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Track(s) taken from CDA67686

La plus que lente, L128


Stephen Hough (piano)
Recording details: July 2008
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Rachel Smith
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: March 2009
Total duration: 4 minutes 14 seconds

Cover artwork: When all is said & done (2006) by Anthony Mastromatteo (b?)
Reproduced by kind permission of the artist / Private Collection

Other recordings available for download

Angela Hewitt (piano)
Stephen Hough (piano) January 2018 Release


'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)
If Debussy’s intention that his ‘slower than slow’ waltz, La plus que lente, should be taken as a parody is not clear enough from his tempo direction, Lent (molto rubato con morbidezza), it is surely confirmed by his statement to the effect that it was written to suit the taste of ladies who take tea. Even so, it is impossible to hear its hesitantly syncopated G flat major main theme, its harmonic suspensions, its appassionato outcry in right-hand octaves, even its apparently aimless continuity and its drawn-out ending without detecting, and sharing, an affection for the object of his irony.

from notes by Gerald Larner © 2009

Si l’inclination de tempo—Lent (molto rubato con morbidezza)—n’avait pas suffi à dire l’intention parodique de La plus que lente, Debussy ne laissa pas de la confirmer en déclarant l’avoir écrite «pour les innombrables five o’clock où se rencontrent les belles écouteuses». Mais même ainsi, on ne peut entendre son thème principal en sol bémol majeur timidement syncopé, ses suspensions harmoniques, sa récrimination appassionato en octaves à la main droite, voire sa continuité apparemment sans but et sa conclusion qui traîne en longueur, sans déceler, ni partager, une tendresse pour l’objet de son ironie.

extrait des notes rédigées par Gerald Larner © 2009
Français: Hypérion

Wenn die Tempobezeichnung Lent (molto rubato con morbidezza) von Debussys „mehr als langsamen“ Walzer, La plus que lente, noch Zweifel zulässt, ob es sich hier um eine Parodie handelt, so werden diese doch durch seine Erklärung getilgt, dass das Werk für die schönen Zuhörerinnen entstanden sei, die sich bei unzähligen Fünf-Uhr-Tees träfen. Trotzdem kann man nicht umhin, bei dem zögerlich synkopierten Hauptthema in Ges-Dur, den harmonischen Vorhalten, dem Appassionato der Oktaven in der linken Hand und selbst der scheinbar ziellosen Kontinuität und dem lang gezogenen Schluss eine gewisse Zuneigung zu dem Objekt seiner Ironie zu empfinden.

aus dem Begleittext von Gerald Larner © 2009
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

Other albums featuring this work

Debussy: Piano Music
CDA6813929 December 2017 Release
Debussy: Solo Piano Music
Studio Master: CDA67898Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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