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Stephen Hough's French Album - Stephen Hough

Stephen Hough's French Album - Stephen Hough


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‘A substantial gourmet feast of masterly pianism … central to the disc are the works by Fauré and Poulenc, heard to their best advantage when programmed in this way, hand-picked and set beside short works by Massenet and Chabrier. There are some great performances here … the expressive simplicity of his playing can make your eyes burn. In Clair de lune and Chaminade's once ubiquitous Automne, now rarely heard, Hough conjures up a heart-catching melody that puts me in mind of Cherkassky … excellent booklet. Fine recording. De plus, s'il vous plaît!’ (Gramophone)

‘Once again, Stephen Hough's consummate artistry extends to inspirational programme building … the Fauré group is ravishingly contrasted, with a fluency and limpid style supported by all the necessary backbone and sense of direction to make the composer's tortuous harmonic twists sound as natural as speech … chez Poulenc, the constantly shifting balance of melody, countermelody and accompaniment is defined by subtlety of dynamic shading, deft pedal work and brushstroke rubato … even by Hough standards the whole enterprise is a tour-de-force and easily the most satisfying disc of piano music I've encountered so far this year’ (International Record Review)

Toccata and Fugue in D minor BWV565[8'40]Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), arr. Alfred Cortot (1877-1962) & Stephen Hough (b1961)
Complete: Toccata and Fugue[8'40]
Arioso (Movement 2 of Keyboard Concerto No 5 in F minor, BWV1056)[2'33]Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), arr. Alfred Cortot (1877-1962)
Nocturne No 6 in D flat major Op 63[7'43]Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Improvisation in C sharp minor (No 5 of Huit pièces brèves, Op 84)[2'07]Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Impromptu No 5 in F sharp minor Op 102[2'10]Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Barcarolle No 5 in F sharp minor Op 66[5'49]Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924)
Alborada del gracioso (Movement 4 of Miroirs)[6'25]Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
Crépuscule (No 5 of Poëme pastoral)[2'00]Jules Massenet (1842-1912), arr. Stephen Hough (b1961)
Mélancolie (No 2 of Dix Pièces pittoresques)[1'51]Emmanuel Chabrier (1841-1894)
Mélancolie[5'40]Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Nocturne No 4 in C minor 'Bal fantôme'[1'35]Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Improvisation No 8 in A minor FP63 No 8[1'17]Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)
Automne (No 2 of Études de concert, Op 35)[5'35]Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944)
La chanson de la folle au bord de la mer (No 8 of 25 Préludes, Op 31)[4'11]Charles-Valentin Alkan (1813-1888)
Clair de lune (Movement 3 of Suite bergamasque, L82)[4'55]Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
Pizzicati (Act 3 Divertissement from Sylvia)[2'34]Léo Delibes (1836-1891), arr. Stephen Hough (b1961)
Réminiscences de La juive – Fantaisie brillante sur des motifs de l'opéra de Halévy S409a[13'21]Franz Liszt (1811-1886) & Fromental Halévy (1799-1862)

Exquis! Stephen Hough presents an enchanting programme of French music, played with the filigree perfection and total command of the music’s expressive world that make him one of the most admired pianists of today. In typical Houghian style this recital is full of surprises and lesser-known gems from the repertoire, as well as works by the masters Fauré, Ravel, Debussy and Poulenc. A particular delight is Hough’s own arrangement of the Massenet song Crépuscule, a ravishing exercise in creative yet faithful transcription. This release is both a tribute to the lyric genius which flowered in nineteenth- and twentieth-century France, and a glimpse into the musical mind of a great pianist.

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