This recital by British pianist Stephen Hough is precisely what the title suggests: a collection of "Night Music" for piano. The program features some very familiar pieces including the most famous night piece of all (even if it wasn't originally intended as such), Beethoven's Piano Sonata in C sharp minor, Op. 27/2 ("Moonlight"). Robert Schumann's Carnaval, Op. 9, refers to a night activity, a masked ball, rather than being an evocation of the night itself, and Hough's reading of these portraits are distinctly on the reflective side. In fact, taken individually, Hough's performances may be too restrained for some listeners, but the cumulative effect has the kind of spell he intends.
The three sonatas Stephen Hough has selected for this recital not only reveal Johann Nepomuk Hummel as a plausible "missing link" between Beethoven and Chopin, but also as a formidable, creative force in his own right. Maybe he's not so memorable a melodist as Chopin nor a protean architect on the level of Beethoven, but Hummel's piano writing still sounds idiomatic and invigorating to modern ears. It's also quite difficult. The F-sharp minor sonata's dramatic finale, for instance, allows little respite from its unrelenting broken octaves, taxing runs, and double notes, while the gnarly dotted rhythms, imitative writing, and thick chords permeating the D major sonata's Scherzo evoke the Schumann to come. No matter how difficult the music, Stephen Hough's effortless technique and eloquent, characterful musicality make everything sound easy. What's more, he never sacrifices power for speed. Listen for example to the way he gives the challenging, spiraling triplets in the F minor sonata's finale their full dynamic due, maintaining a full, tonally varied sonority with virtually no help from the sustain pedal. In sum, it will take a heap of work and tons of inspiration for future pianists to match Hough's reference standards here. This is a valuable release and a joyous listening experience all in one: don't miss it.
Julianne Hough is the self-titled debut album of American country singer, and professional dancer, Julianne Hough. The album was released on May 20, 2008 on Mercury Nashville Records. After its release, the album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200. The album was produced by David Malloy. Hough's debut album also debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart May 28, 2008. The lead single off the album, "That Song in My Head", was released the week of March 3, 2008, and peaked at number 18 on that chart. "My Hallelujah Song" was released as the second single on September 22, peaking at number 44 and the music video was ranked number 48 on GAC's Top 50 Videos of the Year list.
As a world-renowned piano virtuoso, Stephen Hough has demonstrated time and again his prodigious skills in brilliant performances of the great concertos, though as a recording artist, he has revealed a wider range of repertoire and unexpected interests. This Hyperion release of Edvard Grieg's Lyric Pieces is an example of how Hough sometimes ventures into quiet, less familiar byways that offer him a variety of expressive possibilities. These miniatures are far removed from blockbuster showpieces, and their picturesque scenes and delicate melodies suggest the careful handiwork of the craftsman. They also reflect Grieg's nostalgia for the Romantic past and love for Norwegian fairy tales and folkways, which he expressed with disarming simplicity and succinctness. Hough's program of 27 selections from the larger collection of 66 pieces, published in 10 books, extends from the early Arietta of 1867 to Remembrances of 1901, giving a generous representation of Grieg's intimate musings and evocative character studies.
In 2017, the Ensemble arabesques began realising its idea of devoting albums to composers with a special predilection for woodwind instruments. The series was launched with the highly successful CD Gustav Holst Kammermusik. This was followed in 2019 by works of Francis Poulenc. For the third album, Jacques Ibert was an obvious choice. As with Holst, the particular charm of Ibert's works derives from the various combinations of woodwind and brass instruments, strings and harp that he uses.
Friends of long standing as well as regular partners in chamber music, Michael Collins and Stephen Hough bring their combined musical insights and expertise to bear on Johannes Brahms’s sonatas for clarinet and piano. Together with the composer’s trio for clarinet, cello and piano and clarinet quintet, the sonatas are among the most treasured works in the repertoire of the instrument – but it is partly down to good luck that we have them at all. When Brahms in 1891 heard the clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld, principal clarinet of the Meiningen Court Orchestra, he had already announced his retirement. He was enraptured by Mühlfeld’s playing and its vocal qualities, however, and made a ‘comeback’: during the following couple of years he composed all four of his clarinet works.