Stephen Hough's Spanish Album

Stephen Hough's Spanish Album

by Stephen HoughStephen Hough


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It may be that someone buying this album and expecting something like excerpts from "Carmen" played on the piano would be disappointed, for there are just a few examples of the fiery side of Spanish music included. Most of the pieces evoke, in the words of annotator Bruce Morrison, the "music of the night" of Spain, and of the Iberian peninsula's reflective religious heritage. Taken on its own terms, however, the album offers a fascinating group of perspectives on Spanish music, with a program that brings together music of different periods in a mysteriously effective synthesis. The opening group of works, covering a century and a half from Soler to Mompou, seems animated by a single impulse -- and when that happens, it is the performer who is due the credit. Some would object to the classification of Mompou, who titled some of his works in the Catalan language, as Spanish, but that too is part of the complex picture Stephen Hough is painting here, and Mompou's almost minimal works draw the listener further into the hypnotic spell the pianist weaves. Things pick up with a little-heard virtuoso showpiece: Federico Longas' "Aragón" (1935), dedicated to Vladimir Horowitz. The rest of the program somewhat relaxes the tension with foreign works showing the Spanish influence, although telling where "authentic" Spanish music leaves off and French commentary upon it begins is not always easy to do. The thread tying together the French works by Debussy and Ravel is the habanera rhythm, itself imported to Spain from Cuba, and elegantly demonstrating the differences between the two composers. The final group of pieces ("The Others"), consists of an essentially American work, Godowsky's keyboard-spanning arrangement of the Albéniz "Tango," two German works that treat Spanish rhythms as much more exotic and external than Debussy or Bizet ever did, and Hough's own "On Falla" (get it?). This disc passes the test of a good recital disc, namely that it would make a great live recital, and it offers an entirely original conception that will please even listeners with large collections of Spanish music.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/16/2007
Label: Hyperion Uk
UPC: 0034571175652
catalogNumber: 67565
Rank: 70107


  1. Sonata for keyboard, No. 90 in F sharp major
  2. Valses poéticos (7), for piano, H. 147
  3. Iberia Suite for piano, B. 47, Book 1: Evocación
  4. Iberia Suite for piano, B. 47, Book 2: Triana
  5. Impressions íntimes, for piano: Pájaro triste
  6. Impressions íntimes, for piano: La barca
  7. Impressions íntimes, for piano: Secreto
  8. Impressions íntimes, for piano: Gitano
  9. Aragon, for piano
  10. Estampes, for piano, L. 100: La soirée dans Grenade
  11. Préludes (12) for piano, Book I, L. 117: La sérénade interrompue
  12. Préludes (12) for piano, Book II, L. 123: La Puerta del Vino
  13. Pièce en forme de Habanera, for solo instrument & keyboard (arr.)
  14. Work(s): Tango
  15. Spanisches Ständchen, for piano No.1, Op. 63
  16. Evening in Seville, for piano No. 2, Op. 55
  17. On Falla, for piano

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