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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: 8 minutes 4 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)

Aufforderung zum Tanz, J260 Op 65
1819; rondeau brillant

Other recordings available for download
Garrick Ohlsson (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The most influential of all piano waltzes must be Weber’s Aufforderung zum Tanz (‘Invitation to the Dance’). While it didn’t achieve that distinction unaided—for the last 150 years it has been far more familiar in the orchestral arrangement made by Berlioz in 1841 than in the original—it did demonstrate in masterly fashion that the waltz could be transformed from a one-or-two-tune dance into a developed concert piece. Hummel apparently did it first but it was Weber who provided the model for the great concert waltzes of the Strauss family and, through them, such symphonically constructed waltz-time inspirations as, say, Glazunov’s Grande valse de concert and Ravel’s La valse.

If the Moderato introduction is more effective in the Berlioz version—where the solo cello and the answering woodwind might seem to offer a more eloquent interpretation of the gentleman’s increasingly pressing invitation and the lady’s correspondingly warmer replies—the dance itself is highly idiomatic piano music. Usually described as a rondo, the Allegro vivace is actually a complex construction including three waltzes, each with its main and subsidiary themes. The main theme is the vigorous upward arpeggio that plunges the dancers into the first waltz, which also includes a more gentle idea with mazurka-like displaced rhythmic accents and, before the return of the main theme, an episode of keyboard bravura. Both the second waltz, beginning with a delightful rocking melody picked out on the first beat of each bar, and the third waltz, based on a minor-key variant of the main theme, are shorter than the first but no less tuneful. Surprisingly, the one passage of development is devoted to the second theme of the opening waltz (now without its mazurka accents) rather than the main theme—which is being held in reserve for an exhilarating recapitulation and a brilliant coda. The end of the waltz is not quite the end of the piece: in the Moderato closing bars the dancers exchange parting compliments with a nice appreciation of musical as well as social form.

from notes by Gerald Larner © 2009

Other albums featuring this work
'Weber: Complete Piano Sonatas' (CDD22076)
Weber: Complete Piano Sonatas
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 CDD22076  2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)  

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