow of the thread makes it clear that I am not the original writer, i think.
I have edited the post to note that.carey, you should consider emailing him for a correction if you are confident about your sources..

#585263 - 02/14/09 04:42 PM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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Goldberg Offline
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U.S.
I believe Hough is one of the most important pianists alive today, and easily one of the most underappreciated, in my estimation because his playing tends to be highly nuanced and subtle, and rarely in the grand style favored by modern audiences--even his repertoire choices in general show that he strays away from typical opportunities for technical display (although he's more than capable). He chooses rare pieces to play--who bothers with Faure and Franck anymore?--and performs them with great love and tremendous attention to detail. I think young pianists would do well to gain as much from Hough's example as possible. I'm especially impressed by his wide ranging interests and ability to write intelligently about art literature, etc., as well as music, and from a pianistic perspective, his total control of the pedal is astounding. I've always felt that in this age of note-perfect technique in almost every pianist out there, the best way to tell the greats apart from the goods is how well they use the pedal. I hope more people will come to appreciate him over time.

#585264 - 02/14/09 05:04 PM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Andromaque - I'm completely confident about my sources. I'd be happy to e-mail the critic.

Best -


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai CA-65
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
#585265 - 02/15/09 10:56 AM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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Auntie Lynn Offline
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He was here last week doing the Tchai SECOND - it did not get very good reviews but I loved it - in addition to the blazing firepower, you have that gawjus duet between the violin and cello...when in the neighborhood (in London) I have oft been tempted to try and crash one of his master classes...nice try!

#585266 - 02/15/09 11:45 AM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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Quote
Originally posted by Auntie Lynn:
He was here last week doing the Tchai SECOND - it did not get very good reviews but I loved it - in addition to the blazing firepower, you have that gawjus duet between the violin and cello...when in the neighborhood (in London) I have oft been tempted to try and crash one of his master classes...nice try!
What did they criticize? Can you perhaps post the review?

Does anyone hear play any of the Hough transcriptions or original works? I have played some of the easiest including Hello Young Lovers,
Danny Boy, What Knows the Young Girl Who's Never Been Kissed(approximate translation from the German), Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal.

Although some of the Hough transcriptions require virtuoso technique, it's nice that some incredibly beautiful ones are within the reach of the non-professional.

#585267 - 02/15/09 07:17 PM Re: Stephen Hough at Carnegie Hall  
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Auntie Lynn Offline
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San Francisco, CA
I can't do it here, but you can pull up the San Francisco Chronicle website - go to Entertainment - do a search on Stephen Hough and the review is still there.


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