NEW YORK, NEW YORK (AUGUST 11, 2021) — Pianist Stephen Hough’s new recording of solo works by Robert Schumann will be released on Friday, September 3 by Hyperion Records.
The album features works composed during one of Schumann’s most verdant creative periods: Kreisleriana, Op. 16; Fantasie in C Major, Op. 17; and Arabeske in C Major, Op. 18.
Pre-orders are currently available from Apple Music and Amazon.com.
For more information, visit Hyperion-Records.co.uk.
This album is the first of six that Mr. Hough recorded in London in 2020 during the UK’s national lockdown “safely, legally, but with a certain surreal bewilderment.”
Mr. Hough says
“On sunny days, after crossing an eerily quiet, abandoned London, I escaped into some of the most intimate, passionate, confessional music ever written for the piano. This recording includes the two contrasting masterpieces Schumann wrote at the end of the 1830s: Kreisleriana, Op. 16, dedicated to Chopin, and Fantasie, Op. 17, dedicated to Liszt. The curtain raiser for the two turbulent epics is the pure, poetic and perfect Arabeske, Op. 18. These three works explore virtually all sides of the composer’s character from the deepest, whispered intimacy to the heights of passion and ecstatic declamation.” (Click here for program notes.)
Kreisleriana, whose title is an allusion to the E. T. A. Hoffmann character Johannes Kreisler (described by Schumann as “an eccentric, wild, and witty conductor”), is featured on Mr. Hough’s recital program for the upcoming season, which he performs in Cincinnati, Toronto, Miami, and at Caramoor (Katonah, NY) – as well as major concert halls in Melbourne, Gstaad, Manchester, and London, among others.
The work is paired with the Schumann Fantasie, a seminal work in the piano repertoire, which Mr. Hough records for the second time following his 1989 release on Virgin Classics.
Mr. Hough’s final record release of 2021 will be the complete Chopin Nocturnes (October 29). The two-CD set is the culmination of a lifetime’s investigation into the style and sound world of these poems for the piano. The release anticipates Mr. Hough’s 60th birthday on November 22.
Mr. Hough’s 2021-22 season includes concerto performances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, the London Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Utah Symphony in November, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in January, Dallas Symphony Orchestra in February, and San Antonio Symphony in March. The Takács Quartet will premiere Mr. Hough’s String Quartet No. 1, “Les Six Rencontres,” in Costa Mesa as well as Wigmore Hall in London, after which they record it for Hyperion and take it on a West Coast tour, with Mr. Hough as guest soloist.
Over the course of his career, Stephen Hough has not only secured a reputation as an insightful pianist, but also as a writer and composer. In 2001, he was the first classical performing artist to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and, in 2013, he was named a Commander of the British Empire. On June 1, 2020, he re-opened Wigmore Hall, performing the UK’s first live classical music concert in a major venue since the nationwide lockdown in March. Later that summer he made his 29th appearance at the BBC Proms performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.2 with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He has appeared with most of the major American and European orchestras and plays recitals regularly in major halls and concert series around the world.
His recordings have garnered international prizes including the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, Diapason d’Or, Monde de la Musique, several Grammy nominations, and eight Gramophone Magazine Awards including the 1996 and 2003 “Record of the Year” Awards and the 2008 “Gold Disc” Award. Mr. Hough has composed music for orchestra, choir, chamber ensemble, and solo piano, and his compositions are published by Josef Weinberger, Ltd. He is also an avid painter whose work has been exhibited at the Broadbent Gallery in London.
A noted writer, Mr. Hough is the author of the recent essay collection Rough Ideas: Reflections on Music and More, published by Faber & Faber (U.K.) and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (U.S.) and named winner of the 2020 Royal Philharmonic Society Award. He has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, The Times (U.K.), Evening Standard, The Tablet, Gramophone, and BBC Music Magazine. His novel, The Final Retreat, was published by Sylph Editions in 2018.
Mr. Hough resides in London and is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London and The Juilliard School in New York. He holds the International Chair of Piano Studies at his alma mater, the Royal Northern College in Manchester.
Stephen Hough: Schumann: Arabeske, Kreisleriana, & Fantasie
Hyperion Records CDA68363
Stephen Hough, piano
Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
1. Arabeske in C major Op 18 [6’32]
Kreisleriana Op 16 [32’37]
2. Äußerst bewegt [2’42]
3. Sehr innig und nicht zu rasch [8’47]
4. Sehr aufgeregt [5’17]
5. Sehr langsam [3’24]
6. Sehr lebhaft [3’11]
7. Sehr langsam [3’40]
8. Sehr rasch [2’00]
9. Schnell und spielend 3’36]
Fantasie in C major Op 17 [30’52]
10. Durchaus phantastisch und leidenschaftlich vorzutragen [13’00]
11. Mäßig: Durchaus energisch [7’47]
12. Langsam getragen: Durchweg leise zu halten [10’05]
Recorded in Henry Wood Hall, London, on 24-26 April, 2020.
Cover illustration: The North Cape by Moonlight (1848) by Peder Balke (1804-1887)
akg-images / Liszt Collection