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Exquis! Stephen Hough presents an enchanting programme of French music, played with the filigree perfection and total command of the music's expressive world that make him one of the most admired pianists of today. In typical Houghian style this recital is full of surprises and lesser-known gems from the repertoire, as well as works by the masters Faure, Ravel, Debussy and Poulenc. A particular delight is Hough's own arrangement of the Massenet song Crepuscule, a ravishing exercise in creative yet faithful transcription. This release is both a tribute to the lyric genius which flowered in nineteenth- and twentieth-century France, and a glimpse into the musical mind of a great pianist.
"A superlative performance." Performance *** Recording ****----BBC Music Magazine, Oct'12
"Even by Hough standards the whole enterprise is a tour de force and easily the most satisfying disc of piano music I ve encountered so far this year." IRR OUTSTANDING--IRR, Sept'12
Stephen Hough describes this album as a sort of musical dessert trolley . Come, come. Too modest. There may be generous helpings of bonbons and souffles but it all amounts to a great substantial gourmet feast of masterly pianism. GRAMOPHONE CHOICE --Gramophone Awards issue '12
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
The contents of this album and, most of all, Hough's playing are indeed "sweet" to me--I loved this album. The album is filled with delectable "bon bons" that I enjoyed very much. The album contents range from JS Bach (yes, you read correctly--an arrangement of a Toccata and Fugue along with the Arioso from the 5th keyboard concerto arranged by a French pianist along with Hough) to Liszt's fantasy on the French opera "La Juive"--very dazzling with Hough playing overwhelmingly and brilliantly.
Works by Faure, Poulenc, Ravel, Chabrier, Massenet/Hough and Debussy are the main items featured displaying Stephen Hough's pianistic attributes fabulously--his technique is simply outstanding. Debussy's "Clair de lune" is particularly lovely--it shimmers and, to me, is very reminiscent of a most lovely evening spent in the moonlight.
I also loved Hough's playing of the eccentric (to me) composer Alkan's "La chanson de la folle"--a solemn work played beautifully. I adored Hough's arrangement of Massenet's song "Crepuscule". Poulenc's Nocturne #4 and his "Melancolie" are also "standouts". I must also add that Stephen Hough's playing of Faure's Nocturne in D flat along with the Barcarolle in F sharp minor is great--seemingly playing with ease some very difficult passages that are filled with blinding arpeggios and "grace notes".
I also loved his rendition of Chaminade's "Autumn"--very dramatic and moving. His Delius/Hough "Pizzicati" is both very brilliant sounding and loads of fun to hear--Hough really shows off his great technical skills. Likewise Hough's playing of Ravel's "Alborada" exhibits spectacular playing of some very difficult music.
As one critic stated and I totally agree, this album is exquisite with playing that is filigree in its perfection. I found Stephen Hough's "French Album" to be lovely and musically fascinating with playing that dazzled me. Bravo Stephen.