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Track(s) taken from CDA66969

Rondo brillant in E flat major, Op 29


Stephen Hough (piano), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Foster (conductor)
Recording details: January 1997
Dudley Town Hall, Warwickshire, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: August 1997
Total duration: 10 minutes 45 seconds


'It should perhaps come as no surprise that Stephen Hough should prove so perfectly attuned to these works … if you opt for just a single recording, this would make an excellent first choice … the soft, stylish arpeggios that open the first work on the disc announce immediately that something special is on the way. Hough is now clearly first recommendation in the concertos' (Gramophone)

'[Hough] can scamper with the best and is able to incorporate delightful capriciousness without derailing the flow of thought … These performances…boast of nearly ideal lightness, vivacity and impetus' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Stephen Hough has the ideal qualities of sharp attention to rhythmic detail and an impeccable fluidity of line and phrase' (The Observer)

'You can tell this is special from the first chord … I don't think [Stephen Hough] has an equal on record in this music, even with competitors like Andras Schiff and Murray Perahia. Issues like this add to the feeling that the great Mendelssohn reappraisal is underway at last. It's long overdue' (The Independent)

'Biting intensity, yet with freer expressiveness and bigger contrasts he also brings out extra poetry and … a sparkling wit … A constant delight' (The Guardian)

'Once again we have Stephen Hough lavishing his exciting gifts upon a splendid Mendelssohn programme. I cannot envisage this splendidly recorded disc being absent from the year's honours list' (Classic CD)

'Expressive playing from this fine soloist – one has to marvel at anyone who can take on those devilish tempos' (The Scotsman)

'Hough offers far greater elegance and plusher tone … Hough is, as always, a delight to listen to, such as in his quicksilver scattering of thirds in the last movement of the Second Concerto' (Fanfare, USA)

'Glitteringly performed' (Daily Mail)

'Hough’s pianism …is elegant, spirited and poetic, and well-attuned, too, to the swirling skittishness of the concertos' finales … Hough’s reading, as throughout this disc, is a joy' (Birmingham Post)

'He is all fleet-fingered exhilaration in the outer movements and relaxes appealingly when the music turns inwards' (International Piano)

'Stephen Hough searches out the lyrical essence of the music rather than going for glitz’ (Stereo Review)

'Stephen Hough is a player of formidable talent, capturing the essence and spirit of Mendelssohn’s driving enthusiasm and creative wonder' (Yorkshire Post)

'Stephen Hough is, undoubtedly, one of the most elegant pianists before the public today … Hough does not fail to underscore this in the brilliant pyrotechnics' (Soundscapes, Australia)

'An impressive achievement all round' (Piano, Germany)
The Rondo Brillant bears a dedication to Ignaz Moscheles (1794–1870), Mendelssohn’s teacher in Berlin in 1824 and a valued colleague and friend thereafter, who in 1846 was to accept his former pupil’s invitation to become first Professor of Piano at the newly founded Leipzig Conservatory.

The Rondo is in the key of E flat major. Its light-heartedness is offset by a more formidable and consistent order of virtuoso demand than is found elsewhere in the concertante keyboard works, and the absence of a slow introduction instils a compulsive momentum which is effortlessly maintained from start to finish, aided at several points by a seemingly equestrian accompanying rhythm of paired quaver chords across main beats. The ending is almost too terse, leaving little room for a climactic peroration and vanishing instead with the abruptness of Haydn in mischievous vein. The work seems likely to have appealed to its dedicatee, whose own concerto output was influenced by Beethoven and Schubert and in turn informed Mendelssohn’s style. The Rondo Brillant was composed in 1834.

from notes by Francis Pott © 1997

Le Rondo Brillant porte une dédicace à Ignaz Moscheles (1794–1870)—professeur de Mendelssohn à Berlin, en 1824, avant de se révéler un collègue et un ami précieux—, qui allait accepter l’invitation de son ancien élève et devenir, en 1846, le premier professeur de piano du Conservatoire de Leipzig, nouvellement fondé. La légèreté du Rondo en mi bémol majeur (composé en 1834) est contrebalancée par une exigence virtuose plus terrible et constante que dans n’importe quelle autre pièce pour clavier concertante, tandis que l’absence d’introduction lente insuffle un élan irrésistible, maintenu sans effort tout au long de l’œuvre et aidé en plusieurs endroits par un rythme d’accompagnement d’apparence équestre, formé d’accords de croches appariés de part et d’autre des temps principaux. La fin, presque trop laconique, ne laisse que peu de place à une péroraison paroxystique et s’évanouit avec la brusquerie d’un Haydn malicieux. L’œuvre plut probablement à son dédicataire, dont les concertos, influencés par Beethoven et par Schubert, imprégnèrent à leur tour le style de Mendelssohn.

extrait des notes rédigées par Francis Pott © 1997
Français: Hyperion Records Ltd

Das Rondo Brillant wurde Ignaz Moscheles (1794–1870), der im Jahr 1824 Mendelssohns Lehrer in Berlin war und später zu seinem geschätzten Kollegen und Freund werden sollte, gewidmet. 1846 nahm dieser die Einladung seines früheren Schülers und die erste Klavierprofessur am neu gegründeten Leipziger Konservatoriums an.

Das Rondo steht in der Tonart Es-Dur. Seine Unbeschwertheit wird durch einen beachtlichen und durchgängigen Anspruch auf Virtuosität wettgemacht, der sich an keiner anderen Stelle der concertante-Klavierwerke findet. Außerdem flößt das Fehlen eines langsamen Einleitungsteils ein zwanghaftes Element ein, das ohne Anstrengung durchgängig aufrechterhalten und an mehreren Stellen durch einen Reiterrhythmus von gepaarten Achtelakkorden über den Hauptbetonungen gestützt wird. Das Ende fällt fast zu knapp aus, läßt wenig Raum für eine Klimax im Schlußteil, entfleucht stattdessen in Haydn’scher, verschmitzter Manier vollkommen unvermittelt.

Das Werk scheint den Empfänger der Widmung, dessen eigener Kompositionsstil von Beethoven und Schubert beeinfluß wurde und der seinerseits Mendelssohns Stil nährte, angesprochen zu haben. Das Rondo Brillant wurde 1834 komponiert.

aus dem Begleittext von Francis Pott © 1997
Deutsch: Inge Schneider

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