Colin Clarke
International Piano
May 2014

Hyperion’s superb recording and Stephen Hough’s burnished sound make this a most appealing disc on the subject of music of the night. Schumann bookends the recital, his 'In der Nacht' beautifully sustained before Hough gives a ‘Moonlight’ Sonata in a different league from Kolesnikov, finding cheeky accents in the central Allegretto and presenting an explosive finale. The two Chopin Nocturnes, both beautifully shaded and harmonically aware, precede Hough’s own Second Piano Sonata, a consideration of various facets of the night: brightness, darkness and irrational fears. Dissonant yet based in Romanticism, the piece includes nods to Scriabin, Webern and Messiaen. Hough is his own finest interpreter, playing with a fierce belief in the score. Finally, Schumann’s Carnaval (each movement separately tracked) is full of character. The opening gestures are gloriously exuberant, introducing one of the finest readings available.