I went to hear Stephen Hough perform last night at the La Jolla Chamber Music Society pianists series. Being a big fan I looked forward to his recital with great expectation. Not at all disappointed! He did an interesting program mix of staples - Brahms' Ballades Op.10, Schumann "Carnival" - and never heard works (for me) - Kenneth Leighton's Six Study-Variations and his own work called "Suite Osmanthus". The latter was written for a friend with musical notes based on his name similar to the "Carnaval". An engaging work with introspective movements alternating with fast, extroverted movements. The Leighton pieces were also interesting; they sounded very demanding from a technical standpoint. My favorite performance was of the "Carnaval". He played the poetic sections with a marvelous pianissimo touch and the fast sections with extreme facility and power. Overall, a really enjoyable concert. Afterwards, I spoke with him and as I remembered before when meeting him he's really friendly and outgoing. He graciously autographed my copies of his transcriptions/original volumes. He said they are now available online at his web site: Stephen Hough\'s homepage
Stephen is surely one of the great pianists playing today. I hope to hear him in many future concerts.