Notes and Editorial Reviews
This stimulating recital from Stephen Hough spans centuries and styles with assurance. Chopin's Piano Sonata No.2 and Hough's own Piano Sonata No.4 are the twin peaks in a program that includes the unlikely pairing of Liszt's Funérailles and Gouno's Ave Maria.
To call this a concept album would be to diminish its power and timeliness. It is both a meditation on the fragility of life and a Bergmanesque game of chess with Death, for which Hough has laid out his pieces and pawns in a masterstroke of programming. There is a poised and noble feel to Hough’s Chopin, subtly embellished as it is with effortless rubatos.
Listen to the Trio section of the Scherzo for a masterclass in unselfconscious artistry. Or marvel at the natural flowing tempo for the Funeral March, supporting a cinematographic contrast of ever more invasive death knells and subdued mourning. Two of Hough’s own arrangements, of a Korean traditional song and of Gounod/Bach, are at once transcendental and defiant: checkmate Death.
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Works on This Recording
Arirang by Traditional
Stephen Hough (Piano)
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