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Hyperion Records

CDA66918 - Franck: Piano Music

Recording details: July 1996
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: February 1997
Total duration: 67 minutes 36 seconds


'Wonderfully played … marvellous sound. This is a first-rate issue in every respect … only the most exalted comparisons will do for Stephen Hough's latest disc, and even they are struggling to compete. Hough has a dream-ticket combination of virtues—astonishing agility, a faultless ear for texture, fine-tuned stylistic sensibility and an exceptional understanding of harmonic and structural tensions. [His] recent Hyperion issues have given him a lot to live up to. This recital triumphantly does that' (Gramophone)

'It is hard to imagine better performances' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Must take pride of place among recordings of this repertoire. A most distinguished record in every way' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

‘Hough at his magical best’ (Classic FM Magazine)

'Superb performances … Style, elegance, and a power that is awe-inspiring when unleashed. César Franck has never been better served' (Classic CD)

'A superb production!' (Fanfare, USA)

'Playing of exquisite poise, intrepid technical brilliance and extraordinary insight. A peach of an issue' (Hi-Fi News)

'Un des pianistes les plus virtuoses au monde à ce jour, non seulement dans la vitesse et le prestesse, mais surtout dans l'imagination et la qualité sonore. Avec une telle maîtrise du clavier et des timbres, une telle lisibilité polyphonique, une telle intelligence du texte, Hough va à mon sens plus loin que bien d'autres pianistes, même les plus valeureux dans la compréhension profonde de cette musique' (Répertoire, France)

Piano Music
Fugue: Tempo I  [6'54]
Aria: Lento  [5'21]

This recording contains all of the mature piano music by César Franck, and includes Stephen Hough's own stunning transcription of the Troisième Choral, originally composed for organ. Also featured is the Grand Caprice, one of numerous 'salon'-type pieces Franck composed in his youth.

Other recommended albums
'Alkan: Grande Sonate 'Les quatre âges', Sonatine & Le festin d'Ésope' (CDA66794)
Alkan: Grande Sonate 'Les quatre âges', Sonatine & Le festin d'Ésope
'Bowen: Piano Music' (CDA66838)
Bowen: Piano Music
'Marc-André Hamelin live at Wigmore Hall' (CDA66765)
Marc-André Hamelin live at Wigmore Hall
'Rachmaninov: Moments musicaux & Morceaux de salon' (CDA66184)
Rachmaninov: Moments musicaux & Morceaux de salon

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
It is a strange paradox that while organists comment how Franck wrote for the organ like a pianist, pianists point out how ‘organ-like’ his piano music is. Both of these opinions have a certain validity, however, because although he spent most of his mature years of creativity in the organ loft Franck began his musical life as a pianist, taking up his first organ position as a means to supplement a meagre living teaching the piano. It was only when he was appointed organist at Ste-Clotilde in 1858 that he began seriously to study the use of the pedals—he had a Pleyel practice pedal-board delivered to his home to help him to use this ‘third hand’ with greater ease.

Stephen Hough © 1997

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