Saturday 5th January 2013, Stephen Hough
Two Nocturnes Op 27: Chopin
Sonata No. 3 in F Minor Op 5: Brahms
Piano Sonata No. 2 (notturno luminoso): Hough
Carnaval Op 9: Schumann
Harrogate Advertiser Thursday, January 17, 201
Chapel's latest coup
by George Pyman
Piano recital with Stephen Hough, Wesley Chapel Harrogate
This latest coup by Wesley Chapel nearly didn't happen.
World famous pianist Stephen Hough was recoveing from illness and it was highly commendable that he was able to perform the recital at all to a packed house which included many people who had travelled some distance.
In the event, they were treated to an eclectic mix of keyboard music from Chopin, through Brahms to a new piece composed by Stephen Hough himself and ending with Schumann.
Stephen House has been referred to by The Economist as a Polymath - I'm afraid to say, in my ignorance, I had to look it up on Wikipedia, it was not in my Pocket Oxford Dictionary, it translates as a man whose experience spans a significant number of subject areas. This is very true of him, his list of achievements are far too long to elaborate.
We commenced with two Chopin Nocturnes Op 27, the first of which in C sharp minor, was fairly stark and sombre with dark octaves, altogether a sadness running through.
The second Nocturne in D flat is completely different and uplifting, it is very well known and one of Chopin's most popular compositions, thus inclined to be dismisssed as lightweight, but it is beautifully written and a joy in its own right.
We moved on to Brahms's Sonata No. 3 in F minor, Op5, a piece in 5 movements.
I tend to think of Brahms as a rumbustious character and well known for his cantankerous behaviour - I felt this was expressed in the first movement, somewhat strident in nature, but none the less enjoyable.
The second movement Andante was such a contrast, the delightfully melodic 3rd movement Scherzo was dance-like and energetic while the final two movements Intermezzo and Allegro moderator followed the pattern.
I'm not a huge fan of Brahms, but may have to change my opinion, because I really enjoyed it. It is a very demanding piece to perform and Stephen Hough was excellent.
After the interval, we moved on to Hough's own Sonata No. 2 Notturno Luminoso.
This was a wonderful piece of music - very modern and vigorous and proof, if ever one needed it, that he is worthy of the Polymath title.
I did feel a little sorry for the page turner, since the pace and contect was very fast, but all was well.
We concluded with Robert Schumann's Carnaval Op 9 consisting of 21 short pieces, too many to describe, but a delight to listen to.
I must give credit to William Kinghorn, who writes the programme notes, they are very erudite and extremely informative.
Altogether this was a wonderful evening of exquisite music by one of the world's great exponents of the piano - despite, sadly suffering from his illness.
Thanks also to Andew Hitchen who must have aged several years wondering whether he had a concert or not!