Stephen Hough performs night-themed works by Schumann,
Beethoven, Chopin, and himself on a new recording
to be released by Hyperion Records Tuesday, May 13 in the U.S.
NEW YORK, NY (May 13, 2014)—On Tuesday, May 13, Hyperion Records releases Stephen Hough’s latest recording, In the Night, a collection of solo piano works with a thematic focus on the night. The album, which features works by Schumann, Beethoven, and Chopin, also contains as its centerpiece Mr. Hough’s own second piano sonata, titled “notturno luminoso.” The album is currently available on iTunes and Amazon.
International Piano says, “Hyperion’s superb recording and Stephen Hough’s burnished sound make this a most appealing disc on the subject of music of the night” in their review of the recording, which was released earlier in the U.K. Having picked the recording as “Album of the Weekend,” Classic FM says, “As one would expect, the music is immaculately performed, the whole album a dark and heartfelt experience.”
Mr. Hough, described by The New York Times as “arguably the finest, certainly the most intelligent and technically impressive British pianist on the circuit,” gave acclaimed performances of “notturno luminoso” and much of the album’s programming at the Barbican and Carnegie Hall last year. Of the London premiere of “notturno luminoso,” The Times (London) wrote, “The opening sharp-note clamour may bring Messiaen to mind, but Hough quickly goes his own way, juggling with wild panache his different colours, piano registers and modes of attack. At the same time these 17 jolting minutes of nocturnal fretting share enough threads to form a convincing, compelling structure. Hough navigated the Sonata’s turmoil with almost shocking force… Very impressive. Even breathtaking.”
The performances for this recording took place in May 2013 at the Concert Hall at Wyastone Estate in Monmouth, U.K. Liner notes were provided by Harriet Smith, with a program note on “notturno luminoso” by Mr. Hough.
The album is bookended by Schumann, opening with “In der Nacht” from Fantasiestücke, and ending with Carnaval. International Piano hails Mr. Hough’s interpretation of the closing piece as being “full of character. The opening gestures are gloriously exuberant, introducing one of the finest readings available.” Between these endpoints are Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, two “beautifully shaded” (International Piano) Chopin Nocturnes, and Mr. Hough’s latest sonata, “notturno luminoso.”
Though the title of the work might evoke images of “moonlight on a calm lake … or stars across a restful sky,” says Mr. Hough, “this piece is about a different kind of night and a different kind of light: 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 or the disturbing dreams which are only darkened by the harsh glare of a suspended, dusty light bulb. But also suggested are nighttime’s heightened emotions: its mysticism, its magic, its imaginative possibilities.”
Mr. Hough has released more than 80 recordings 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 won 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. The latter was given the Gramophone ‘Gold Disc’ Award in 2008 after being voted by readers of The Times as the finest classical recording of the last 30 years. His 2012 recording of the complete Chopin Waltzes received the Diapason d’Or de l’Année—France’s highest recording award—and 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 was the first solo instrumentalist featured by the award-winning app publisher Touch Press on an iPad app launched in July 2013 in which he performs Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor. The New Yorker wrote that the app—complete with high-definition video from various angles, scrolling music scores, NoteFall visualization, overdubbed commentary by Mr. Hough, and a written analysis supplemented by video insights also by Mr. Hough—“is superbly put together, seamless, and intuitive, but it’s Hough that makes it special.”
The same month, Mr. Hough opened the 2013 Proms season for the second time, playing Rachmaninoff and Lutosławski in a live BBC television broadcast. Mr. Hough’s upcoming orchestral engagements in the U.S. include performances of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Dallas Symphony at Bravo! Vail June 29, Schumann’s Piano Concerto at the Shippensburg Festival July 9–10, Dvořák’s Piano Concerto at Grant Park Festival July 17–19, and Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Festival July 26. His 2014–2015 season includes performances with the Dallas Symphony Oct 29 – Nov 2, the Detroit Symphony Nov 5–8, the Grand Rapids Symphony Jan 8–10, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall Jan 15, the Sarasota Orchestra Jan 28 – Feb 1, the Rochester Philharmonic Feb 4 – 7, the Stamford Symphony Feb 13 – 15, the Wichita Symphony Feb 20 – 22, the Oregon Symphony May 16 – 18, the San Diego Symphony May 21 – 24, the Edmonton Symphony May 28 – 30, and the Omaha Symphony June 4 – 6.
Mr. Hough has distinguished himself not only as a concert pianist but as a composer, writer, and painter. His pieces—which number over 30—for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble, and solo piano have been performed by the Indianapolis Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and members of the Berlin Philharmonic. 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.
To find out more about Mr. Hough, please visit his website (www.stephenhough.com), his blog for The Telegraph, his Facebook fan page (facebook.com/houghhough), or his Twitter page (@houghhough).
Download Hyperion’s free May 2014 sampler to hear Mr. Hough playing Chopin’s Nocturne in D-flat Major, Op. 27, No. 2, here: http://bit.ly/1miDpKm