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Brahms: The Final Piano Pieces - Stephen Hough

Brahms: The Final Piano Pieces - Stephen Hough



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One of the finest accounts of Brahms’s late piano works on record, one that stands head and shoulders above most contenders in an ever-growing catalogue … in his natural, unmannered freedom, Hough can be ranged alongside Radu Lupu … both join hands with the treasurable few Brahms recordings that have survived from Ilona Eibenschütz, friend of the composer who gave the private premieres of Op 118 and Op 119’ (Gramophone)
‘Stephen Hough’s profoundly poetic interpretation of Brahms’s piano works is an antidote to the self-indulgent sentimentality that has long dominated accounts of these works: a real palate-cleanser. As appropriate for a renaissance man like Hough, the release is a multi-sensory pleasure. From the cover to Hough’s booklet note to, of course, his sublime musicianship’ (Gramophone)
‘From the exciting Capriccio that opens the Op 116 set to the concluding grand Rhapsodie of Op 199, Stephen Hough is alive to the poetry, passion, sentiment and emotion that Clara Schumann described on receiving 11 of these late pieces from Brahms in 1892. The full-bodied sound of his Yamaha piano is well suited to these multi-faceted compositions that are more varied in mood than the title ‘late’ might suggest’ (Gramophone)
‘I was mesmerised by the veiled quality of sound and almost timeless approach to rubato that characterises his interpretations of the more introverted pieces, such as the E major Intermezzo, Op 116 No 4 and the B minor Intermezzo, Op 119 No 1. At the opposite end of the dynamic spectrum, Hough brings a powerful almost percussive edginess to turbulent pieces such as the D minor Capriccio, Op 116 No 1, the G minor Ballade, Op 118 No 3 and the extraordinarily defiant battle that rages through the Rhapsodie, Op 119 No 4. Most compelling of all, perhaps, is Hough's searingly intense and dramatic interpretation of the E flat minor Intermezzo, Op 118 No 6. There are undoubtedly many worthy recordings of this repertoire in the current catalogue, but Hough has something special to say about the music, and this recording certainly warrants an enthusiastic recommendation’ (BBC Music Magazine)

Fantasias Op 116[20'47]
No 1 in D minor: Capriccio[2'04]
No 2 in A minor: Intermezzo[3'28]
No 3 in G minor: Capriccio[3'05]
No 4 in E major: Intermezzo[4'12]
No 5 in E minor: Intermezzo[2'55]
No 6 in E major: Intermezzo[2'46]
No 7 in D minor: Capriccio[2'17]
Intermezzos Op 117[13'39]
No 1 in E flat major: Andante moderato[4'20]
No 2 in B flat minor: Andante non troppo e con molto espressione[3'59]
No 3 in C sharp minor: Andante con moto[5'20]
Clavierstücke Op 118[20'43]
No 1 in A minor: Intermezzo[2'00]
No 2 in A major: Intermezzo[5'20]
No 3 in G minor: Ballade[3'22]
No 4 in F minor: Intermezzo[2'29]
No 5 in F major: Romance[3'16]
No 6 in E flat minor: Intermezzo[4'16]
Clavierstücke Op 119[13'50]
No 1 in B minor: Intermezzo[3'15]
No 2 in E minor: Intermezzo[4'15]
No 3 in C major: Intermezzo[1'38]
No 4 in E flat major: Rhapsodie[4'42]

A collection of exquisite Brahmsian miniatures: brief meditations on last things before—in Stephen Hough’s own words—‘the light fades and the final cigar is extinguished’.

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