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The second half explored the waltz through the sensual and sleek Feuillet d'Album from Five Posthumous Pieces by Chabrier and the melancholically tinged Waltz in C sharp minor Op 64 No 2 by Chopin to the hefty Mephisto Waltz by Liszt. In the latter, Hough's detailed take, informed by such a deep scholarship, technical power and musical insight, pushed this work to the limits revealing the percussive tendencies that foreshadowed Bartók's keyboard works.

Stephen Hough. Photo © Dennis Chang
Stephen Hough. Photo © Dennis Chang

While Musica Viva's representatives were concerned that the audience would trickle away instead of staying for a Q & A session with the recitalist, their fears were unfounded. This enjoyable event surveyed Hough's phenomenal powers and versatility as a musician and made an overwhelming impact. Mostly people lingered to quiz him about the selection of repertoire, his belief that performers should also compose to sharpen their gift as a player, and why he has taken out Australian citizenship. For my money, the brilliant performance of the Beethoven was the pick of the evening.

Copyright © 7 November 2007 Gillian Wills, Brisbane, Australia





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