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Hyperion Records

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Gazpacho (2004) by Anthony Mastromatteo (b?)
Reproduced by kind permission of the artist / Private Collection
Track(s) taken from CDA67565
Recording details: October 2005
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: November 2006
Total duration: 11 minutes 27 seconds

'Hough is one of Britian's best-kept cultural secrets; a pianist of such sophistication he will, I suspect, by the end of his career be able to be mentioned in the same breath as the few great British pianists of the past, such as Clifford Curzon and Solomon. Hough is a connoisseur, not merely a virtuoso. The 17 pieces on this beautifully recorded CD have all been carefully chosen to reflect the achievements of the Spanish nationalist school of Albéniz and Granados, the finest French exponents of the Spanish style, Ravel and Debussy, and a splendidly evocative encore, On Falla, by Hough himself. Irresistible … Stephen Hough's delicious Spanish Album, a real connoisseur's choice' (The Mail on Sunday)

'I cannot imagine many piano lovers failing to fall for this delectable and all-too-brief collection of impressions, portraits and postcards. If you are not drawn to the imaginative programme of the familiar, the brand new and the entirely unknown, then the elegant, eloquent playing of this master pianist will surely seduce you … we are treated to some of the loveliest pianissimos and and delicate shadings you'll hear, familiar from Hough's earlier Piano Albums and similar in his complete empathy with this kind of repertoire … Hough's own On Falla has an authentic ring that should provide him with a blistering encore for years to come … the piano sound (Andrew Keener and Simon Eadon) is as you would expect from Hyperion's dream team' (Gramophone)

'Hough again has a more intimate stance than many pianists, quietly brilliant in the cross-cutting between musical ideas. Everything is wonderfully fresh and nothing is laboured—it's a superb and surprising recital' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Stephen Hough is among the most intellectual of contemporary pianists; but he's also among the most playful and tonally poetic keyboard artists … the unashamedly romantic reading of the Soler Sonata that opens the programme sets up the perspective: extremely flexible tempos, all-embracing colours, an exceptional range of articulation, and a subtle observation of polyphony that leads to characterized conversations among the music's competing voices … Hough's own On Falla brings the collection to a whimsically brilliant close … an ear-caressing release' (International Record Review)

'The sparkle and sensitivity of Stephen Hough's playing is lavished on a typically imaginative cross-section of music inspired by Spain … the perfect Christmas present' (The Times)

'A ravishing display of light-fingered, insouciant virtuosity' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Like a good book that makes you laugh out loud and want to read it again, a CD of piano solos that brings a smile of appreciation to your lips is a great find. Pianist Stephen Hough brings his sublime musicality to this marvellous collection of Spanish piano works' (The Herald)

'Everything on this rewarding disc suggests that Hough intuitively feels the idiom in his bones' (Pianist)

'This is truly one of the loveliest piano compilations around and deserves every recommendation' (Classical.net)

'Stephen Hough joue la Sonate en fa dièse mineur de Soler avec un délié, une vivacité qui la fait sonner comme si elle était jouée à la pointe sèche … c'est admirable' (Diapason, France)

'L'étendue du répertoire de Stephen Hough, dont témoigne sa vaste discographie, ne fait pas obstacle chez lui à une connaissance approfondie de ces œuvres et de leur couleur particulière … voilà une travail intelligent, qui débouche sur un jeu coloré et sensible et nous apporte un plaisir sans mélange. Ce voyage musical, avec ses épisodes de réflexion et d'autres où le divertissement prend la première place, ne lasse jamais grâce à sa diversité' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

'Stephen Hough possède une technique pianistique qui sied à merveille à ces pièces courtes qu'il fait scintiller avec charme et verve pour régaler ses auditeurs' (Pizzicato, Germany)

Valses poéticos
composer
1887

Valses poéticos  [11'27]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Spanish Romanticism proved an indelible influence on Enrique Granados. With typically Romantic exclusiveness he took only what he wanted from this inspiration. He ignored the satiric violence and turmoil which are so often the other side of the Romantic coin and focused instead on a world of decorously induced passion and sublimated love. The Valses poéticos (1887) are the reverse of Granados’s masterpiece Goyescas (music which gave Ernest Newmann ‘the voluptuous sense of passing the fingers through masses of richly coloured jewels’) and are of an almost classic cut and economy. Yet the opening bunny-hop dance in rapid duple time is enlivened with a typically piquant dissonance, and the full-circle return to the first beguiling waltz is one of many surprises that make you wonder why this music is not in the repertoire of many more pianists.

from notes by Bryce Morrison © 2006

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