Pianist Stephen Hough to Perform Recital at Alice Tully Hall, 4/13
Pianist Stephen Hough, regarded as a renaissance man of his time, performs a program of works progressing from miniature to grand in a solo recital at Alice Tully Hall, as part of Lincoln Center's Great Performers series on Sunday, April 13 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Mr. Hough is known for his thoughtful and engaging recital programs that combine his sharp intellect and keyboard mastery. Mr. Hough's program comprises Schoenberg's Six Little Piano Pieces, Richard Strauss' Träumerei, Wagner's Albumblatt, Bruckner's Erinnerung, Brahms' Fantasien, Op. 116 and Liszt's Sonata in B minor-a work that Mr. Hough performed and comprehensively examined in the "The Liszt Sonata for iPad" app released last year by TouchPress.
In his notes on the program, Mr. Hough wrote:
This programme is really about two parallel progressions: from smaller to larger and from non-pianistic to super-pianistic. The first half of this recital contains music by composers who typically wrote much larger works-and not just in length but in scope. Yet even in these fragments we hear the DNA of their more ambitious creations: Strauss's haunting melodic and harmonic voice is clearly recognizable in this early piece, the ecstasy of Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger is fascinatingly if lightly sketched in this Albumleaf, and the symphonic space which Bruckner creates in this pianistic miniature is inexplicable vast.
Schoenberg, Strauss and Wagner could play the piano but were not pianists, Bruckner was an organist with limited keyboard skills, and Brahms was basically a former-pianist-by all accounts rather clumsy at the keyboard and more so as he grew older. His earliest published compositions were three vast, extrovert sonatas and at the end of his life he returned to the piano, writing many short works of an intimate, confessional nature.
And so to Liszt, the personification of the piano. His Sonata in B minor (1853) is at the centre of 19th century Romanticism as it is at the centre of the pianist's repertoire-the longest movement in instrumental history when it was written. Although Brahms reputedly fell asleep during a private performance of it (wine and cigars most likely the cause) its composer was a formative influence on all the other composers in this recital programme.
Tickets are priced from $45 to $77 and are available from lincolncenter.org, by phone from CenterCharge at (212) 721-6500 and in person from the Alice Tully Hall box office at 1941 Broadway (65th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue).
Mr. Hough was the first solo instrumentalist featured by the award-winning app publisher Touch Press on "The Liszt Sonata for iPad" released in July 2013 in which he performs Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor. The app incorporates footage from four hi-res cameras trained on Mr. Hough as he performs the sonata. Then, in a post-performance demonstration, he views the footage and articulates the thoughts and processes behind his interpretation and playing. Users can choose angles from which to view the performance, read the score as the music sounds, and view a digital keyboard that highlights the notes being played. The app follows Touch Press's successful "Beethoven's Symphony No. 9" and "The Orchestra" apps that allow users to listen to orchestral works through similar digital demonstrations. Collectively, the three classical music apps have had more 700,000 downloads to date.
In December 2013 Mr. Hough's recording of both Brahms Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 with conductor Mark Wigglesworth and the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra was released on the Hyperion label. In its review of the album, The Times (London) wrote, "Britain's keyboard wizard shows his brilliance and elegance with Brahms in a thoughtful performance that lingers,' and having picked the recording as "Album of the Week," Classic FM said, "Stephen Hough is arguably Britain's greatest living pianist and this brand new recording is one of his best ever." Mr. Hough has recorded more than 80 albums on 15 record labels (more than 50 of which were released on Hyperion) with works by more than 100 composers, including his own. He has received four Grammy nominations and eight Gramophone awards including two 'Record of the Year' awards-one for concertos by Scharwenka and Sauer in 1996 and the other for the complete works for piano and orchestra by Saint-Saëns in 2002. His 2005 live recording of the Rachmaninoff piano concertos became the fastest-selling record in Hyperion's history, while his 1987 recording of the Hummel concertos remains Chandos' best-selling disc to date. Mr. Hough's next recording, "In the Night," to be released by Hyperion in May 2014 includes Beethoven's "Moonlight" sonata, Chopin nocturnes, Schumann's Carnaval, and Mr. Hough's own work, Piano Sonata No. 2 "notturno luminoso."
Mr. Hough has distinguished himself not only as a concert pianist but as a composer, writer and painter. He writes a cultural blog for The Telegraph, which receives upwards of 15,000 hits per week, and he held his first solo painting exhibition at London's Broadbent Gallery in 2012. Mr. Hough was the first classical musician to be named a MacArthur Fellow in 2001, he was cited by The Economist's Intelligent Life magazine as one of 20 living polymaths in 2009, and he was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in December 2013.