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Hyperion Records

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When all is said & done (2006) by Anthony Mastromatteo (b?)
Reproduced by kind permission of the artist / Private Collection
Track(s) taken from CDA67686
Recording details: July 2008
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Rachel Smith
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: March 2009
Total duration: 3 minutes 27 seconds

'Listening to this recital I felt as though I were a guest at a sumptuous banquet … it is the different wines accompanying each course that make this meal special, that is to say the discriminating premier cru tone, touch (what magically hushed pianissimos) and masterly pedalling to which the diners are treated, each element adjusted to each composer yet all unmistakably Stephen Hough—vintage Hough at that, for here is a pianist at the height of his powers … a great piano recording and front runner for instrumental disc of the year' (Gramophone)

'The glinting wit and thorough seriousness of pianist Stephen Hough's playing—attributes you desire from all virtuosi but do not always find—make this mixed repertoire disc a particular joy' (The Observer)

'Variations sérieuses is given a spontaneous and nimble account, fully relaying Mendelssohn's dazzling invention; and also his heart … [Beethoven Op 111] the second movement has rarely sounded more luminous … [Invitation to the Dance] Hough's performance is scintillating and affectionate, notably lucid in how the hands interact. The Chopin waltzes are pleasurable for Hough's unaffected and crisp (but never inflexible) playing … this thoughtfully conceived, superbly executed and produced release warrants a most enthusiastic recommendation' (International Record Review)

'Hough's clear-sighted path through both the Mendelssohn and Beethoven, every detail perfectly placed, belies the charm he brings to the bravura glitter of the Weber, the subtle ambiguities of Debussy's La Plus que Lente, and the more insidious allure of the Liszt. It's a beautifully accomplished sequence' (The Guardian)

'It's hard to think of another pianist who could encompass such high seriousness—his techincal brilliance is never an alibi for superficiality in Beethoven and Mendelssohn—and high jinks within the same programme … Hough wears his virtuosity so lightly that the fantastically difficult notes seem to pour off his fingers with effortless ease. His Weber and Liszt are played with staggering bravura, his Chopin is both brilliant and wistful, and his Waltzing Matilda makes you want to laugh out loud' (The Sunday Times)

Waltz in C sharp minor, Op 64 No 2
composer
published in 1847

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Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Where Chopin excels is in his creation of what Schumann described as ‘waltzes for souls much more than waltzes for bodies’. There is no better example than one of his very last works, the Waltz in C sharp minor Op 64 No 2. If it is still a waltz for the body it is for a soulful and solitary one that moves with a pathetic little skip between the sighing parallel sixths of its main theme and then twists away in a nostalgic pirouette. The melodiously expressive middle section—approached by a run of quavers that has the function of a recurring refrain—is harmonized in D flat major but is scarcely less poignant than the C sharp minor episodes on either side of it.

from notes by Gerald Larner © 2009


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