Stephen Hough\'s Mozart Album

Intimate moments to barn-storming bravura, Hough is totally satisfying

Author: 
Jeremy Nicholas

Stephen Hough's Mozart Album

  • Fantasia
  • Sonata for Piano No. 13
  • Fantasia
  • Hommage à Mozart
  • Menuetto
  • (3) Mozart Transformations (after Poulenc)
  • Fantasia on themes from Mozart's Figaro and Don Gi

This is the kind of musical meal that any pianist with the imagination and culinary skills of a good chef should be able to put together. Sadly there are all too few pianists with the equivalent of Hough’s three Michelin stars.

Opening with two of Mozart’s solo masterpieces, the ear is welcomed into an intimate, pellucid sound world with a sophisticated grading of dynamics. Hough plays with what used to be called “a quiet hand”, particularly effective in the first movement of the B flat major Sonata in which he finds an unexpected melancholy amid the music’s basically optimistic character.

After the dramatic second (earlier) C minor Fantasia completed by Stadler, and Cramer’s attractive Etude, Op 103 No 6, we seem to be listening to a different pianist who now relishes the delicate, perfumed harmonies of Friedman’s Menuetto transcription. In the same vein, but imbued with witty Poulencian devices, Hough the pianist-composer reminds us how important charm is to the pianist’s arsenal. Again, the pianist changes. This time we hear a barn-storming virtuoso in the Liszt-Busoni Fantasy on “Non più andrai” and “Voi che sapete” from The Marriage of Figaro. More fragmentary than the better-known Don Giovanni Fantasy and not quite as effective, it nevertheless provides a hair-raising bravura display that deserves to be heard more often. At least, when played like this.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2018