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Track(s) taken from CDA67267

Six Studies 'Study Variations', Op 56


Stephen Hough (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: January 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Mike Hatch
Release date: March 2002
Total duration: 16 minutes 40 seconds

Cover artwork: Days Gone By (2001) by Anthony Mastromatteo (b?)
Private Collection


'Another winner from the ever-imaginative Stephen Hough. In all these pieces Hough's magic is presented in full, clear Hyperion sound' (Gramophone)

'Powerful, sympathetic and beautifully recorded, and his fans everywhere will be thrilled' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Exquisite presentation … [Hough] is a pianist of such refinement and impeccable technique that he makes everything he plays compellingly interesting … [the Leighton Studies] have a clear awareness of other 20th -century musical styles, including jazz, and there is an element of virtuosity that Hough, of course, delivers brilliantly' (The Guardian)

'Hough's performances are magical – scintillating, refined, sensuous in the smaller works, commanding and powerful in Rawsthorne and Leighton. I hope this superb pianist records many more recitals of British music' (American Record Guide)

'Hough’s pianism is a constant source of wonder – every chord and phrase perfectly judged' (Classic FM Magazine)

'these performances can be regarded as definitive … A CD of revealing personal choices of a master pianist, and one that reveals yet more very worthy British music … Strongly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'(Hough) plays with an astonishing command, great insight and some terrific finesse, in a performance that ranges from the elegant and sensitive to the vigorous and exhilarating' (Hi-Fi News)

'I’ve long admired the unfailingly beautiful, carefully honed, paradoxically rich but lean textures and sonorities Stephen Hough cultivates … a style in which patient, sustained utterance came to seem immediate, fervent and idealistic  … Crystal-sharp sound and superb performances; transcendental technique in the service of music that at least sets itself transcendental goals' (Pianist)

'Hough plays [Leighton] superbly, with marvellous tonal control in the rugged and spiky passages and also in the quiet harmonic episodes that glow with fierce intensity … enjoyable, excellently performed and beautifully engineered CD' (International Piano)

'Hough is one of world’s grandest piano performers, imaginative, graceful, powerful, able to dazzle with both his technique and his mind … a haunting and complex collection' (Philadelphia Post)

'This is a treat for lovers of the piano … Fascinating stuff' (Manchester Evening News)

'Scrupulous, full … bodied, and technically impeccable performances … He revels in the sensuous harmonic felicities that color Stephen Reynolds' pastiches and makes an easy task of York Bowen’s fustian textures (Classics Today)
Kenneth Leighton had a distinguished life as a composer, pianist and, latterly, as Reid Professor of Music at Edinburgh University. He wrote his Six Study-Variations in 1969 and they are an important and inexplicably neglected example of English piano music at its best. The rhythmic inventiveness—moving from the pointillism of the second and fourth studies to the snappy, jazz-like syncopations of the ferociously virtuosic final one—is always perfectly judged and paced, and the harmonic tension never strains nor slacks. At the heart of the work is the densely chromatic third study in which slow, repeated notes collide and rise inexorably in thickening clusters to a fist-shaking climax of defiant intensity.

from notes by Stephen Hough © 2002

Kenneth Leighton mena une éminente carrière de compositeur, pianiste et plus tard de Professeur titulaire de la chaire Reid de musique à l’Université d’Edimbourg. Le directeur artistique de ce disque. Il écrivit ses Six études-variations en 1969. Voici un exemple majeur de musique anglaise pour le piano à son plus haut niveau. Rien ne permet d’expliquer l’obscurité dans laquelle cette œuvre est tenue. L’invention rythmique—allant du pointillisme des deuxième et quatrième études aux syncopes endiablées évoquant le jazz de la dernière, toute en virtuosité—est toujours jugée et exploitée à la perfection. La tension harmonique ne se relâche jamais pas plus qu’elle ne se force à l’excès. Au cœur de l’œuvre préside la troisième étude au chromatisme dense où les notes lentes et répétées s’entrechoquent et s’élèvent inexorablement dans des clusters de plus en plus denses vers un climax énergique d’une intensité intransigeante.

extrait des notes rédigées par Stephen Hough © 2002
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Kenneth Leighton genoß eine Laufbahn als namhafter Komponist, Pianist und später als Inhaber des Reid-Lehrstuhls für Musik an der Universität von Edinburgh. Leighton schrieb seine Six Study-Variations im Jahre 1969—sie sind ein bedeutendes und unverständlicherweise vernachlässigtes Beispiel für beste englische Klaviermusik. Die rhythmische Erfindungsgabe, die vom Pointillismus der zweiten und vierten Etüde bis zu den temperamentvollen, an Jazz gemahnenden Synkopen der heftig virtuosen letzten reicht, ist stets vollendet kontrolliert und abgewogen, und die harmonische Spannung wirkt niemals überzogen oder erschlafft. Im Zentrum des Werks steht die verdichtet chromatische dritte Etüde, in der langsame, wiederholte Noten aufeinanderstoßen und unerbittlich in dichter werdenden Clustern zu einem fäusteschüttelnden Höhepunkt von rebellischer Intensität anschwellen.

aus dem Begleittext von Stephen Hough © 2002
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

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