MY FAVORITE THINGS • Stephen Hough (pn) • NIMBUS 2540 (63:07)
MACDOWELL Hexentanz. CHOPIN(arr. Liszt) The Maiden’s Wish. QUILTER (arr. Hough) Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal. The Fuchsia Tree. DOHNÁNYI Read more class="ARIAL12b">Capriccio in f. PADEREWSKI Minuet in G. Nocturne. SCHLOZER Etude in A?. GABRILOVICH Melodie in E. Caprice-Burlesque. RODGERS (arr. Hough) The Sound of Music: My Favorite Things. WOODFORDE-FINDEN (arr. Hough) Kashmiri Love Song. FRIEDMAN Music Box. SAINT-SAËNS (arr. Godowsky) Carnival of the Animals: The Swan. ROSENTHAL Papillons. GODOWSKY Java Suite: The Gardens of Buitenzorg. LEVITZKI Waltz. PALMGREN En route. MOSKOWSKI Morceaux: Siciliano. Caprice espagnole
The superb British pianist Stephen Hough is no stranger to contemporary music. He is a composer himself. And yet this collection of bon-bons is unapologetically old-fashioned, or to put somewhat less pejoratively, quaint. These pieces are of the sort that appeared as encores on solo programs generations ago. Of course, this is not intended as a challenging recital; they don’t all have to be. Many of the works are transcriptions made by concert pianists, such as Liszt, Godowsky, and Hough himself, or original compositions from such giants of the fin de siècle golden age of pianism as Paderewski, Gabrilovich, Rosenthal, Friedman, and Godowsky again, and so there is no little razzle dazzle here. Lots of notes! And yet Hough’s playing is lovely rather than showy, with great finesse, delectably shaped phrases, and a celebration of pretty melodies. Nimbus gives us warm and colorful sound. If this material appeals to you, you are not going to get a better presentation than we have here. A bit of candy now and again won’t kill you.