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Hyperion Records

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Coxcombs by Ben Moore
Reproduced by permission of the artist / Private Collection
Track(s) taken from CDA66963
Recording details: July 1996
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: August 1997
Total duration: 3 minutes 55 seconds

'Altogether outstanding in every way … a real treat … utterly compelling playing with a recording to match … in the hands of an imaginative pianist like Stephen Hough this other-worldly, almost eremitic [music] becomes revelatory. He catches Mompou's wistful moods to perfection' (Gramophone)

'It's a rare thing for an artist's programme notes to vie in quality with his playing. There is simply no better description of this music, nor any more persuasive, imaginative and spiritually attuned performer of it. Fascinating, hypnotic, mystical. Commended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'In his skilfully planned and superlatively played programme Stephen Hough achieves a vivid sense of contrast, of temporal and spiritual reflection. His rare empathy for such music is reflected in Hyperion's cloudless recording' (BBC Record Review)

'Perhaps the most significant piano release of the year' (The Independent)

'Pianism of a very high order indeed, backed up by a recording of beautiful limpidity. Spellbinding music, immaculately performed' (Classic CD)

'Ce CD est une parfaite introduction à une oeuvre aussi passionante que difficile à cerner. La prise de son d'une qualité exceptionelle de rondeur et de naturel' (Répertoire, France)

Trois Variations
composer

Trois Variations (1921), in spite of the abstract-sounding title, belongs to the same family as the other cycles. After a ‘one-finger’ theme there follow three contrasting variations—‘The Soldiers’, ‘Courtesy’ and ‘Nocturne’—which are like a miniature anthology of the three musical styles of Mompou: the first is in his typical naive, primitive style, with its echoes of Satie—these are children dressed as soldiers, not fighting men; the second is a suavely seductive waltz which folds the theme in a succulently rich harmonic sauce—a reminder, perhaps, that Poulenc was a neighbour in Paris; and the third variation (originally called ‘The Toad’ and later ‘The Frog’ for some unknown reason) is akin to the mystical pieces, with its gentle, undulating accompaniment weaving a magic carpet of sound beneath the trance-transformed theme.

from notes by Stephen Hough ę 1997

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