Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

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Allen
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Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Allen » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:23 pm

I just learnt that Hough had written a novel called "The Final Retreat".
Here are some reviews of the book:

http://stephenhough.com/files/index_92_2035573178.pdf

http://stephenhough.com/files/index_91_3818076453.jpg

http://sylpheditions.com/content/sbooks ... etreat.pdf

Has anyone read the book? Worth reading? Any thoughts would be welcome. Thanks.

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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Lance » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:08 pm

Interesting. I didn't realize Hough was an author as well. Very talented pianist. Am I remembering correctly that he considered being a Catholic priest? It seems like this book has come out at an opportune time given so much happening in the church. I'm not much of a novel reader, but I've ordered this.
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John F
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by John F » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:12 am

While in New York for a performance Hough gave a talk at the performing arts library about his activities as a pianist, composer, novelist, and perhaps more as well. (I couldn't attend as I was on duty at the time.) If ever anyone deserved a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant it's Hough, but since he's not an American citizen or resident he isn't eligible.
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barney
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by barney » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:04 pm

Not sure I want to read "gritty" and "sticky" gay sex scenes - well, actually, I'm sure I don't - but apart from that it looks like a really interesting book.

Belle
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Belle » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:22 pm

barney wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:04 pm
Not sure I want to read "gritty" and "sticky" gay sex scenes - well, actually, I'm sure I don't - but apart from that it looks like a really interesting book.
I don't like reading about sex scenes - heterosexual or otherwise. Think of all the really great works of literature; there aren't too many in them, apart from the obvious ones from the 20th century which were the subject of bans at one time or another!! As a friend used to say, "I like scenes where one foot is on the floor and another is on the bed"!! He was being metaphorical, of course.

This is an excellent performance by Stephen Hough, from 2013. Not a favourite work of mine, but having talked about it yesterday with my physician friend I thought it was worth another hearing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c33q87s03h4

Is that a picture of Clara Schumann up on his wall in that music studio?

Rach3
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Rach3 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:58 pm

He's a painter as well, and if I recall correctly, a gardener and chef. Of his cd's I have, I can recommend " My Favorite Things" encore pieces, his cd of York Bowen's solo piano music, his Mompou cd, and his cd of the Emil Von Sauer PC # 1 ( paired with Schwarenka's PC #4, # 4 music I dont care for ).I have , but dont care for the works, his cd of the Liebermann PC's ; same ( I think I have it ) for his "New York Variations" cd. FWW.

John F
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by John F » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:57 am

Hough first came to my notice, and I think many others', with his recording of two Hummel piano concertos on Chandos. It's a winner, and so is the music.
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jserraglio
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by jserraglio » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:46 am

Six fictional priests chosen by Stephen Hough:

http://www.stephenhough.com/files/index ... 693248.pdf

maestrob
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by maestrob » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:00 pm

John F wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:57 am
Hough first came to my notice, and I think many others', with his recording of two Hummel piano concertos on Chandos. It's a winner, and so is the music.
I've had that one since it was first issued, and I agree with you. You can hear premonitions of Chopin very clearly in the music, which I play at least once or twice a year.

Rach3
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Rach3 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:43 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:00 pm
John F wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:57 am
Hough first came to my notice, and I think many others', with his recording of two Hummel piano concertos on Chandos. It's a winner, and so is the music.
I've had that one since it was first issued, and I agree with you. You can hear premonitions of Chopin very clearly in the music, which I play at least once or twice a year.

Agree with both of you about the music . My concertos recording is a different one. Here is another great Hummel work, his Piano Sonata # 5, Constance Keene's cd:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdbLs-Z ... j_MMNXZhuP

John F
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by John F » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:18 pm

And while we're on the subject, Hummel published a set of three quartets as his op. 30, the second of which has been recorded several times. It figures that a pupil of Mozart could write good string quartets.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqscCuyoVgY
John Francis

barney
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by barney » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:11 pm

maestrob wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:00 pm
John F wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 2:57 am
Hough first came to my notice, and I think many others', with his recording of two Hummel piano concertos on Chandos. It's a winner, and so is the music.
I've had that one since it was first issued, and I agree with you. You can hear premonitions of Chopin very clearly in the music, which I play at least once or twice a year.
Me too. And at that time, almost the only Hummel I knew was the trumpet concerto. It's a really fine disc.

barney
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by barney » Sat Oct 13, 2018 6:17 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:46 am
Six fictional priests chosen by Stephen Hough:

http://www.stephenhough.com/files/index ... 693248.pdf
This was really interesting, thanks for posting. I was quite unaware of most of the films. As a teen, I loved the Father Brown stories, and I quite enjoy the current TV series, though my watching is rather erratic.

John F
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by John F » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:43 pm

Chesterton insists in most of the stories that Father Brown is short, fat, and clumsy, but the actors who have played him aren't like that. The TV series, or such of it as I've seen, are new stories rather than dramatizations of the original ones.

I remember the movie in which Alec Guinness played Father Brown and Peter Finch was Flambeau, a dramatization of the first Father Brown story "The Blue Cross." It had various titles; in the US it was simply "The Detective," though originally it was "Father Brown - Detective." The movie led me to read the Chesterton stories, and somewhere along the line I picked up a book that has them all. I'd like to see it again, and somebody uploaded it to YouTube, but NBC blocked it "for copyright reasons."
John Francis

Belle
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Belle » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:07 pm

I find these types of series quite dull and relics of a different era. What is usually lacking is an excellent, thought-provoking script - which is the essence of any TV drama or adaptation if it's to be taken seriously. To that end, if you want a REALLY good 'whodunnit' with a central character as gumshoe or crime-solver go no further than the 90s series "Cracker" with the excellent Robbie Coltrane. Blistering script, tremendous acting and wonderful character development in a series about a forensic psychologist, Dr. Fitzgerald, who has fraught interpersonal relationships and an eccentric personality - gambling and alcohol-addicted and with kids who seem like they've been brought up by wolves! Written by the brilliant Jimmy McGovern. Sophistication plus plus: real people, grit, tension, not a wasted word.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x66eg8w

Do yourself a big favour and watch it. Second episode of this 2-part program available on the menu at the top.

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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Lance » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:42 am

What I have read so far is quite shocking for a novel. But I can only think that much of this story is based on, perhaps, real life experiences especially given what is happening with regard to the Catholic church across the world. It is descriptive beyond words. I'm really not glad that I have this book; it makes one feel depressed and questions your own religious beliefs or thoughts. There is probably more truth in this book than you can imagine. It is my understanding that, at one time, Stephen Hough was thinking of becoming a priest; instead he became a great pianist.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Rach3
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Rach3 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:59 am

Here is a great live performance video of HUmmel's Op.85 PC # 2, Dmitry Shishkin,pianist ( finalist I believe at the 2015 Chopin Competition), Pletnev,Russian National Orchestra, in Moscow recently. Wonderful music, and an extraordinary technical tour de force, not to be missed IMHO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpuPooS60YE

maestrob
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by maestrob » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:53 am

Belle wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:07 pm
I find these types of series quite dull and relics of a different era. What is usually lacking is an excellent, thought-provoking script - which is the essence of any TV drama or adaptation if it's to be taken seriously. To that end, if you want a REALLY good 'whodunnit' with a central character as gumshoe or crime-solver go no further than the 90s series "Cracker" with the excellent Robbie Coltrane. Blistering script, tremendous acting and wonderful character development in a series about a forensic psychologist, Dr. Fitzgerald, who has fraught interpersonal relationships and an eccentric personality - gambling and alcohol-addicted and with kids who seem like they've been brought up by wolves! Written by the brilliant Jimmy McGovern. Sophistication plus plus: real people, grit, tension, not a wasted word.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x66eg8w

Do yourself a big favour and watch it. Second episode of this 2-part program available on the menu at the top.
Belle, I second the motion about "Cracker!" I have the entire series on DVD, and recommend it highly!

Now back to Stephen Hough....

Rach3:

Thanks for that Hummel posting! Superb!

Belle
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Belle » Mon Oct 15, 2018 2:40 pm

I noticed with Hough's performance of the Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (for the 2013 Proms) that he tended quite often to suddenly drop away the melody into much quieter passages. This would be in the score (presumably) but done in such a way that it beccomes somewhat mannered. What do you think?

maestrob
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by maestrob » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:31 pm

Belle wrote:
Fri Oct 12, 2018 5:22 pm
barney wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:04 pm
Not sure I want to read "gritty" and "sticky" gay sex scenes - well, actually, I'm sure I don't - but apart from that it looks like a really interesting book.
This is an excellent performance by Stephen Hough, from 2013. Not a favourite work of mine, but having talked about it yesterday with my physician friend I thought it was worth another hearing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c33q87s03h4

Is that a picture of Clara Schumann up on his wall in that music studio?
Not sure about the Clara Schumann picture, but I am sure that I didn't care for several moments in this performance where conductor Sakari Oramo drags tempo and lets the musical tension sag. Hough's playing is quite good to my ears, so I don't share your concerns about that. The audience response shows that they either didn't care or didn't notice Oramo's weaknesses, but I hope Hough did, and won't work with him again. The pre-performance conversation was enlightening, I will say. Thanks for sharing, Belle.

Belle
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Belle » Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:28 pm

I didn't notice that with the conducting as the work isn't one I'm terribly familiar with, but only after subsequent hearings did I notice Hough's mannerisms. In fact, when I think of it, this was on display in the little chat at the beginning of the concert when he was interviewed by the BBC announcer.

maestrob
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:21 pm

Belle wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:28 pm
I didn't notice that with the conducting as the work isn't one I'm terribly familiar with, but only after subsequent hearings did I notice Hough's mannerisms. In fact, when I think of it, this was on display in the little chat at the beginning of the concert when he was interviewed by the BBC announcer.
For a better version of Rachmaninoff's Paganini Variations, you can't go wrong with Trifonov, who is currently recording the other concerti with Nezet-Seguin & Philadelphia (Forgive me if I promote my hometown band! :D ).

Image

maestrob
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by maestrob » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:27 pm

Here's another version with Rubinstein that you might enjoy for under $2 on amazon. Can you still order from American amazon, btw?

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Rach3
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Rach3 » Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:35 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:27 pm
Here's another version with Rubinstein that you might enjoy for under $2 on amazon.
Yes, great readings of both the Concerto and Rhapsody. I believe it is reported Rubinstein and Reiner had frosty relationship during these recording sessions, yet the friction produced great results, perhaps because each trying to better the other ? In any event, I'm not sure they had recorded together before, and in any event did not record again together,perhaps not even appear live together again.

Belle
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Belle » Wed Oct 17, 2018 3:09 pm

maestrob wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:21 pm
Belle wrote:
Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:28 pm
I didn't notice that with the conducting as the work isn't one I'm terribly familiar with, but only after subsequent hearings did I notice Hough's mannerisms. In fact, when I think of it, this was on display in the little chat at the beginning of the concert when he was interviewed by the BBC announcer.
For a better version of Rachmaninoff's Paganini Variations, you can't go wrong with Trifonov, who is currently recording the other concerti with Nezet-Seguin & Philadelphia (Forgive me if I promote my hometown band! :D ).

Image
Thanks for the recommendation. The Triff seldom disappoints.

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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Lance » Thu Oct 18, 2018 6:08 pm

My gawd ... over 700 hits on this thread? What does this tell you?
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Ricordanza
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Ricordanza » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:24 am

maestrob wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:21 pm
For a better version of Rachmaninoff's Paganini Variations, you can't go wrong with Trifonov, who is currently recording the other concerti with Nezet-Seguin & Philadelphia (Forgive me if I promote my hometown band! :D ).
You're forgiven. I feel privileged to hear them in concert on a regular basis--my next concert is November 29th.

maestrob
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by maestrob » Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:05 am

Ricordanza wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:24 am
maestrob wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:21 pm
For a better version of Rachmaninoff's Paganini Variations, you can't go wrong with Trifonov, who is currently recording the other concerti with Nezet-Seguin & Philadelphia (Forgive me if I promote my hometown band! :D ).
You're forgiven. I feel privileged to hear them in concert on a regular basis--my next concert is November 29th.
When I lived in Wayne and went to school at Villanova and Radnor HIgh, I used to go see Ormandy conduct on a regular basis in the old Academy of Music on Broad Street. I even took voice lessons in a nearby studio for a while, before the dirty old man (I. Hall van Arsdale) started getting fresh with me! Ah, those were the days! I heard Ormandy premiere much Russian music (Shostakovich IV & X, XIII & XIV & XV), and I can't forget all the excitement that the premiere of Mahler X generated, among other great XXth Century works (Prokofiev Violin Concerti w/Issac Stern, Symphonies IV V & VI (first recordings)). All have been issued on CD at one time or another, and they remain treasures in my collection.

I hear the new hall is wondrously good: it's about time, says I. Nezet-Seguin is a star conductor: I hope his future duties at the MET don't force him to withdraw from Philadelphia.

Quiery: Have you or anyone else here ever heard Hough in concert or recital? Does he travel much to the U. S.?

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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Lance » Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:41 pm

Unfortunately, I have never heard Hough live. The closest I've come to that is hearing him live on CD (Danacord Schloss von Hussum Festival: CD 4: 419; CD 5: 429). The other is a live recording of him with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (private issue) performing Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor with Bychkov conducting. His performances there are as ravishing as they are on his commercially issued CDs. Then there is the live recordings of the Rachmaninoff piano concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Litton [Hyperion]. That has garnered very high praise from critics, as nearly every one of his recordings seems to get high praise.
maestrob wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:21 pm
Quiery: Have you or anyone else here ever heard Hough in concert or recital? Does he travel much to the U. S.?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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maestrob
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by maestrob » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:05 pm

Lance wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:41 pm
Unfortunately, I have never heard Hough live. The closest I've come to that is hearing him live on CD (Danacord Schloss von Hussum Festival: CD 4: 419; CD 5: 429). The other is a live recording of him with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (private issue) performing Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1 in G Minor with Bychkov conducting. His performances there are as ravishing as they are on his commercially issued CDs. Then there is the live recordings of the Rachmaninoff piano concertos and the Paganini Rhapsody with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Litton [Hyperion]. That has garnered very high praise from critics, as nearly every one of his recordings seems to get high praise.
maestrob wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:21 pm
Quiery: Have you or anyone else here ever heard Hough in concert or recital? Does he travel much to the U. S.?
IIRC, Andrew Litton trained at Juilliard under Jean Morel: he's a very fine conductor who should be better known. The Dallas Symphony plays wonderfully these days as well. Litton is now Music Director of the New York City Ballet, among other positions around the world. That said, I think I should get Hough's Rachmaninoff. Thanks for the tip!

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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Ricordanza » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:17 am

maestrob wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:05 am
Quiery: Have you or anyone else here ever heard Hough in concert or recital? Does he travel much to the U. S.?
Yes, I've heard Hough in concert. There may have been an earlier occasion, but the most recent concert took place on St. Patrick's Day, 2011. And what did the Philadelphia Orchestra play on that day--well, of course, an all-Russian program! Here were my impressions about Hough's portion of the program:
While Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto is performed and recorded frequently—some believe too frequently—the Second Concerto is heard far less often. Indeed, the program notes indicate that the Philadelphians last played it in 1984 with Jerome Lowenthal during the summer series, and in subscription concerts, in 1968, with Gary Graffman. The two outer movements have everything one would want in a Romantic piano concerto—melodic richness, orchestral drama and piano fireworks. Hough and the orchestra delivered a spectacular performance, even if we were to consider just these two movements. But for all the excitement of the outer movements, the highlight for me is the triple concerto within a concerto. In the second movement, Hough was joined by violinist Juliette Kang, the first associate concertmaster, and associate principal cellist Efe Baltacigil in a glowing rendition of this beautiful Andante for trio and orchestra. Standing alone, the second movement of this concerto would rank as one of Tchaikovsky’s greatest works.

Rach3
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Rach3 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:23 am

maestrob wrote:
Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:21 pm
....you can't go wrong with Trifonov, who is currently recording the other concerti with Nezet-Seguin & Philadelphia (Forgive me if I promote my hometown band! :D ).

A brief BBC Radio 3 review of Trifonov/N-S/PO DGG recording of the 2nd, 4th PC's, as well as a brief excerpt from the Marston recording of Rachmaninov himself playing a bit of his Symphonic Dances : https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0000tc9

maestrob
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by maestrob » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:34 am

Ricordanza wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:17 am
maestrob wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 11:05 am
Quiery: Have you or anyone else here ever heard Hough in concert or recital? Does he travel much to the U. S.?
Yes, I've heard Hough in concert. There may have been an earlier occasion, but the most recent concert took place on St. Patrick's Day, 2011. And what did the Philadelphia Orchestra play on that day--well, of course, an all-Russian program! Here were my impressions about Hough's portion of the program:
While Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto is performed and recorded frequently—some believe too frequently—the Second Concerto is heard far less often. Indeed, the program notes indicate that the Philadelphians last played it in 1984 with Jerome Lowenthal during the summer series, and in subscription concerts, in 1968, with Gary Graffman. The two outer movements have everything one would want in a Romantic piano concerto—melodic richness, orchestral drama and piano fireworks. Hough and the orchestra delivered a spectacular performance, even if we were to consider just these two movements. But for all the excitement of the outer movements, the highlight for me is the triple concerto within a concerto. In the second movement, Hough was joined by violinist Juliette Kang, the first associate concertmaster, and associate principal cellist Efe Baltacigil in a glowing rendition of this beautiful Andante for trio and orchestra. Standing alone, the second movement of this concerto would rank as one of Tchaikovsky’s greatest works.
Thanks for that excerpt, Ricordanza, and yes, I agree with you about the quality of Tchaikovsky's Second Piano Concerto. It doesn't have the flash and sex appeal of the first, but only because it's a more sophisticated work. The Third Concerto, which Ormandy recorded with Graffman, is also a fine piece, and has finally been issued on CD.

Rach3
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Rach3 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:10 pm

I certainly agree the 2nd mov. of the Tchaikovsky PC # 2 is wonderful ( as is the 2nd mov. of his PC # 1 ) , although it seems the 2nd mov. of PC # 2 gets cut ,for some reason, in some recordings, eg. Gilels/Maazel. With all due respect, the 2 outer movs. of the PC # 2 spoil the work for me , much prefer to hear a rare performance of his 3rd.

barney
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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by barney » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:47 pm

I've heard Hough live three times, and each time have been extraordinarily impressed and moved.
In 2012 he did Tchaikovsky 2, in 2007 Saint Saens 5, both with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and in 2011 a particularly fine recital:
Beethoven: Piano Sonata 14 in C sharp minor, Moonlight, Op 27
Hough: Sonata for Piano, Broken Branches
Scriabin: Piano Sonata 4
Scriabin: Piano Sonata 5
Liszt: Piano Sonata

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Re: Novel by Pianist Stephen Hough

Post by Lance » Mon Nov 12, 2018 2:10 am

WOW! Sometimes I'm amazed at how many HITS certain topics get on CMG. This one gets well over 4,000 hits, but only 30-some responses. Has anyone acquired Hough's novel since the original posting of this subject?
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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