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Stephen Hough has also been a Medici artist but in his most recent appearance in Queensland on 26 September 2007, he appeared by arrangement with Australia's Musica Viva, an organization that presents national chamber music tours and on occasions, as was the case here, a solo recital.

Ortiz' program seemed haptic and chosen by an impulsive grab at a fistful of favourite works. Hough's on the other hand was meticulously crafted, so that there were ironic juxtapositions and echoes of ideas, some referential and some programmatic. The quirks of two musical forms were explored as was the comparative approaches taken by composers.

The first half roamed through variation form as manifest in Beethoven's Sonata no 32 in C minor, opus 111, that Hough has declared to be as significant as the end of the world, and Mendelssohn's showy Variations Serieuses. These were complemented by the meditative Kumari, with its sustained and subtle gestural shifts by the popular Australian composer Ross Edwards.

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Copyright © 7 November 2007 Gillian Wills, Brisbane, Australia

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