Nocturnal Delights...21 May 2014
As both a pianist and composer, Stephen Hough doesn’t fail to deliver… His latest disc for Hyperion is titled “In the Night” and, as one might expect, has nocturnal music by Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann and Hough himself.
Hough describes the night in his Piano Sonata No. 2 (notturno luminoso) as ‘a different kind of night … the brightness of a brash city in the hours of darkness; the loneliness of pre-morning; sleeplessness and the dull glow of the alarm clock’s unmoving hours; the irrational fears which are only darkened by the harsh glare of a suspended, dusty light bulb’
The work has already received praise from the concert performances he has given, but the disc has also garnered great praise:
Cast in a double-function form of three movements in one, the Sonata unfolds during the course of 18 and a half minutes, with an immediately apparent structural logic and a harmonic vocabulary that conveys vivid emotional narrative. As one would expect from a pianist of Hough’s gifts, textures are imaginative, with plenty of excitement and variety. Interesting from the first hearing, it grows more so with repeated listening.
Patrick Rucker / International Record Review
I didn’t even know we were waiting for it until it arrived, but Stephen Hough has delivered the finest piece of new music for solo piano in our young century
Tim Pfaff / Bay Area Reporter
Dissonant yet based in Romanticism, the piece includes nods to Scriabin, Webern and Messiaen. Hough is his own finest interpreter, playing with a fierce belief in the score.
Colin Clarke / International Piano
Hough’s own Sonata proves the high point: its one extended movement is rich in textural variety and harmonic colour, full of massive chunks of sound like sculpted blocks of marble lit from within, and quirky, obsessive toccatas that whirl by like a runaway roundabout that keeps changing direction. It is unsettling, playful and original, if hinting now and then at Messiaen-like ideas; and hearing a masterful pianist performing his own work is a special experience in itself.
Jessica Duchen / BBC Music Magazine
Click on the following link for the disc information on the Hyperion website: IN THE NIGHT